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    Stress is a word people can universally relate to. Everyone has felt stressed at one point in their life. Some people may deal with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events quicker than others. It is, however, important to know your limits when it comes to stress to avoid more serious health effects. Below are some healthy strategies by Angela Williams, PsyD for coping with stress and anxiety:

      1. Practice deep breathing, meditation, or relaxation: Breathing and meditation can help you focus on the present moment and reduce ruminative worry and anticipatory anxiety. Regular relaxation exercises lower overall physiological arousal.
      2. Look back to other stressful times: Reflect on past stressors and remind yourself that stressful periods are temporary and will pass.
      3. Identify effective coping from the past: You’ve been through tough times in the past. Review what helped you during those times.
      4. Accept negative feelings: Don’t deny anger, guilt, sadness, or negative feelings. Try to accept and acknowledge your feelings. Journaling can provide a safe space to express and process feelings.
      5. Engage in active problem solving: Identify aspects of the situation that you have control over and appropriate responses.
      6. Maintain and utilize supportive relationships: Build loving and warm relationships with trusted others you can lean on during difficult times.
      7. Get plenty of sleep: Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
      8. Exercise: Daily exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and anxiety. If cleared by your physician to do so, try to exercise vigorously four or more days a week.
      9. Eat well: Eat a balanced diet, and don’t skip meals and snacks.
      10. Schedule rest breaks: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a few minutes several times a day to meditate, breathe, or otherwise relax.
      11. Engage in pleasurable activities: Be sure to carve out time to engage in things you enjoy on a daily basis.
      12. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

      Everyone goes through difficult times and it is normal to feel “stressed out” in certain situations. It is important to cultivate a robust set of coping strategies to build your resilience and reduce the negative impact of life’s challenges. If you find that you are having trouble coping, consider seeing a therapist or seeking out a support group.

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