Don’t let stress and anxiety take the joy out of life. It can come out of nowhere and ruin everything. It’s unfortunate, but many people let stress get the best of them.

When was the last time you snapped at a co-worker for no reason? Slept through the alarm? Or, didn’t have anything to say? This is what can happen when you feel overwhelmed, or stressed out. Little things can set you off.

When you feel stressed, things can actually get worse rather than better. Here are 5 tips that will help you reduce the stress in your life, and relax:

  1. Learn positive self-talk. It’s easy to get stuck in your head. We all have a running dialogue in our head. It can either build you up, or bring you down. When you make a mistake, what do you say to yourself? Do you say you are a dummy for doing that? Or, do you say we all make mistakes, maybe in the long run you will learn from this. Start to replace your negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Start now, tell yourself that you deserve love and care. By doing this you are starting to retrain your brain.
  2. Teach yourself to self-soothe. When you are under a lot of stress and are faced with an anxiety provoking situation, it’s easy to go into fight or flight. This is when your heart rate increases, you may start breathing shallowly or hold your breathe. When this happens you want to stop and take a break. Take a few deep soothing breaths, go for a walk, or just sit and relax. Play around with different ways to self-soothe. Some people like to pray. Find something that works for you and stick with it.
  3. Take a close look at your diet. What you eat affects your mood. Do you eat a lot of sugar or carbs? Do you drink a lot of caffeine? If you said yes, then you need to make a change. Replace the sugar and carbs with protein. You also want to make sure you are eating good fats, like avocado or almonds. This will help you fill up, so you don’t feel hungry. This will also help prevent you from feeling fatigued and have better focus. Instead of relying on caffeine to get through the day, try a nutritious vegetable or fruit juice. You’ll be amazed at the results.
  4. Take a music break. If you are like many Americans, you are staring at a computer all day. This is not good for your brain or your body. You need to take breaks during the day. This means walking away from your desk. If you can, get outside. You can go for a walk and listen to your favorite music. This will help keep your mind off work, or all the things that you need to do. If your phone rings, don’t answer it. You can return the voicemail when you get back to the office.
  5. Get plenty of rest. Unfortunately, many people put sleep last on the list. You may think this will help. But, in the long run it won’t. When you don’t get enough sleep you are actually more forgetful, and stressed out. When you go to bed shut off all electronic gadgets, make sure it is quiet, and you are in a dark and comfortable place. There is always time to do what you need to. Your friends and family will thank you when you get more sleep, because you will naturally be happier.

Start with one of these small tips today. You will see a big difference in how you feel about yourself, and others. Unfortunately, stress is a part of life. There are times where you have to turn in the report, or your child just won’t sleep. That is alright. If you are practicing these tips and others, it will make the difficult times easier to get through.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people reduce stress, and learn to love the life they have. For more information, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.

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1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
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San Mateo, CA 94404

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