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10 steps to reduce stress

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Jennifer Oquendo

Stressful situations come in different forms; the bills keep piling up, there's too much to get done and not enough time, the kids won't stop arguing and bickering. Everyone reacts to stress differently, but some people handle stress easier than others. Stress doesn't know color, age, beauty or gender. Everyone goes through stress no matter who they are and what they do. It's inevitable, but thankfully there are ways to reduce stress in our lives.

Here are a few steps to reducing stress: 

1. Remember you're not perfect! You're bound to mess up, big or small, it's going to happen. Don't feel bad though, because no one is perfect. Remembering this will ease your mind during times when you want everything to be flawless and it's just not going that way.

2. Take a break. Yes, I know the dishes aren't going to wash themselves but sometimes it's good to stop what you're doing and take a break. Take a walk around a park and free your mind from stressful thoughts. The dishes can wait.

3. Take a bath. Baths are great for unwinding. Add some lavender bath oils or aromatherapy candles and you'll be relaxing in no time!

4. Read a book. It's always entertaining to get lost in a new book or story. They are a way to distract your mind from stressful situations and are also fun!

5. Drink some tea. There are many different teas for many different things. Literally. So of course there are many teas out there just for reducing stress. The most popular ingredient to calm and relax your body is chamomile. It also helps with anxiety.

6. Take a breather. Whenever you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take 5 minutes to focus on your breathing. Breathing exercises help stabilize and control your breathing which calms you down. Inhale through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth.

7. Listen to calming music. Create a playlist of soothing sounds and music to help you relax. There are a ton of different instrumental calming music as well as nature sounds such as ocean waves, birds chirping or rain falling. Take time to focus on the sounds instead of focusing on your stress.

8. Vent to a trusted friend. If you have someone you can talk to about anything, let them know what you're going through. Venting to someone you trust is healthy and maybe he/she can give you some sound advice.

9. Relax. I think out of all of these steps, this one is my least favorite. I absolutely hate when someone tells me to relax, but honestly relaxing is very important. Dedicate a few hours to unplug. Turn off your cell phone and any other electronic system. Don't worry you can always respond to your friends later. Use this time to do some of the other steps such as taking a bath or reading a book. You can also take a nap and wake up energized ready to face any stress that comes your way.

10. Remember that this too shall pass. Stressful situations will come and go, so don't allow them to suffocate you. If you focus less on the situations, then you will be less stressed out. Something that really helps me when I'm at my wits end is reading encouraging verses. One of my favorite verses that helps me see things in a different light is Philippians 4:6.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

No one likes dealing with issues and with the stresses of life, but it happens. Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, pick and choose from these steps and remember this will soon pass.

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