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There are several different types of stress, and learning how to control them can make all the difference. You have physical stress (lack of exercise, illness, sleep habits, etc.), mental stress (how you deal emotionally with life) and chemical stress (nutritional and environmental). Here are a few straightforward ways to help you reduce all three stress factors.

Proper Breathing:Proper breathing has a dramatic impact on muscle relaxation, tension reduction, normalizing heart rate, and increasing mental clarity. What you want to strive for is learning to breathe mostly with your diaphragm instead of your lungs. The diaphragm is the most efficient muscle for breathing. It is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. Learning how to breathe with your diaphragm takes some practice, but in time it will become second nature. Practice the following technique on a daily basis for 5-10 minutes. Lie on your back, putting a pillow or similar support under your knees to relax your lower back. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Slowly inhale through your nose and make sure the only hand that moves is the one on your abdomen. Try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible. Exhale through pursed lips and repeat.

Organization:Are you feeling overwhelmed with so much to do and so little time? Unclutter your life and get organized to take back control. Where do you start? You've got to have a plan. Create a list of the five most important tasks you need to complete for the day. Put the one you want to do the least at the top of the list to help prevent procrastination. It is human nature to delay things that make you feel uncomfortable. By accomplishing the difficult task first you set the tone for positive action and motivation the rest of the day.

Healthy Snacking:Eat healthy and eat often to control blood sugar levels. When you go long periods between meals, a hormone known as insulin spikes. This hormone controls how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after eating. Big surges in insulin occur when you wait too long between meals, which may increase stress on your body chemistry. You can get cravings and mood swings. Eating only three meals a day is insufficient for keeping this delicate balance of hormones in check. It is recommended that in addition to eating three regular meals a day, you mix in 2-3 healthy snacks. You will notice a renewed sense of energy and vitality as you provide your body and mind with the nutrition it needs.

Exercising:Get in shape and get out of stress; now there's a win-win proposition. Find an exercise you truly enjoy doing, not one you dread. Once you make it a part of your daily routine, it will become an integral part of your healthy lifestyle. Strive to get 20 minutes a day of some type of exercise. Walking is a great way to start. Get outside and enjoy the open air while at the same time clearing your mind. It can be an escape from all the chaos in your life. There is nothing like the calming effect of being around Mother Nature. Excess weight is also a stress on your body; regular exercise will help eliminate the pounds, improving your looks, your health and your state of mind.

Finding "Me Time":Take some solo time every morning before you start the day. Use this time to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. Set your alarm 15 minutes early and wake up to silence. Do not turn on the television or open the newspaper. You may find that problems which have plagued you suddenly become more manageable and put into perspective. When was the last time you sat in a room without white noise all around? Try it and see what happens. I have a feeling you will find it to be one of the most enjoyable moments of your day.

Try these stress busters for just one month and you can change your life. Even if you can't do all of them, start with a few and see how much less stress you have in your life.

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