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5 Stress-Busters: Get Stress Relief from the Harmful Effects of Stress

 

Stress - whether it's from the hectic pace of your daily routine or a traumatic life event - can take its toll on your body. Prolonged stress can compromise your immune system, making you more vulnerable to serious illness and infection.

If you stress is related to your lifestyle, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities and slow down a bit. If life has thrown you a curveball, such as the breakup of your marriage or the loss of your job, you may have to ride it out.

But, regardless of what's causing your stress, it's important to do what you can to counteract its harmful effects. Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Change your perspective: You may or may not have control over the source of your stress, but you can control the way you perceive it. If you're on the verge of a meltdown because you're facing an impossible deadline, for example, ask yourself if the Earth will stop spinning on its axis if you're a day late.

If you're dealing with a marital separation, acknowledge the pain and sadness, but internalize the knowledge that those feelings will lessen over time. Sometimes a change of perspective frees you to ask for that deadline extension or to feel your sadness but move on through your day.

2. Get moving: Exercise releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that act as a natural mood-elevator. If that's not enough to give you a boost, setting aside time each day for exercise will help strengthen your body to more effectively fight off stress-induced illness. Be sure to make your exercise goals achievable, or you'll run the risk of adding to your stress!

3. Take a time out: Schedule a period of time each day for your personal "time out." Whether it's 15 minutes or an hour, block the time on your calendar as you would an appointment or meeting. Keeping your appointment with yourself must be non-negotiable, and don't dare use your time out to catch up on household chores or read your business report.

Spend the time in meditation, read a trashy novel, or create a flower arrangement - whatever will make you feel as though you've put yourself first.

4. Nurture your body: Set aside at least one hour a week to pamper your body. Get a manicure or a pedicure, or spend an hour soaking in a bubble bath. At least once a month, consider having some bodywork done, such as a massage, an exfoliation, or other spa treatment.

Not only will you be able to soothe away your stress, but you'll also let your body know that you appreciate all it does for you.

5. Reach out: Stress builds in isolation, so reach out to family members and friends. You don't necessarily have to share what's stressing you out - you just need to connect. Knowing that you have a solid support system in place can get you through the most stressful times.

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