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  • Writer's pictureMarica King, MS, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH

We Just Can't Avoid It: STRESS! So What Do You Do About It?

Yes, we let it get to us and sometimes it gets the best of us; Stress! That natural response to everyday stressors, whether it's looming deadlines at work, family responsibilities, financial pressures, or the never-ending stream of notifications on our phones, stress has a knack for creeping in and wreaking havoc on our well-being. Since we can't avoid, let's learn effective ways to acknowledge its presence, identify the source, figure out what we need, meet the need, and minimize the negative effects stress can have on us.

The first step in dealing with stress is acknowledging its presence. Instead of ignoring or suppressing it, take a moment to recognize and accept that you're feeling stressed. By acknowledging your emotions, you can begin to address them in a constructive manner. Next, when you pinpoint the source of your stress you will be able to find effective solutions. Is it work-related pressure? Relationship issues? Health concerns? Take some time to identify what's causing you to feel stressed, and consider whether there are any practical steps you can take to address the underlying issues. A big thing here to keep in mind is knowing when to eliminate, those things you CANNOT control. For example, with relationship issues; can we control other people? The short and long answer is, No. However, we can influence their behavior by our responses to them. So the focus here should be managing your stress fueled by the stressor from that relationship and not try to control the other person, which further perpetuates the stress response.

In times of stress, self-care becomes more important than ever. Make self-care a priority by engaging in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. Whether it's going for a walk in nature, practicing mindfulness meditation, indulging in a hobby you love, or simply taking a few moments to breathe deeply, find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine. Sometimes, stress can stem from overcommitting ourselves or allowing others to encroach on our boundaries. Learn to set clear boundaries and say no to tasks or obligations that are causing you undue stress. Remember, it's okay to prioritize your own well-being and say no to things that don't align with your values or goals. In the midst of stress, it can be easy to focus on the negatives and overlook the positives in our lives. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by taking time each day to reflect on the things you're thankful for. Whether it's your health, relationships, accomplishments, or simply the beauty of nature, shifting your focus to gratitude can help foster resilience in the face of stress.

While we may not be able to avoid stress entirely, we can certainly take steps to manage it more effectively. By acknowledging our stress, identifying its source, practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and cultivating gratitude, we can develop the resilience needed to navigate life's challenges with greater ease and grace. So the next time stress comes knocking at your door, remember – you have the power to choose how you respond.

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