Stress plays a major role in your everyday life, whether it is good or bad. It can release adrenaline that we need to get through nerve wrecking presentations, and help us amp up for the big game, but it can also have a negative effect on your life. Many Canadians suffer from negative effects of stress and it can show in a variety of signs and symptoms including constant worrying, moodiness, difficulty sleeping, chest pain, changed eating patterns and isolation from friends and family.

If stress is left untreated the signs and symptoms may progress, taking further impact on your life. Here are several ways you can help lower your stress levels:

Be Aware
It is extremely important to recognize your symptoms and stress triggers as they give you the first clue that something needs your attention. Denying the situation is never helpful. Once you notice symptoms of stress think of what might have brought them on; this varies from person to person but it could be as simple as a big work meeting, or something more complicated such as moving to a new country, relationship difficulties, or a loss in one’s life.

Take Time
Many people tend to think of others first and forget about themselves. By not taking time for yourself you’re actually harming both your physical and mental wellbeing. Doing something as simple as meditating, focused breathing, reading a new book, taking a bubble bath or watching a movie by yourself can truly do wonders to a bad day and your stress levels.

Think Positive
Have you ever heard the saying “to be positive you have to think positive”?
Well, it’s true. In order to live a more positive life you have to want to be more positive.

This can be difficult considering that your brain has built-in negativity bias. In other words “the brain is like the Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones” (Hanson, Just One Thing).You may try, however to find one positive aspect out of everything and every situation and let yourself feel good about it. Overtime you will notice a change in your outlook on life.

 Improve Your Health
Stress can have a big impact on your physical health. Although many people turn to food for comfort, this can actually do more harm than good. Eating bad fats and bad carbs can make you feel tired and sluggish. Turning to alcohol, drugs or other addictive behaviour doesn’t help either. Improve your health by making a conscious effort eat well, have enough sleep and include some physical activities into your daily routine, even if it is something simple such as yoga or walking.

By implementing the above tips you may soon notice you start to feel better overall. Stress can take over a person’s life, but it doesn’t have to.