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Happy Monday everyone! Well, today I wanted to talk about stress. Well, really it only just occurred to me just now that I wanted to write this post.

Stress. Stress is an everyday evil in my world. And I'm sure in most of yours it is too. If you tell me you have absolutely zero stress in your life, I probably won't believe you. It's something we all deal with, and so it is probably good if we learn how to deal with it. This is a big issue in my life right now as I deal with my own stress and often have to help others deal with theirs. I did want to be a therapist, so this is something I am quite passionate about. So, I have decided to include a few things in here that help me when I am stressed, and that perhaps you can give a try the next time you are stressed.

1. Get a second opinion before reacting to the situation at hand. When you get stressed your body goes into fight or flight mode. All of those brain chemicals have your heart rate either up, or down, may have your hands clammy, your mind racing.... and sometimes we may react too quickly in those situations. Before making a rash decision, sit down with someone you trust, let them know what's going on, and get a second opinion. You may realize you are stressing over nothing, and they may be able to talk you through calming yourself down and helping you realize the options you have that you may not be thinking of while really stressed.

2. Take on one task at a time. While I was in school, and now working as a receptionist, there are often times when I find I have a hundred things to do all at once and I get really stressed out about having so much stuff to do. My advice? Take it one task at a time. Instead of trying to do little bits of all of your tasks at a time, and stressing about all of the work you have, take one task, perhaps the most urgent or the one that's due first, and focus on that until it's done, and then move onto the next one. You will not only accomplish a lot more and feel less stressed, but your work will be better quality than if you did small bits of each task at once.

3. Breathe. I know this is a common sense one, and you have probably heard it a million times, but really, just BREATHE. Take in a long deep breath for four seconds, and breathe out for four seconds. Do this for about 5 minutes everyday and you'll be good to go.

4. Take your mind out of the past or the future and bring it into the present. This is another one of those bits of advice you've probably heard a lot. A lot of people choose meditation to accomplish this, but my therapist taught me a neat trick that helps me take my mind out of the past and my worry and brings me into the present and out of the mess of my mind when I'm stressed. Go out for a walk. And instead of using that time to worry and staying trapped in your mind focus on what is around you, And not superficially. Actually actively think about the things around you. Perhaps you're walking through the city and you see a beautifully built building. An example of actively thinking in that situation could be thoughts such as "Wow, look at the architecture of that building, it is absolutely beautiful. Those gargoyles are quite scary looking. I love the colour of the trim, and I wonder what time of stone that is, it's quite lovely." Actively think about the world around you, and it will help teach you how to get out of your own mind and bring you into the present moment.

5. Exercise. When I am angry, or stressed, or sad, I love to exercise. I already exercise 4 times a week, but if I'm particularly moody or angry, I will often take a 20 minute run. Not only do I end up pushing myself harder than I normally would, but I am left feeling so much more calm and level headed. If running isn't your thing, a walk could do the same, especially if pair with the tip I mentioned above. Exercise has been shown to decrease levels of depression almost as effectively as antidepressants, and really exercising and eating right will just really help your whole overall health and happiness in general.

6. Take a bath. If I'm really panicky and stressed out, I will often run a really hot bath, put on a face mask, and lay in the bath for 10-20 minutes, and BREATHE. I'll close my eyes, try to relax all of my muscles and breathe deeply. I know not everyone is a fan of bathing, but I always feel looser and more relaxed and a bit more level headed after a nice hot bath.

I could continue this post on with many more tips and tricks I use to help me through the especially tough days, but this post would go on forever! I really hope this post helps at least one person, and please let me know if you have any other tips and tricks for dealing with stress, please share them in the comments below, and let me know if you try any of these tricks!

I hope everyone has a really great and not too stressful week!


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