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Stress Control 101

Let me ask you a question, okay?

Have you ever felt stressed out even when you're supposed to be relaxing?

I know I have.

When it comes down to it, I think how we work or even relax can trigger stress. 

It's vital that you find ways to eliminate or even prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress. Here are some things that can be done right away to make it happen for you:

You only think you're short on time

Time management skills can allow you more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.

To improve your time management:

· Save time by focusing and concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.

· Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.

· Prioritize your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency. Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.

· Manage your commitments by not over- or under-committing. Don't commit to what is not important to you.

· Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines.

· Examine your beliefs to reduce conflict between what you believe and what your life is like. 
Build healthy coping strategies

It's important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.

A Delicate Balancing Act

Some behaviors and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress. Try to:

· Balance personal, work, and family needs and obligations. 

· Have a sense of purpose in life. 

· Get enough sleep, since your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.

· Eat a balanced diet for a nutritional defense against stress.

· Get moderate exercise throughout the week.

· Eliminate or at least limit your alcohol consumption.
· Don't smoke. 

Strength In Numbers

Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It's  knowing that you're cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research shows a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.

Change Your Mind (it only hurts your pride)

When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body's stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.

· Thought-stopping helps you stop a negative thought to help eliminate stress. 

· Dispelling irrational thoughts helps you to avoid exaggerating the negative thought, anticipating the worst, and interpreting an event incorrectly.

· Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event and find ways to deal with it.

· Changing your communication style helps you communicate in a way that makes your views known without making others feel put down, hostile, or intimidated. This reduces the stress that comes from poor communication. 

Even bloggers like myself get stressed even though we're just using our hands to do the talking. Like all writers, we have to deal with "writer's block" from time to time. Finding ways to alleviate this "trade hazard" can be a task on its own. Unless, of course, you have a proven successful blueprint to follow. 

Whether you're the garbage man, a millionaire, or just an Average Joe, stress is one unwanted visitor I'm sure you'd love to kick out of your life once and for all. Follow these tips and make it happen for you!

So, how do you relieve stress? Your comments below could help someone else....

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