Ten Ways to Manage Stress Day by Day

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Stress

Experiencing ongoing stress - even at low levels - can have a negative effect on your health and well-being. That's why stress management isn't something to reserve only for difficult times, but something to practice daily.

The November issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers 10 ways to manage stress day by day:

  • Catching it early - Signs and symptoms such as headache, gut discomfort, tense muscles and fidgety sleep may be early indicators of too much stress. When you feel stress coming on, take a breath and put your stress management techniques into practice.

  • Exercise - Even a short walk can improve mood and reduce feelings of stress.

  • Eating well - A healthy diet gives you the energy to handle daily stress. Skipping meals and making poor food choices can contribute to fatigue, greater susceptibility to illness and a general feeling of poor health.

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  • Setting limits - Saying no to some tasks can help make you more productive and successful with the tasks you choose to take on.

  • Find a friend - Whether listening to you vent your frustrations or offering words of encouragement, friends can provide needed social support. If your friend can make you laugh, all the better, since laughter has been shown to reduce stress and tension.

  • Pleasant distractions - A good book or a movie can help redirect your thoughts from unproductive worry.

  • Relaxing - True relaxation involves a feeling of peace of mind. You may find a hobby or certain exercises particularly relaxing. Meditation, prayer or deep, slow breathing are other ways of feeling calm.

  • Positive thinking - Throughout the day, stop and evaluate the endless stream of thoughts that run through your mind. If they're negative, try to reframe those thoughts in a positive way.

  • Getting help if needed - If stress is affecting your ability to work or find pleasure in life, seek help from your doctor or mental health provider. Getting outside help isn't a sign of weakness. It takes strength to admit that you may need help - and getting help shows good judgment.
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