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Step 5: Stress Management Strategies

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, no matter who you are, where you are, or what you have accomplished in life, no one is immune from stress’ blood boiling knock on their door. Once you realize that literally EVERY single person in this world has stressors chasing them daily, then you can start to understand how managing your stress is one of the most important investments you can make in your every day life. You may see some people on TV, listen to them on the radio, or know someone in person who is always bright and bubbly and think “man I wish I had their life it must be so great and easy” when in reality you have no idea the stresses they face every day. What I can tell you is that they understand the importance of finding healthy outlets to manage this unwanted pressure.

Take me for instance. The way I used to deal with all my stresses was to become angry and lash out at those around me, drink alcohol in an attempt to escape my unhappy reality, blame other people for my current situation, rinse and repeat. Does this sound very healthy to you? Does this sound like someone you would want to look up to, hang out with, take advice from, or share your life with? For the love of God, I sure hope not. I still don’t have the perfect recipe for preventing stress all together, but I have learned healthier alternatives to keep my stress to a minimum.

The absolute biggest stress buster for me, is busting my ass in the gym. If I have a stressful day (which in my profession comes more often than I would like to admit), I use that frustration, irritability, and sometimes anger to fuel my workout. I turn that negative into a positive for my body and mind, and let me tell you it has completely changed my life. Some of my most difficult weeks have provided me the most growth in my fitness routine.

Although I recommend everyone have some fitness routine in some form or another, it may not be the most stress relieving process for you, and that’s ok. There are PLENTY of other healthy alternatives out there that you will be able to decide more so than anyone else. During really stressful times in my life, I can’t always outlift my problems, and that’s when I turn to my loved ones (especially my dogs). They are always happy to greet me at the door no matter how many times I failed that day. Sometimes, the greatest relief can come in the form of a long outdoor walk in a new place, with nothing on my mind but the beauty of the world around me and the excitement on my dog’s face after smelling that new bush that someone must have previously peed on.

The message here, is to find something that brings you true joy whether it’s setting new PR’s in the gym, exploring new places with your pet, whipping up a mean new dish in the kitchen, losing yourself in a new movie, curling up on your porch with a great novel, or SOMETHING that will leave you in a better place than when you started. Don’t let stress limit your growth, and please don’t let it shorten your life. The world needs you because you are the only YOU we've got.