Being an adult is stressful. Between fulfilling your duties at work, taking care of yourself and your family, paying the bills, maintaining your health, and trying to fit in a social life, there are countless sources of stress in anyone’s life. While it’s impossible to totally eliminate all forms of stress, it is possible – and necessary – to learn to manage that stress effectively. Here are a few tips for taking a step back, relaxing, and avoiding some of the health consequences of long-term stress.

Identify Stress Triggers

Once you understand what causes your stress, you can begin to learn how to cope with specific instances, or modify your lifestyle to avoid some of its major causes. Do certain situations tend to make your thoughts spiral out of control? Are there certain types of conversations that fill you with dread? Do you find yourself putting off certain tasks?

Be Mindful

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when you’re constantly thinking twelve steps ahead. To bust stress and improve your focus, try to concentrate on the here and now rather than occupying your thoughts with what-ifs and that meeting next week you really need to prep for. Whether you chose to engage in meditation, breathing exercises, or a quiet walk, take some time each day to slow down and be present in your body.

Take a Fun Break

Stepping back from work and taking a break can help refresh your mind and distract you for a few moments. Find small activities that you can work into your daily routine, whether it’s a brisk walk, a crossword puzzle, a brief chat with a friend, or time to listen to your favorite songs.

Take Care of Yourself

In the long term, a healthy mind and body goes a long way in reducing stress. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Not only will you feel less stressed in general, you’ll also have fewer worries about your health and less guilt about not taking care of it!

Self-Talk

Sometimes, stress will get the better of you no matter what. In these instances, it can be helpful to coach yourself with positive thinking. Make a list of positive statements that you can repeat to yourself or use in conversations when situations get difficult: “I’ll do my best,” “Everybody makes mistakes,” and “I know what to do,” are just a few examples of self-talk that can ease a difficult situation.

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