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If you’re living with high levels of stress, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress causes havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health, reducing your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and just enjoy life. It might seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.

Effective stress management helps you break free from the stress that is holding you back, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun, furthermore, the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. However, stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. Stress management starts with identifying the triggers of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. While it’s easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. It’s far too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours contribute to your everyday stress levels.

Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress. Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

When you’re frazzled by your morning commute, stuck in a stressful meeting at work, or tired from another argument with your spouse, you need a way to manage your stress levels right now. That’s where quick stress relief comes in. The fastest way to reduce stress is by taking a deep breath and using your senses—what you see, hear, taste, and touch—or through a soothing movement. By viewing a favourite photo, smelling a specific scent, listening to a favourite piece of music, tasting a piece of gum, or hugging a pet, for example, you can quickly relax and focus yourself.

Author: Catherine Perri – JUMP Trainer