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8 Ways to Beat Stress in 2013

If you have resolved to get rid of stress in the new year, and are stressed just thinking about how to avoid stress, you are not alone.

8 Ways to Beat Stress in 2013

Dr. Megan Hood, a clinical psychologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center with an expertise in stress management, said trying to attain a more stress-free existence is pretty popular around the holidays and the new year.

But staying away from stress is not as simple as a New Year’s Eve wish.

“That tends to be a common goal, a nice broad goal,” Hood said. “But it also tends to be challenging.”

Still, Hood has some tips to keep the stress at bay.

  • Enjoy the moment. Don’t always rush ahead to the next thing, Hood cautions. Take a second to just enjoy the small things in life: a catchy song playing, a good smell or something nice going on around you.
  • Plan ahead — when you can. Having plans and maintaining schedules is a good thing, but make your goals manageable and realistic and don’t worry about anything out of your control, Hood says.

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  • Be active. Plan an activity with your family that doesn’t involve vegging out on the couch, Hood advises. Robinson Preserve and Riverwalk are great places to just get out and walk.
  • Have healthy snacks available. In accordance with your overall health, be sure to eat foods that are good for you, especially after splurging on holiday food.
  • Do something that makes you feel good. The holidays involve giving gifts to others, but don’t forget about you when they are over. Hood recommends participating in whatever brings a smile to your face, whatever you enjoy, especially social groups or activities. 
  • Volunteer. Helping people helps us feel positive and better about ourselves, Hood says. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has a database of volunteer opportunities at   www.youdbeperfectforthis.org.
  • Take deep, short breaths. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. When you trick your body into relaxing, the mind and the thoughts follow, Hood explains.
  • Expect the best. Always be positive, Hood adds. If you intentionally expect good things and good results, you’ll probably get them.
      • TELL US: How do you de-stress? Are you resolving to stress less in 2013?

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