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Stress Management: 7 Steps to Manage Stress

7 Steps to Manage Stress

Step 1:  Make exercise a regular part of your life.

  • Stress reduction is just one benefit of exercise.  Take a walk during the day, opt for stairs instead of the elevator, or ride your bike.


Step 2:  Eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of rest.

  • Adequate nutrition and sleep give your body the energy it needs to help cope with stress.


Step 3:  Breathe deeply.

  • When you feel your tension growing, take some deep “belly breaths/diaphragmatic breaths” to restore calmness.  Inhale slowly through your nose, expanding your abdomen as you fill your lungs with air.  Then, exhale through your mouth, just as slowly, completely emptying your lungs.  Repeat.


Step 4:  Find peace in meditation.

  • Evidence suggests that meditation can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones.  Try meditating for 10 to 20 minutes once or twice daily.  Sit comfortably in a quiet room with no distractions.  Close your eyes.  Take a couple of deep breathes, and focus your attention on the silent repetition of a comforting word, so you clear your mind of mental “chatter.”  Do not be discouraged if you find your mind wandering; just bring yourself back to your repetition.


Step 5:  Relax your standards.

  • Be willing to let the little things slide when time is tight.


Step 6:  Learn to let go.

  • Recognize the difference between what you can control and what you cannot do anything about.  Then, change what you can, and let go of the rest.


Step 7:  Take time for you.

  • What do you enjoy doing?  Whether it is taking a long, relaxing bubble bath or playing cards, do not let work or other obligations keep you from enjoying your life.