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Reducing Stress

In the last post, we discussed stress - that everyone has it and discussed the "good" type of stress versus the "bad" type of stress. Now what? Let's talk about ways to manage it.

There are various tools that people can use to manage stress. All tools may not work for all people in all situations. So, just as I do when it comes to tools to manage my physical health, I like to continue to add useful tools to my "toolbox".

Temporary stress can hit hard but can often be managed. Maybe you have experienced a day where customers at work are difficult, your kids are not taking care of the things they should be, your car broke down, you have a project deadline fast approaching, etc. We all face these types of stressors.

Some of the tools that can be helpful in managing these temporary stressors are things such as ensuring you are getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and exercising regularly to ensure that you are providing your body with what it needs and also providing an outlet for the stress. Some people find that if they connect spiritually through prayer that it causes these types of stressors not to seem so overwhelming. Some find that deep breathing techniques help to regulate their nervous system's response to stress. Something that also often helps me to reduce my temporary stressors is what can be referred to as brain dumping. Instead of allowing myself to let my mind race, having what feels like a million things running through my brain, I put it all down on paper or in an electronic format so that I don't have to keep running through it all. One tool I have found that seems to be universal in reducing stress is making time to laugh and do something you enjoy. Another tool that I would like to mention is connection. Don't let these stressors cause you to isolate. Isolating during stressful times can actually cause the stress to seem to grow rather than reducing the stress. Connect with those who are healthy for you to connect with during these times especially. We weren't meant to carry life's hardships alone.

Chronic stress can impact various aspects of life. This type of stress can be more difficult to reduce without lifestyle changes. The tools used for managing temporary stress can still be helpful, but additional tools may be needed to assist with chronic stress. This could require leaving an abusive relationship, changing jobs from a toxic work environment, attending therapy sessions to help with working through situations that you are unable to change such as divorce, seeing your doctor for medication to help manage the anxiety and/or depression that can result from receiving a difficult diagnosis, etc. Chronic stress reduction often requires changes and/or more intensive tools.

The tools discussed today are not the only tools available to you by any means but may help with thinking of more options and resources. Brainstorm, talk with others about healthy tools they utilize, and/or talk with a professional who can help you determine some tools that will be useful for you to implement in reducing your stress. The goal is to utilize healthy tools that help to reduce your stress and get/keep you on the path that will continue to assist you in reaching your goals of health and wellbeing.

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