Don’t Stress About It

No foolin’— April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s important to manage stress, because it’s not only emotionally taxing, but it can also be harmful to your physical health. To keep stress under control, try these three simple tips from Harvard Medical School.

Take a new approach. Much of life’s stress comes from how we view the various situations we encounter. For example, two people may take on the exact same task, but only one person may find it stressful. Some of this has to do with personality, but it also has to do with your inner narrative and how you frame things in your mind. If you aim to change your perspective, you can often reduce the number of stressors in your life.

Burn off tension. Physical activity can help get you on a more even keel. But for many people, sticking to a daily exercise schedule is itself stressful, often because they pick activities they don’t enjoy. Instead, choose to do something you love— like gardening, nature walks, or a yoga practice— which can slow the harmful effects of stress. Looking forward to the activity can keep you motivated, and help you destress and recharge.

Get organized. Ever spend 20 minutes looking for your car keys or trying to find a misplaced wallet or purse? Disorganization and clutter can cause unnecessary stress. Taking time to set up some systems, such as a set location for your keys, can help reduce these daily nuisances. In addition, plan ahead when it comes to other strategies that can help you manage your stress. Create a time for exercise, plan healthy meals, and get on a regular schedule to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep.

Also, if you know you’re going to encounter a stressful situation, think ahead of time about how you are going to manage it. Have a plan in place to help reduce your level of stress, and prevent it from taking a toll on your health.

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