Below are 10 things you can do to minimize the effect of stress on your mental, physical and emotional health.

1. Consistently feed positivity:

Stress, simply put, is a physical manifestation of negative thought patterns. In the absence of positivity, negativity can creep in and start to take over.  But when we continually feed our mind positivity on a regular basis, we’re more likely to think positive thoughts and in turn feel more positive.  Things like listening to uplifting music, listening to audio that is positive and inspiring or reading something motivational are daily practices we can build into our lives to dial down the negativity factor in our minds.*Pick one that resonates with you and do it for 5 minutes in the morning before starting your day.

2. Move often:

Exercise LITERALLY changes the structure of the brain. The neurological feedback we get from exercise increases resiliency, and the release of endorphins is known for lifting our mood.  Study after study have shown that people who exercise regularly have been proven to be happier, connect better with others, are more sensitive to pleasure and more resilient to stress. In fact, these are the very reasons that motivate me to do some type movement EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Even if only for ten minutes.*Pick a time that works for you, and schedule your exercises to maintain consistency.  You can start with just 5 or minutes.

3. Limit technology:

I know, you know this already.  I’m sure you’re like me and thought many times “dang I need to spend less time on this thing”.  The reality is, as a culture we are spending A LOT of time on our phones, ipads, tablet, in front of the TV, playing video games, on the laptop, all the things.  And although these devices can be great for connecting, having fun, and entertainment, which we one hundred percent need, they can also trigger stress and be counter productive to self-care.  It’s important that we learn to disconnect once in a while and to set boundaries around how we use them.  You can start by picking one activity that you always do with your phone and commit to doing it without your phone or challenge yourself to be device free for 20 mins for one day.

4. Strive for balance:

Sometimes we can go all in and immerse ourselves in one area of our life while disregarding or neglecting the others.  And stress can come out of that neglect.  For example going hard on a work project and forgetting about your nutrition (true story that happened to me yesterday), or not blocking time for fun or checking in on your relationships.  One way to see how you’re doing with balance is to rate how happy you are in the different areas of your life on a scale of 1-10 or 1-5.  Then ask, what’s one thing I can do now to improve in this area. Try carving out 10 minutes one day this week to reflect on your previous week or the week so far. Start to notice the areas you neglect and pick one to start improving.

5. Ask questions:

Often times, stress is a result of neglect. When we don’t invest the time to tend to the different areas of our life, we might find that we are more susceptible to stress. For example, if you’re not setting aside time for movement and nourishment, your physical health can suffer which can also affect your mental and emotional health. Try asking the following questions and answering them for ourselves to build some awareness around the different areas of life.”Am I getting better in my physical health? How am I doing in the area of nutrition? How am I doing in the area of exercise? “Am I getting better in  my emotional health? Am I getting better in my mental health?  How am I doing in the area of relationships? Asking questions, and seeing what comes up is how we can build awareness around the different areas of our life and see where our triggers might lie.

6. Connect with your emotions:

Our emotions are a reflection of what’s happening on the inside.  After all, it’s those thoughts we’re having 24/7 that create these emotions.  When we find ourselves feeling down or stressed it’s important that we become aware of the thoughts triggering these emotions, acknowledge them,  try to understand them, and do our best to work through them.  Talking through your emotions and feelings with someone you trust, or journaling where you write them out, are powerful ways to release negative emotions that might be bringing you down and are also great practices to help you identify and lock in positive emotions as well.

7. Create a gratitude journal:

Gratitude is a precursor for joy.  I mean, how is it possible to be happy if you’re always complaining and focused on what you don’t have? Exactly, it’s not.No matter how “bad” or “worst off” you believe to be, I’m sure there is something in your life to be grateful for- No matter how seemingly insignificant it may be.  Take inventory of your life and take stock of the things you can be grateful for and focus on them over and over.  This practice of focusing on the good and positive in your life will allow you to see more of it around you. You can start by picking up a notebook on your next store run, or ordering something fancy from amazon (its up to you). Use it to write 10 things you are grateful for every morning when you wake up or at night before you go to bed.

8. Remember to breath:

Did you know deep breathing from the diaphragm can almost immediately relieve stress?  Deep breathing helps the mind and body to relax by lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol.  Also, by focusing on our breath, we are taking the focus off of whatever is triggering the stress even if only for a moment.  When you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed , try closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths and notice how you feel afterwards.

9. Create a morning routine:

The way we start our morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Even though things are bound to happen to take us off our center during the day, by establishing a morning routine, we are prioritizing our well-being, creating a sense of control, and can leverage that time to do the things that will prime our mind and body for a good day.  Establishing a morning routine that allows you to feel grounded, accomplished, and energized is key.*What does your ideal morning look like? Paint a picture of it and strive towards having more mornings like it.

10. Create an evening or night time routine:

Evening routines and morning routines are equally important.  The way you end your day, going into how well you sleep at night can affect how you feel and show up the next day.  In fact, sleep is one of the foundations of overall health and wellbeing, and when we’re not getting good sleep or adequate sleep,  we’re more likely to feel stressed and can experience both physical and mental health problems.  The key is to cultivate a nighttime routine that allows us to unwind, relax and fall into a deep restful sleep.*How can you bring more calm and relaxing into your evenings?  Pick one small thing you can start doing today.  is key in setting

Which of these are you currently doing? which can you see yourself adding to your stress management toolbox? Let me know in the comments below.

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