6 Ways to Strategically Manage Stress

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Stress is something that affects everyone almost every day. Whether stress is caused by your work, the people you interact with or health issues, it can be a real challenge to get through each day. However, there are several practical, effective steps you can take to reduce stress now:

1. Keep a Daily Journal

Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way," proposes a strategy she calls "morning pages," or journaling every day, without thinking about your words -- just putting them down on paper. The point of this exercise is to allow your thoughts to flow freely onto the page, letting them drain from your mind. This exercise gives you a centered feeling before starting your day. "There is no right or wrong way to do morning pages," the world-renowned author says.

2. Avoid Toxic Influences

If you start your day by logging onto your social networks and checking on the daily news, it's likely you'll feel stressed even before getting out of bed! Instead of feeling depressed by all the bad news that is being reported, opt for a few calming, quiet minutes before your day begins. Toxic influences are those things that can infiltrate our souls from the outside. They could be people or social media posts, or they could be negative feelings you get when viewing any kind of news. If you find yourself prone to depression and stress, try to steer your focus away from the things that are causing you negative feelings throughout your day.

3. Try a Stress-free Diet

Because hormones in our body play a big part in how we react to things, we must make an effort to consciously fill ourselves with nurturing food and drink. Kirstin Aschbacher, PhD, an associate professor at UCSF School of Medicine, cited by Mercola.com, said, "There appears to be a stress pathway that works through diet...Fat cells grow faster in response to junk food when the body is chronically stressed."

Recommended foods to combat stress include spinach, fermented foods like the Korean kimchi, free-range organic eggs, blueberries and pistachios.

4. Take a "Time-Out" if You Can't Take a Holiday

Not all of us can take a restful weekend holiday whenever we feel like it, but we can all train our mind to be more at peace every day. You can create the same peaceful surroundings in your home, and discipline yourself to have restful time periods in-between your busy work hours. Much of it is common sense: get adequate sleep, don't push your body too hard and indulge in simple pleasures.

5. Exercise Daily

Scientists have proven the mental benefits of exercise. Daily exercise boosts the hormones you need to manage stress, and it reduces the unwanted stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Getting your heart pumping enables the production of the hormones you need more of to be happy: endorphins, a natural mood booster. So, if you want to be happier, get moving!

6. Declutter Your Life

Clutter contributes to a stressful life. Today, decide that you will get rid of the things that do not bring you joy: the ones taking up unnecessary space in your home and mind. Then, enjoy the new open space and the refreshing, organized feeling.

Remember, some amount of stress is part of life, and you shouldn't try to remove it completely. But what makes a difference is how you react to the stress-causing situations. Ready to make positive changes today? Follow us for more tips for a happier life.