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backpack-1149461_640It has been said that you cannot control the rain, but you can carry an umbrella.  The same rings true for stress.  Many daily stressors cannot be avoided, but how we deal with them is under our control.  Gone unmanaged, stress may contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.  Unchecked stress may also lessen your quality of life by causing gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, irritability, and lack of motivation.  Do not let stress derail your weight-loss plan or new healthy lifestyle.  Add some of the tips below to your tool box, so when stress hits, you are ready.

Time Management: It seems there is never enough time in the day to get through a checklist.  Incorporating a good time management system into your daily life will help keep stress at bay.  Consider creating a checklist that allows for some flexibility.  Try to keep your checklist more fluid than rigid, as a schedule that does not allow for flexibility may cause more stress rather than relieve it.

Laughter: A good laugh is not only good for your mood but also helps manage stress.  A hearty fit of laughter helps relieve tension, release stress, and boost the immune system.

Sleep: Sleep deprivation may not directly cause stress, but it does affect how your body responds to stress.  When your body is deprived of quality sleep, you are unable to properly react to stressors.  This causes you to experience higher levels of stress, creating a vicious cycle.  Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is crucial, especially if you find yourself in stressful situations often.

Exercise: We know exercise is great across the board, especially when starting a weight-loss plan.  Breaking a sweat causes endorphins to be released in the body.  Endorphins are the body’s happy hormones.  Exercising also helps you relax, promotes clear thinking, and gets a good night’s sleep.

Enjoy Nature: Research is beginning to point to nature as a natural antidepressant.  Connecting with nature gives you the opportunity to engage in stress relieving activities, such as gardening, stargazing, or listening to the sounds of the ocean.

Every day we have to manage stress as it comes our way.  Stress itself is not always a bad thing.  Stress may motivate us to do positive things, meet deadlines, and think outside of the box.  On the other hand, bad stress may cause poor mood and health problems.  Thus, it is so important to have stress management skills in your tool box.


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