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Eliminate Your Stress

Stressed out? Here are some quick ways to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

By Jason Gracia

One of the reasons we become stressed is that there are always a thousand and one things racing around in our minds. Did I finish that project? Is Billy done with his homework? How am I going to pay all of these bills? Will I ever make that sale?

Pencil and paper
With all of these thoughts in our minds, it’s easy to see why even the best of us can get stressed out. One way to eliminate stress is to get the thoughts out of your head. You can’t just forget all of that important information, however. That’s why you have a pencil and a piece of paper—to write it all down. After writing down your thoughts, responsibilities and concerns, your mind will be free to think of solutions instead of getting stressed out about the problems.

Pick a spot
To make the most of this stress-relieving technique, sit in a quiet, well-lit room. Make a list of every thought that comes into your mind. Write until you can’t write anymore. When you are finished, you should have a complete list of the things that are currently at the forefront of your brain and in need of some attention. Next, create a plan to solve or correct each issue. If you are worried about paying your bills, for example, create a bill-paying system that ensures that the bills get paid. If you don’t know whether or not a certain project at the office has been completed, do a little research. Just learning the status of the project will put your mind at ease.

Complaining isn’t the key to a stress-free life, but talking things out with a good friend is good advice to follow.

A little chat
Getting your thoughts out of your head and into a workable form is one way to combat stress head on. Sometimes, however, all you need is a little conversation. There are a number of ways to carry on a conversation—some of them not so traditional.

You could call a friend. After a long day of working, thinking or battling against all odds, your mind and body have taken quite a beating. Instead of slumping into the couch, reach for the phone. Call a close friend—preferably someone who is good at listening—and talk out your stressful circumstances. You have to have the right phone companion for this to work. Some people don’t enjoy hearing about other people’s problems. Complaining isn’t the key to a stress-free life, but talking things out with a good friend is good advice to follow.

If no one is home, pick up that stress-eliminating pencil and write a letter. Once again, the idea is to get your thoughts out on paper so your mind can rest and you can put some concrete words behind your foggy worries. I know many people who write letters they never send. Writing the letter is enough for them to turn their stress into peace of mind.

If you find that writing letters you never send doesn’t work well for you, try writing in a journal. On many occasions, your worries do not seem very important if you see in words what you have been stressed about.

Let’s step outside
If these suggestions fail, turn to the secret weapon: Take a break.

Sure, it sounds simple, and it is. Many times the simplest solutions work the best because they are quick and easy to implement. When you find yourself in a stressful or tense situation, take a quick break—for five to 15 minutes—to alleviate the pressure and help you make the best of the rest of your day.

Here are a few techniques that can help you make the most of your break:
Deep breathing. Once you have left the stressful situation, breathe deeply to relax. Getting fresh air into your lungs will help soothe your nerves. In through the nose and out through the mouth is a good technique, but you can use any way you choose.

Sit or lie down. If possible, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. This will give your mind and your body some time off. Try to find a quiet place where excessive noise or disruption won’t add to your stress.

Count to 10. How many times have you heard this one? Probably a lot, and that’s because it works. Counting to 10 in a tense situation helps to refocus your thoughts and to give your mind relief from the current circumstances.

Stress can make its way into your life in many forms. You now have a number of tools to help you get over it—and on with your day.

Jason Gracia specializes in helping individuals enjoy happier, more successful lives. You may reach him through his website at


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