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By laceylee, Jan 3 2016 11:30PM

A New Year not only brings resolutions but a reason to press that “reset button” on life. A chance to make changes that you feel need to be made in your life. These “changes” typically are to improve one’s life. Instead of talking about working out and eating healthier (which I hope is already being done), I want to talk about habits everyone can do everyday to live with a little less stress. I’m not talking about the stress that helps you perform better when you have a deadline or motivates you to do your best. I want to talk about the overwhelming stress that can affect your health, mood and quality of life.

We can’t avoid stress. It’s a part of life. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief and then will manifests in the craziest of ways. It’s easy to recognize an illness or anxiety coming from stress, but have you thought that your nagging headaches or forgetfulness may be coming from stress? Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior such as:

* Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain

* Gritting, grinding teeth

* Stuttering or stammering

* Tremors, trembling of lips, hands

* Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms

* Light headedness, faintness, dizziness

* Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds

* Frequent blushing, sweating

* Cold or sweaty hands, feet

* Dry mouth, problems swallowing

* Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores

* Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”

* Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks

* Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea

* Excess belching, flatulence

* Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control

* Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing

* Sudden attacks of life threatening panic

* Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse

* Frequent urination

* Diminished sexual desire or performance

* Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness

* Increased anger, frustration, hostility

* Depression, frequent or wild mood swings

* Increased or decreased appetite

* Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams

* Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts

* Trouble learning new information

* Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion

* Difficulty in making decisions

* Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed

* Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts

* Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness

* Little interest in appearance, punctuality

* Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping

* Increased frustration, irritability, edginess

* Overreaction to petty annoyances

* Increased number of minor accidents

* Obsessive or compulsive behavior

* Reduced work efficiency or productivity

* Lies or excuses to cover up poor work

* Rapid or mumbled speech

* Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness

* Problems in communication, sharing

* Social withdrawal and isolation

* Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue

* Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs

* Weight gain or loss without diet

* Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use

* Excessive gambling or impulse buying

What causes stress in one person may be of little concern to another. Some people are better able to handle stress than others. Our bodies are designed to handle small doses of stress. However, we are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress without consequences. There are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke and hypertension.

The following habits to help improve the quality of your day may seem small but I promise, they will offer BIG reward when put to practice. To ensure you are being realistic and more importantly will actually turn these “tweaks” to habits, choose one or two to work on. Once you have it down to a daily habit, move on to another.



I love doing this. It feels great to give someone something without expecting anything in return. In fact, your body responds with “happy chemicals” when you do this. Even saying “hello” to a stranger as you walk by, feels great. You never know what kind of day someone is having and your simple “hello” could brighten it. It’s a win-win situation.


Being in my line of work, having energy to give others is VERY important. Not only do I need energy but I need it very early in the morning. There are a million positive things that come from feeling rested but one that you may not realize is, you make better food decisions. Have you ever wondered why you crave carbs or “bad” food when you are tired? There is a reason for this. There are two hormones that are affected when we sleep called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.


Things like keys, Mea’s leash, etc. each have a “home.” By having things I use each day in the same place, means I always know where they are. I rarely am stressing out because I cannot find something. Create “home’s” for things you use/need everyday and cut out stress, running late, etc.

I’m not saying you need to be a neat-freak but you create a calm environment (therefore cutting down on stress) by having your home, office and car “clean” or at least clear of clutter. Especially when it comes to your office/desk, the messier it is, the more likely you are to lose focus and productivity.


Writing things down help me ensure I don’t forget anything, even if it’s something small/simple. Most people get distracted from the task at hand by wandering ideas and having thoughts about other projects. Not only does crossing off “tasks” on your to-do list give you a sense of accomplishment, once they’re out of your head and down on paper (or a screen), your brain will forget about them so you can get back to work.


Life is just too short to be surrounded by negative people who do nothing but to bring you down. The quickest way to make a change in your life is to change who you surround yourself with—and it’s totally within your control. Sure you can still be friendly with these people, but limit the time you spend with them, especially if you find they are affecting your life in a negative way. The saying “We are who we surround ourselves with” is very true. Think about the handful of people you spend the most time with. Are they making you a better person? Are they bringing positivity to your life?

[6] MOVE

You didn’t think I was going to leave out exercising, did you?! There is no denying that exercise reduces stress but it also stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can have anti-anxiety effects. Ever wonder why you feel so much better after exercising? When we exercises we release this happy little chemical called dopamine. Many studies show that as we age, we are constantly losing our stores of dopamine. Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals and gives you a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them.

So run, lift, jump, play….get happy!

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