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Let’s talk about stress — again– and then choose happiness. :)

I just wanted to say a few things about stress. I’ve talked about it before, but obviously it’s something we’re all going to deal with throughout our lives. However, like everything in life, the outcome often depends on our reaction to what happens to us. We can’t control what’s going on in the world, but we CAN control how we handle our own part of the world.

I know it’s not easy to always have a good attitude so sometimes you have to act “as if” to make yourself feel better. You don’t have to “love” the tough times you’re going through, but if you CAN tell yourself that things will get better and really try to believe that (have faith) it will make a difference in the outcome.

Recently I read a quote that I liked: “Every challenge in life can be met successfully if you just take it one step at a time.” Isn’t that the truth! And right now a lot of us are facing challenges to make ends meet, hang on to our jobs, pay our bills and maintain a positive outlook. So, try breaking all of those things down into steps that you CAN manage for the time being. It can really help to just take one day at a time sometimes.

Exercise and eating healthy will help you and your body get through stressful times. As you’ve probably heard, exercise releases endorphins, and these “feel-good” hormones help you to see that you CAN feel upbeat despite what’s going on around you. Figure out what it is that will encourage the release of these endorphins and engage in that activity as regularly as possible. Even a half-hour a day of brisk walking can do the trick.

Just a couple of weeks ago one of my clients came in to the Studio feeling down and tired. She told me that she had been thinking of cancelling her session but didn’t want to lose the money so here she was, but she wasn’t really up to it. (she was acting “as if”) By the time she left an hour later, she told me that she was so happy she had come in anyway. She was feeling happy, more energetic and more positive about the rest of her day. That’s what those hormones can do for you.

Speaking of hormones, do you realize how much of your body and therefore your daily life is controlled by hormones.? They basically control our bodies (and not just women’s bodies ) One hormone that is released by our body during stressful periods is cortisol. It is normally balanced by endorphins. If you’re over-stressed, not sleeping and taxing your body too much there will be an imbalance.

Do what you can to get a good night’s sleep. Keep the room at a lower temperature; figure out what you’re most comfortable sleeping in; be sure your pillows and mattress offer the correct support; don’t consume caffeine in the evening (or for some people after lunch time); and above all don’t watch the news before going to sleep.

This is so important. Tests have shown that cortisol and adrenaline (another stress hormone) are released in the body when watching negative stories on the news. Haven’t you noticed how you feel when you hear all those horrible things? If this is what you focus on right before going to sleep, you are not getting as restful sleep as you would otherwise.

Try it for a while. Either turn off the TV a half hour before bed or watch something funny and lighthearted. If you turn off the TV, try reading a good book (not a murder mystery) or magazine, look at old photo albums, make a list of what you’d like to accomplish the next day or write in a journal about all the good things that happened that day. I know that sounds corny to some of you, but I swear that focusing on positive things before going to bed and when waking up in the morning will help your whole day take a positive turn.

[And if your significant other isn’t willing to turn off the TV, put on headphones, close your eyes and listen to some music to relax.]

Finally, remember that in life: You get what you give. If you are negative and always focusing on what’s going wrong all the time, then that’s what you’ll get more of. It doesn’t matter how down and out you are, there must be someone or something to be thankful for and appreciative of. Focus on that, act on that and believe that there is more of that out there for you.


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