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Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain: Five Strategies for Reversing This Effect
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Here are five strategies to help you manage and reduce your stress levels:

1. Take A Mini Break.

For many people, just thinking about adding stress-relieving activities to their schedule stresses them out. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You don’t have to make huge additions or changes to your daily schedule to begin reducing your stress levels. Instead, try introducing a few mini stress relievers throughout your day. This can be as simple as letting yourself indulge in a coffee break, taking five minutes to stretch, listening to your favorite song (even though it distracts you from your work), or taking a short walk outside during your lunch hour. Spending even a short time on a relaxing activity will help establish stress relief as part of your routine.

2. Put Things In Perspective

Our worries often come from our own skewed perception of events. So before you spend too much time dwelling on what your boss said during the last staff meeting, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you are thinking in broad sweeping statements like “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just one or two things—not everything. The key to keeping your cool is to remember that your feelings of everything, nothing, or always are rarely accurate, and the scope of the stressor is much more limited than it might appear.

3. Practice Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a simple, research-supported form of meditation that is an effective way to gain control of unruly thoughts and behaviors. People who practice mindfulness regularly are more focused, even when they are not meditating. It is an excellent technique to help reduce stress because it allows you to reduce the feeling of being out of control. Essentially, mindfulness helps you stop jumping from one thought to the next, which keeps you from ruminating on negative thoughts. Overall, it’s a great way to make it through your busy day in a calm and productive manner. To learn more about practicing mindfulness, read our article “How to Stay Focused, Calm, and Productive.

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