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How to manage stress more effectively.

Answer: Some general things to help you manage stress include:

1. cardiovascular exercise (unless medically contraindicated). If you have any medical conditions or concerns about the impact of cardio exercise on your body, please check with your physician prior to beginning.

2. journaling/keep a daily log or journal in which you record significant events of the day, how you responded to these events, what you felt, and any feedback you received. If you believe your response was inappropriate or irrational, also chart what you think would have been a more appropriate or rational response. This helps you vent, but will also heighten your awareness regarding your targeted responses, which will gradually increase your self control and effective management in these situations.

3. Actively participate in hobbies and interests/sports, creative interests, recreation, etc.

4. Maintain social involvement.

5. Get sufficient rest (whatever that means for you).

6. Take responsibility for your errors/mistakes, and make amends whenever possible/appropriate.

7. Remember that each day is a new beginning/let go of mistakes and failures of past days. Accept responsibility, learn what you can from the mistake, make amends if possible/appropriate, and then never think about it again.

8. meditate/if you need direction, consult your local book store, spiritual leader, or schedule a TalkDoctors appointment.

9. relaxation training/if you need help consult your local bookstore or set up a TalkDoctors appointment/you might consider guided audiotape trainings that include pairing breathing with muscle tension and relaxation.

10. Limit alcohol consumption/if you have problems with alcohol abuse or dependence, eliminate alcohol consumption. If not, limit your alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per occasion.

11. Participate in your spirituality (if you are a spiritual person).

12. Set aside at least 10 minutes per day to just reflect on the day with no interruptions.

13. sunshine/try to get at least 10 minutes of sunshine each day, when available, and if you have sensitivity to the sun, try to get your sunshine before 10 A.M. or after 3 P.M.

14. Take action to address problems or concerns. Do it now. Waiting often makes problems grow, or seem to grow, and often this creates increased stress which feels like emotional paralysis. Do it now.

15. Take time to enjoy the beauty of children, nature, and meaning.

16. Identify 5-10 main parts of life, such as relationship, family, work, exercise, hobbies, spirituality, social; and endeavor to balance them relative to their level of importance to you. If you notice that you are placing far too much time or importance on any one part of life, work to make adjustments and gain a better balance.

You may not be interested in or able to do all of these, but please consider them, select the ones that may work for you, and give them a try. Track your progress in a journal, perhaps using a scale from 1-10/stress severity, and find the things that work for you.