A Gift to Yourself – Less Stress, More Joy!


Yes, it’s doable. Stress can be controlled, and it’s based on a determined pursuit that leads to better health and a more contented life. Numerous studies demonstrate that reducing stress reduces the risk of heart attack significantly, and is also a big factor in preventing illness.

So how can we cope better? First, we must recognize that stress affects every human being differently, so there is no universal formula. Nonetheless, there are recognized methods that will help you specifically in reducing stress in your life. 

There are different kinds of stress: some which you can control and correct, and others that you cannot. The key to coping with the second kind is learning to accept the things we can’t change.

Reducing stress starts with making a stress list. Write down all the activities and subjects that cause you stress, anxiety and anger in order from most stressful – to least stressful. Reflect by yourself or discuss with a trusted friend which of your stressful situations you can tackle successfully. Then follow through by focusing on reviewing your own attitudes and how you can change them so they stop causing you stress.

Let’s say your partner drops his clothes all over the place. You, being a “neat-freak”, get irritated each time you see his sweaty garments on the coffee table. He’s promised to change but…he keeps falling into his old bachelor pattern. Here comes your anti-stress test: Can you ignore his discarded clothing and stay cool instead of letting your anger rise? Practice the “I am above it” attitude and have the last giggle when he runs out of clean underwear and wonders why. He may change or he may not. Nobody is perfect. Focus on all the ways he makes you happy rather than getting all riled up over a sweaty t-shirt on the coffee table.

Admittedly, some stress issues are more serious. Recognize them the moment they begin to manifest, and try to deal with them initially before they become monstrous.

Resort to stress antidotes: Practice yoga, try bio-feedback, meditation, learn some breathing techniques to counter a rising temper, go for energizing walks, turn on soothing music or decide to call on a therapist to teach you how you can change a stressful problem or help you recognize when it’s time to let go of a given situation and the stress.

Remember that in every life situation, no matter how challenging, you’re not helpless. Believe in you – you can always make a difference! Learn to be kind to yourself, and give yourself permission to enjoy and laugh, even at yourself. Experiencing the joy of small pleasures each day goes a long way to offsetting stress. Changing your attitude requires being in touch with your feelings. Find the right time and forum to express them without anger, write them down in your diary or talk them out with a friend, and start this year on a promising note.


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