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Ways to Avoid Stress

Stress is a part of life, and you can't always avoid it. But you can try to avoid situations that can cause it, and you can control how you respond to it. The first step is knowing your own coping strategies. Try using a stress journal to record stressful events, your response to them, and how you coped.

After you know what is causing your stress, try making some changes in your life that will help you avoid stressful situations. Here are a few ideas:

Manage your time

Time management is a way to find the time for more of the things you want and need to do. It helps you decide which things are urgent and which can wait. Managing your time can make your life easier, less stressful, and more meaningful. For more information, see:

Stress Management: Managing Your Time.

Look at your lifestyle

The choices you make about the way you live affect your stress level. Your lifestyle may not cause stress on its own, but it can prevent your body from recovering from it. Try to:

  • Find a balance between personal, work, and family needs. This isn't easy. Start by looking at how you spend your time. Maybe there are things that you don't need to do at all. Finding a balance can be especially hard during the holidays. For help, see:
    • Quick Tips: Reducing Holiday Stress.
  • Have a sense of purpose in life. Many people find meaning through connections with family, friends, jobs, or volunteer work.
  • Get enough sleep. Your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping. For more information, see:
    Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep.
  • Adopt healthy habits.Eat a healthy diet, limit how much alcohol you drink, and don't smoke. Staying healthy is your best defense against stress.
  • Exercise. Even moderate exercise, such as taking a daily walk, can reduce stress.

Get support

Support in your life from family, friends, and your community has a big impact on how you experience stress. Having support in your life can help you stay healthy.

Support means having the love, trust, and advice of others. But support can also be something more concrete, like time or money. It can be hard to ask for help. But doing so doesn't mean you're weak. If you're feeling stressed, you can look for support from:

  • Family and friends.
  • Coworkers, or people you know through hobbies or other interests.
  • A professional counselor. (See tips for finding a counselor or therapist.)
  • People you know from church, or a member of the clergy.
  • Employee assistance programs at work, or stress management classes.
  • Support groups. These can be very helpful if your stress is caused by a special situation. Maybe you are a caregiver for someone who is elderly or has a chronic illness. For more help, see:
    • Quick Tips: Reducing the Stress of Caregiving.

Change your thinking

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 20, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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