Stress reduction

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Different people respond to stressful situations in a variety of ways. It can be helpful to learn to recognize the symptoms and sources of stress, so that steps can be taken to reduce or manage it. Depending on the situation, available resources, and individual personality, certain causes of stress may even be able to be eliminated. For example, it's often helpful to eliminate negative thinking, replacing it with positive statements about a situation. This can help accentuate the good rather than the bad. It's also physically helpful to combat stress with healthy habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, routine and regular sleep, and relaxation techniques. To some extent, it's also possible to counteract the body's tension responses by consciously relaxing the major muscle groups, and by breathing deeply and slowly, thereby releasing natural pain killers and allowing the blood pressure to return to normal. If stress is caused by competition, dealing with difficult people, or other relationship dynamics, healthy communication skills are often useful. Often, deadline-related stress can be reduced by setting realistic goals and corresponding priorities, then establishing a corresponding, reasonable schedule. Finally, people who learn to relax and enjoy life are often better able to deal with stress. This might mean learning to have realistic expectations, taking time to have fun, beginning a new hobby, talking to a few trustworthy friends, or simply reading a few enjoyable, engrossing books.

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