8 secret weapons to help you manage stress

A certain amount of stress is normal, even good for us. When stress becomes overwhelming however, or turns into distress, it’s time to get professional help. Most of us experience brief periods of stress every day, and certainly on a weekly basis. Today I’m sharing eight secret weapons that can help you manage stress and decompress. You might want to grab your tennis racquet…

  1. Exercise. As I always say, don’t get mad or even, get moving. Exercise is a proven way to manage stress. Even a brisk 10-minute walk can provide hours of relief – but since stress and/or anxiety often rebound with 24-hours, it’s best to make time every day for workout session. Get active outdoors for even more benefits. One of my favorite ways to combat stress? Tennis! I won’t pretend to be a star player, but hitting balls, practicing my serve, and sharing a few laughs on the courts always seems to cure whatever ails me.
  2. Be social. Spend time with family or friends where you feel comfortable and where you’re sure you have fun – another ideal escape from stress or worry. A rally on the courts or a game or two of tennis with good friends can distract you from stress, provide a physical outlet for it, and help you regain and maintain a healthier perspective.
  3. Laugh. Just as exercise is medicine, so too is laughter. Even if it only offers a temporary diversion from stress, laughter offers proven health benefits. When I hit the courts with my family, we usually have some good laughs, albeit often at my expense.
  4. Head outside. A little time in nature, preferably active time, can do wonders for our mental health, helping us manage and even overcome stress, anxiety and depression. Again, another reason to hit your community courts weather permitting, and to find equally enjoyable outdoor activities to blow off stress and steam throughout the colder months. Personally, I enjoy XC skiing and snowshoeing (using poles) throughout the winter. Both keep me in shape head-to-toe, utilizing the same upper body muscles required to enjoy tennis come spring.
  5. Meditate. Practice deep breathing and meditation exercises daily. You may not notice an immediate difference, but it won’t be long before you find yourself happier and even healthier as a result of meditation and/or mindfulness practice.
  6. Be Grateful. There are proven health benefits to practicing gratitude – relief from stress among them. Instead of dwelling on the things that leave you feeling stressed, use the power of positivity to count the blessings in your life – perhaps health, friendships, family, and other things you are grateful for.
  7. Be good to yourself. When dealing with stress, good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and other healthy practices become more important than ever. Instead of letting these important practices fall to the bottom of your to-do list, push them all the way to the top.
  8. Deal with the facts. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but speculating and stressing over things you can’t control, won’t do you any good. Deal with the facts at hand – the things you can change or manipulate.

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