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Most of us are stressed about something. Whether it’s money, our relationships, our jobs, or our kids, we’re all fighting our own battle with stress. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to consider whether your stress is motivating you to do better or simply making it more difficult for you to function.

Here are some top ways you can reduce your stress:

Stay positive

When you’re already feeling stressed out, it can be difficult to feel positive. One of the best ways you can increase your feelings of positivity? Go out with a group of friends or watch a funny moving. Laughter will lower your stress hormones, increase HDL cholesterol (that’s the good kind) and reduce inflammation in your arteries.

It’s also a good idea to consider starting a gratitude list. Once a day, write down three things you’re grateful for. It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re too busy feeling grateful for all the amazing things going on in your life.

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Exercise

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are mood-boosting hormones that help you feel less stressed out. Exercise also helps you stay healthy, strengthens your heart muscle, and lowers your blood pressure.

Focus on your health

When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to stop prioritising your health. You may find that you have too many drinks throughout the week, you’re constantly reaching for your cigarettes or you’ve stopped cooking in favor of junk food. When you take care of your body, you’ll naturally feel less stressed since you’re working on something you can control. Consider vaping instead of smoking cigarettes, meal prepping once or twice a week so you have healthy meals on hand, and reaching for water instead of your third or fourth drink.

Unplug

Most of us are continually attached to our phones and laptops. If you find yourself checking work emails late at night, watching tv in bed, or catching up with social media before you even get out of bed, you may need to unplug. Take time to read a book, have a relaxing bath, or cook a delicious meal.

Talk it out

A problem shared is a problem halved. Often, after we’ve talked about our problems they don’t seem so big. And the people we talk to will often have actionable advice that can help us take control of the situation. When you’re feeling stressed out, give a close friend or family member a call, or get in touch with a trained therapist who can help you deal with your stress effectively.

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