Identify and Avoid. The easiest way to beat the stressful blues is avoid them all together. Identify
what or who triggers your stress and avoid the situations you can control. If a
certain intersection makes your heart beat faster, take a different route home
from work. If a coworker or friend is constantly negative, limit your
interactions. You might not be able to control his or her attitude, but you can
control how it affects you.
Simplify Your To-Do List. Making a list can help you be more productive, but an extra-long list can easily
induce stress. Start each day by jotting down a handful of achievable goals.
Beyond that, look at the bigger picture; learn to say no and eliminate
activities that aren’t completely necessary. Personal hobbies are great stress relievers, but if your
schedule is tight, choose the soccer game or the book club—not both.
Nourish Yourself. Poor health makes you less equipped to deal with stress. Increase your health
levels by eating mindfully and maintaining a healthy diet. Focus on
well-balanced, nutritious meals and avoid excess caffeine and sugar. Instead of
snacking in the car or at your desk, carve out time each day to enjoy your
meals so you will feel satisfied, thankful, and adequately recharged.
Move Your Body. Reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase endorphins by moving your body
regularly. Experts recommend carving out at least thirty minutes three times
per week for aerobic activity, whether it’s walking, running, dancing, or cycling. To reduce muscle tension, invest in the
occasional massage, stretch daily, and practice yoga.
Clear Your Mind. Calm frantic thoughts by clearing your mind. If you need to make a quick mental
escape from a stressful situation, try conscious breathing or visualization.
Acupuncture can help your body and mind relax while treating the physical
effects of stress. Incorporate meditation into your evening routine to wind
down from a busy day and prepare your body for restful sleep.
Positive Self-Talk. We are our own worst critics—but we can also be our best cheerleaders. Instead of doubting or feeling
disappointed in yourself, focus on what you did well. Turn “I should have worked out harder” into “I’m so proud of myself for making it to the gym today!”
Journal. Journaling is a therapeutic way to work out stresses and fears. Make brief
notes about how you handle stressful situations so you have a plan for the next
encounter. You may also choose to focus on the positive and spend more time
journaling about or acknowledging what you are thankful for. If you need some
inspiration, pick up Barbara Ann Kipfer’s 14,000 Things to Be Happy About: The Happy Book.
Transfer Energy. When you feel stressed, it can be easy to have tunnel vision and think about how
you are being affected. If you feel yourself spiraling, step back and shift the
focus. Light some candles, take a few deep breaths, and focus your thoughts on
positive things. Remember, the weight of the world is not balanced on your
shoulders alone. Written by Maresa Giovannini.
Italians embrace la dolce vita (the sweet life), filling every day with laughter, rest, food, wine, and
family. Here in North America, we have a tendency to overschedule, overextend,
and overspend until we are blinded by stress. Although stress is a normal part
of life, it can lead to dangerous health issues if not handled properly. So
while practical constraints might prevent you from living la dolce vita to the
fullest, consider the mentality and some of the following suggestions for