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11 Tips to Manage Stress

The typical Americna morning.

 

Does that plaque describe your mornings? Stress can lead to high blood pressure and a host of medical problems. The good news is you don’t need expensive and potentially harmful medication to lower your anxiety level. You already know that eating right and getting enough exercise is vital to overall health, so there’s no need to elaborate on the obvious. Instead, we’ll look at a number of easy methods to reduce stress. Some of them will help you rediscover fun. You’re sure to find one or more that works for you.

1. Deep Breathing

Take a deep breath to the count of four, hold for a count of four. Then, exhale completely for a count of four. Once you’re comfortable with that process, work up to an exhale count of eight while maintaining an inhale count of four. The object is to take twice as long to empty your lungs.

2. Smile

The Smithsonian reports that even a forced smile can make you feel better. That fact gives new meaning to “grin and bear it.”

3. Play With Your Pets

I’ll bet you can’t play with your pets for more than a few minutes before you begin to smile—a genuine smile, not a “grin and bear it” smile. The little darlings have a way of lighting up our lives if we give them more than food and water. They need our love, and they return it in spades.

4. De-Clutter

De-clutter your surroundings, your calendar and your mind. Clutter has a negative effect on health, so out with the junk. Start by clearing the clutter in your home. Learn to say “no,” and don’t take on things you don’t really want to do to free time for yourself. Try a guided meditation or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT; otherwise known as tapping). Jessica Ortner’s Tapping Meditation for Morning Clearing  is a great way set up a serene day.

5. Sleep Tight

A surefire way to increase the quantity and quality of your sleep is to turn off electronics an hour before bedtime and use that time to wind down. Take a warm bath, read a book, drink a cup of herbal tea—anything that doesn’t rely on the blue light put out by electronics.

6. Take an Electronics Break

Take a weekend off from the computer, the smartphone and the TV—no emails, no skyping, no internet and no phone calls. Turn them all off, and just be silent. Take a walk in the park, go for a swim or treat yourself to a home-spa day. When you’ve had enough silence, walk down the street and visit a neighbor—maybe take him or her out to lunch or dinner or go to the beach where you can walk barefooted in the warm sand. Let your hair down and have some old-fashioned fun.

7. Express Gratitude

Buy a small notebook and keep a gratitude journal. Start your day by writing one sentence that describes something for which you are grateful.

8. Dance or Sing

Put on some uplifting oldies music (Beach Boys comes to mind) and belt one out while you dance around the house. It’s great exercise that will melt away your worries.

9. Diffuse Essential Oils

Add some calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, frankincense or rose to a diffuser and smell your way to calmness.

10. Worry

Even though worry doesn’t solve problems, if something serious is troubling you, go ahead and indulge yourself. Set an alarm for 15 or 20 minutes and allow yourself to worry only until the alarm rings.

11. Plan Ahead

Do you always run late? Attempting to avoid tardiness is a huge stress producer. Plan ahead—get your clothes ready the night before you have to be somewhere, set your alarm early, and leave the house with plenty of time to spare. You can’t control the traffic, so it’s always best to leave some wiggle room.