April is Stress Awareness Month. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the stress levels are up around you. This means that many Americans are suffering from moderate to high levels of stress. It is estimated that  44 percent of individuals have reported that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. This post is designed to make sure you know the warning signs of stress. I also include a few tips to help you cope.

Stress is your brains reaction to increasing demands. The effects of stress can be  physiological and psychological. Did you know that some stress is unavoidable and necessary? Yes, that’s right and without any stress in our lives we wouldn’t be motivated in some areas liking going on a job interview or taking an exam. However, the major concern is that many people feel they are experiencing too much stress and they are ill equip to cope during these difficult times.

I cannot lie to you, right now, my life is hectic. I have a full time job and two part-time jobs, I have been writing book for some time, I’m trying to get back to the regular blogging, I am consulting on projects  plus I have to be available for family and friends. Sometimes my sleeping habits suffer because of my stress levels. Likewise, some of the stressors that many of us experience are brought on by not taking care of our basic health needs.

Do you eat at least three balanced healthy meals a day? Do you drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes? Do you get at least some form of exercise every day? How’s your weight, your blood sugar, your blood pressure? Do you take too much coffee? Maybe you don’t sleep enough or very soundly. Are you generally happy with your career, your relationships, your group of friends? Do you make enough money to take of basic needs? Do you drink enough water? What about you – do you take time for yourself…to relax? How much smiling do you do…how often do you have fun in your life?

I know that the questions above seem more like an intake form at your doctor’s office but these are questions you need to ask yourself.

A few common signs of stress include:
-Feeling like you’re overwhelmed and can’t handle all the things in your life
-Feeling nervous and stressed often
-Feeling less confident in your ability to handle your personal problems
-Increased irritability and increased anger

One way to manage that stress is to make sure you are being honest with yourself. Your life has many layers to it. Are you dealing with the many the facets of your life? Earlier I rattled off 10 questions that specifically focused on being more active, keeping a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise and sleep. The idea is that examining yourself could lead you to new discoveries of stress triggers and help you make meaningful changes to alleviate stress in your life.

The following are some suggestions in order to lower your stress and help you become Stress Less.

  • Exercise

Obviously, we all need to exercise, and daily exercise is best to reduce the everyday feelings of tension. If you are a workaholic, you could even do “deskercises” such as shoulder rolls, shrugs, neck stretches, wrist curls, standing stretches and waist twists can reduce stress. Doing these exercises can give you a little break from work and renewed your energy levels. Even a short session of a few minutes of desk exercises can restore the blood flow and increase your ability to focus on your work better.

  • Relax

If you are a more visual person, you may want to use pictures of calming scenes to let your mind relax.  I love looking at pictures of my past travel trips to help me calm down. If you do something similar, it will give your mind a few minutes of peace and is a great way to create a stress less atmosphere. With the visualization, focus on your breathing and take in long, slow, deep breaths to oxygenate your brain and blood.

  • Breathe

Speaking of breathing…Rapid, shallow breathing is a common reaction to stress, but it causes us to lose focus and to feel tired and irritable. If you use deep breathing techniques, it will help you regain your balance.

  • Eat Fresh!

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily.  Currently, our foods are so over processed. It would refresh your body to gain fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Clean

A little cleaning can go a long way towards reducing your stress and increasing your mental effectiveness. The space in which you live and in which you work should be de-cluttered and made to feel relaxed and restorative. If your home or workplace is noisy, uncomfortable, cluttered, or messy, you may feel disorganized. Take time to clean and make your space orderly so that you feel energized and relaxed.

Simplifying your life and utilizing some of these tips are a great way melt away stress in your life. Following even a few of these helpful tips will help relieve tension and create a healthier and a more balanced you.

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