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Stress is inevitable. If you didn’t have stress in your life, you wouldn’t be able to function properly in society. Stress makes you more aware, more focused, and more responsive in order to perform your daily activities. In your body, you produce three major stress hormones: Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Norepinephrine. These hormones fluctuate in your body depending on the time of day, and what is happening in your surroundings. For example, a person in a war-torn area like Syria is more likely to be experiencing more stress than a suburban housewife in Long island, New York. Although the stress hormones are good for you, it is bad for your health if they are in your bloodstream for long periods of time. High stress levels can be directly linked to depression, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, headaches, accelerated aging and premature death.

The good news is that stress management is really easy. All you have to do is take control of your life. You should not let the events happening around you control the amount of stress you perceive. Below are four ways to handle stress better:

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Exercise

This is a great form of avoiding stress because you are able to divert all your attention towards your body, instead of your mind. You will be too busy “huffing and puffing” to worry about the external issues that are causing you to feel stressed all the time. Exercise also causes the brain to release endorphins into your blood stream. These are “feel good” neurotransmitters, that will make you feel euphoric, and give you a sense of well-being. If subscribing to a gym, or joining a sport’s club, seems too demanding for you, you could start by taking long walks around your neighborhood, or doing jumping jacks around your home.

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Sleep

On average, an adult is supposed to have 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are having less than this amount of sleep on a regular basis, this might be the reason why you might feel so stressed. If you are having trouble sleeping, try turning off the television, and putting your phone away at bedtime. You could also try drinking a hot cup of green tea to soothe you before heading to bed. If you have an iPhone, the Clock app that comes with your phone, has a bedtime section that can help you plan your sleeping patterns. If you have tried everything you can do, and have failed, please talk to a doctor to inquire if you might need some medical assistance.

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Meditate

The problem we have as humans is that we think too much about the future. We tend to think about things that might happen months, and years from now, and we dwell on them. If you are the kind of person that has a wandering mind, it can be controlled through meditation. You don’t have to be an expert to know how to meditate, and you don’t need a teacher, because you learn how to improve your meditation from experience. It can also be done anywhere: on your bed, in the shower, on the bus, in an exam room, in your office etc. To meditate, close your eyes, take deep slow breaths, and try to hear your heart beat, and try not to think. You can try to meditate for a minute, and try to extend it begins to feel more natural to you.

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Manage your time

Sometimes, do you feel that 24 hours is never enough to do everything you had panned out for the day? This feeling can lead to you feeling stressed, and less in control of your life. To deal with this issue, wake up early in the morning, plan out your day. Make a list of things you need to do, from the most important at the top of your list, to the least important at the bottom. Try to be efficient, and do the most important things each day, and leave the remaining for the next day.

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