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10 Ways to Manage Stress

By HealthLife Contributor
Updated: October 09, 2008
Stress can do a lot of things to a person. The one thing that it should never be allowed to do though is control a person's life. Most people who are unable to handle the stress associated with everyday life tend to find themselves avoiding the things that at one point made them happy. You do not have to completely change the way you live in order to reduce or eliminate stress from your life, but it is important for any individual trying to handle stress to remember to actively take steps to reduce it. Here are a few ways to better handle stress and still be able to live your life:

1. Disorganization is a major source of stress for most people. Missing a meeting, forgetting an important date, or showing up late for an event can easily cause anyone to stress out. To avoid this, find yourself an organizer (daily, weekly, or monthly) to help you keep track of all the things that have to be done. Instead of trying to remember, you will have an easy way of tracking the things you need to do.

2. Be aware of your stressors and triggers. If certain places or situations tend to increase your stress levels, try to avoid them or try to find a less stressful time to visit them or participate in them. This doesn't mean avoid the mall, it just means to go to the mall when it isn't as crowded.

3. Make some time for yourself. An hour a day reading a book or listening to some soothing music can be the perfect remedy for relieving stress. Some people even find sweeping and washing dishes to be great stress-relieving activities.

4. Minimize the time you spend with stressful people. Some of these individuals are simply trying to pass their stress onto others. You are only playing into their hands by arguing with them or trying to beat them at their own game.

5. Consider the actual benefits of some of today's technological wonders. Cell phones and computers have made people's lives easier, but they also add to people's stress. Constantly having to answer the phone and check your email can interfere with the other aspects of your life. Make it a point to establish a cut-off point or time when cell phones and email will be declared off-limits.
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6. If you are in a management or leadership position, don’t take on every task yourself. Be willing to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others and let them stress out for a change.

7. Certain foods have been shown to increase stress levels. That morning cup of coffee might help get you through the morning, but in the end, it can also contribute to increasing your body's levels of cortisol, which is a hormone known to be associated with stress.

8. If a trip to the gym is too stressful, consider an alternate way of exercising. Working-out does not have to be an exercise in stress. A nice walk is good for both the body and the mind. A simple walk is just as good as an intense weightlifting session when it comes to helping relieve and reduce stress.

9. You can't sleep because you're stressed, and you're stressed because you can't sleep. At some point, it is up to you to make the decision to put away all those things that are keeping you up at night (work, television, food, etc.) and get some sleep, especially since rest helps your body build the energy it needs to get you through the day.

10. Let the machines take over. Actually, just let them help. Today's technology has made it easier for us to complete tasks in the comfort of our own homes. Shopping, paying utilities, sending out mail, and even registering your car can now be done without having to leave home.

There are many things you can do to reduce and even eliminate stress from your life. Whether it means going out for a walk or getting more sleep, the important thing to consider it to be proactive. The stress will not eliminate itself without a little help from you.
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