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Learn to handle stress

Stress-free ladyYou can’t get rid of it completely, but there are healthy ways to handle and cope with stress that will make you feel better. There are four ways to respond to stress, according to

  • Avoid the stressor
  • Alter the stressor
  • Adapt to the stressor
  • Accept the stressor

To avoid stress:

  • Learn to say “no” if taking on more responsibility will increase your stress.
  • Control your environment. Turn off disturbing news shows. Go to the grocery store at an off time when you know it’s less crowded. Take a walk to give yourself a break from a trying situation.
  • Avoid repeated arguing about the same issues.

To alter a stressful situation:

  • Express your concerns up front in an honest and respectful way before becoming resentful about the development of the situation.
  • Be willing to compromise.
  • Anticipate and plan for problems.

To adapt to a stressor:

  • Try to see an otherwise annoying situation in a positive light. For example, choose to view your time spent waiting on a family member or colleague who’s late not as a complete inconvenience, but as a chance to read or meditate.
  • Step back and see the big picture. Will what’s stressing you matter in a year? A week? A day?
  • Choose what you spend time on. What needs to be perfect? What needs to be good enough?
  • Take a moment to list the good things in your life.
  • Recognize the lesson to be learned from this stress, and get excited about having it in your bank of collective life experiences. You have the answer should this, or something like it, ever happen again.

To accept what can’t be changed:

  • Focus on what can be controlled in your life, and what must be left to chance.
  • Talk it out. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member, or perhaps even a counselor.
  • Let go of your anger and resentment over the stressor and move on with your life.