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5 Ways to Manage Stress and Restore Life Balance

Life is uncertain. All we can do is expect the unexpected, and keep our chins up. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, you can learn to handle stress better. Remaining calm when things don’t go as planned can play a significant role on your physical and emotional health. Learn to keep your cool under pressure and stay balanced with the tips below.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Sounds simple enough, but breathing slowly and deeply can do wonders for your health. The mind communicates with the body in many fascinating ways -- one of which is breathing. Think about it. When we’re anxious, we breathe rapidly and shallowly. By simply slowing down our rate of breathing and focusing on the rhythm of our breath, we can restore calm and clarity (at least some of it). So the next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to focus on your breathing.

Loosen Your Muscles

We carry tension in our muscles without even knowing that it’s there. Deep muscle relaxation can be achieved by contracting and relaxing muscle groups. This technique is similar to the breathing technique, but as you breathe practice tensing, then relaxing your muscles. For a quick de-stressor, try stretching your arms out as wide as you can or doing shoulder rolls.

Be Active to Relax and Reenergize

A good workout not only relaxes -- it reenergizes. How does that work? Aerobic activities release pent-up energy as you burn calories. Exercise also helps to refresh and refocus, thanks to a surplus of oxygen flowing through your body during this calorie-burning activity. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, exercise can help you unwind and refocus. Win, win.

Laugh it Off

Why is laughter the best medicine? Well aside from being free -- it actually has healing properties. When you laugh, your muscles relax, tension reduces and your brain releases some “feel good” endorphins. So when times get tense, find a reason to laugh it off. Doctors orders.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Whenever possible schedule an extra few minutes before or after your errands and day-to-day activities. If you give yourself a little extra time for the unexpected (traffic jam, long lines at the store, emergency phone call), you may be able to avoid the stress associated with being late. Try setting your alarm five minutes ahead in the morning, and discover what a difference a five-minute buffer provides.

There will always be situations beyond our control. Try some or all of the stress management techniques above and learn to stay balanced for life.