There is no doubt about it, life is stressful. We all have stresses in our lives, but how we handle them and how they effect us varies. If we are good at managing stress, it becomes merely a part of life and it doesn't control us. If we are bad at it, it becomes overwhelming, takes over our lives, and can even cause a lot of negative health issues. Managing stress doesn't have to be horribly hard or even terribly time consuming, but you do need to do it with a conscious mind and intentional living.

Healthy Lifestyle.
There has been a lot of research done into the advantages of a healthy lifestyle. The benefits are too numerous to list, but those who work on living a healthy lifestyle are less likely to become overwhelmed by the stress in their lives. While you don't have to "snap" into a healthy lifestyle in moments, if you aren't living one right now you should start making steps toward doing so. Here is a good definition of a healthy lifestyle:

  • Positive diet- Your diet consists of all the foods you eat, each and every day. You should work toward a positive diet that is well balanced, includes lots of fruits and vegetables, and has a good ratio of fat to calories. Your body doesn't really need fat and you should be careful with how much you take in.
  • Lots of water- Water is a very important part of our lives and a healthy lifestyle. It is a key part of a well functioning body. When your body functions well you are more capable of handling the stress in your lives. It is recommended that you have 8 to 10 glasses of water or you take your weight and divide it by two and drink that many ounces each day. If you need help getting more water in your diet see the article Tips For Drinking More Water.
  • Exercise- Exercise is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle and it will make you feel lots better in so many ways.

Exercise is such a huge part of stress management and feeling good that it needs to be said more than once. Exercise gets the blood pumping, helps repair damaged tissue in the body, helps the body detoxify, and releases chemicals (positive ones at that) into the system. The chemicals that are released are natural anti-depressants and they aid with anxiety. Additionally they are good for a whole lot of other benefits that help the body manage stress. Exercise should take place for at least 30 minutes three times a week, but more is always good. Give it several weeks to feel the benefits. In fact, give it time to become a habit. Most habits take at least six weeks to form and may take as many as eight weeks.

Meditation is a word that has a lot of different meanings and people feel a lot of different things about it. However, there is no doubt about it that it helps relieve stress and gives you inner peace and relaxation. Some simple massage techniques are to sit quietly on the floor (you don't need a fancy position to feel the results) and work at clearing your mind and keeping it blank. During this time concentrate on your breathing and take deep breaths in and out. Another thing you can do for a good meditation technique is to concentrate on the flame of a candle and replace your thoughts with the candle flame. Don't worry if it is hard at first (entire lives have been dedicated to learning to meditate), but keep trying.

Massage is a wonderful thing to get. While it isn't always possible to have someone else massage you, when they get a chance take them up on it. You can trade massages with a friend or with your spouse. If you do get the chance to get a massage from someone else consider Making Your Own Massage Oil. However, you can also give yourself some simple massages (it is true that it won't be a full body massage). These simple massages can feel great and help relieve some stress. Try massaging your hands and arms, feet and calves, shoulders and neck, and even your own head. Get lots of great massage tips at Giving Yourself a Massage.

Sounds and Scents.
Our bodies react to a wide range of stimulus. If we choose relaxing sounds and scents we can aid our bodies in relaxing. This isn't hard to do. Simply put on some relaxing music or sound tracks. You can choose your favorite music as long as it is relaxing or pick something that is designed for relaxing such as classical, a relaxation CD, or nature sounds for relaxation. Scent wise you can choose your favorite or go for one that is known for relaxing the body such as sandalwood, rosewood, lavender, chamomile, jasmine, or neroli. Using essential oils (oils that are actually made from the plant material) will work the best. You can make them into a linen spray, dab them on your hot points, add them to your bath, or put them in a diffuser.

Snack Time.
Food can be amazingly relaxing. It allows us to step back from the rest of the world and take a break. Make sure that you don't become dependent on food to relax, but taking a break now and then and enjoying some good food can be a great thing. Make sure you do it without doing other things at the same time, eat only when you are hungry, and take small amounts (especially if it is bad for you). Aiming for healthy snacks such as fruit can also be a good idea!

Bath Time.
Warm water is also a good way to relax and let the stress of life float away. Even if you are pressed for time, ten minutes in a hot bath can bring you some stress relief. Add bubbles, essential oils, herbs, candle light, beautiful music, and you are all set for the ultimate get-a-way right there at home. Plus you can spend as much time or as little time as you can afford to give it. Plus baths are good for men and women!

Letting go of the stress in our lives is often hard to do. But working toward a healthy lifestyle, getting lots of exercise, doing a little meditation, the occasional massage, sounds and scents, a little food, and a good bath every now and then is a great way to relax. Let go of your stress and enjoy life to its fullest.