What makes you stressed out?

In our day-to-day lives, we are exposed to a great number of stressors: bills and finances, work deadlines, family illnesses, loud neighbors, frustrations with services – the list goes on and on.

Can you react differently?

Can you be proactive?

Very often stress comes from being un- or underprepared for a situation. If we know our history with stress and what has caused anxiety for us in the past, we have the ability to predict we will be similarly effected when we encounter ourselves in the same position.

Preparing yourself for a habitual situation allows you to envision the stressor, which can take a lot of the sting out of the direct experience of it.

[Meditation: stress yourself out]: worst-case scenarios, incrementally-more realistic scenarios.

Can you release stress appropriately? How do you release stress? What do you think about when you are releasing stress (stress itself, the stressor, a sunny beach)?

Carve out of your schedule time to destress every day of the week. Set aside as little as 20 minutes. This is such a minimal commitment that it will be easy to maintain. At first, you may find it difficult to unwind. You might be anxious or feel your mind wandering to obligations you had earlier in the day. It might be hard to not continue to think about how you will accomplish the plans you have made for later in the day.

Exercise, meditation, and conversations with close friends are three simple ways to relieve the stress that we cannot avoid.

When exercising, focus on your body. Feel the force of your muscles. Feel the burn

If you choose to meditate, breathing will guide you. Concentrate on your breath and appreciate that your lungs are sustaining you. Imagine that inside you a fire burns. With each inhalation, you feed the flames. They glow hot and burn away the worries you have carried with you all day long. When you exhale, imagine the air is filled with the smoke from the stressors that are now burnt. Push the smoke and the feelings out of your body. Breath in again. Burn, finances. Exhale, and they go up in smoke. Inhale. Burn, illness. Exhale, and you purge your body of the disease. Relax.

These processes will not eliminate your disease or your financial problems. They will not make your boss easier to deal with or your children seem less irrational. What they will do is allow you to be better able to handle the stress in your life. They will make you less likely to work against yourself with a tensed jaw, crouched posture and tight, shallow breathing.