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5 Tips to Handle Stress

Kelly Ballard

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Each of us confronts stress every day, and how we choose to deal with this has a direct affect on our happiness and well-being. Often our emotions cloud our ability to make good decisions and unwittingly we continue a negative pattern of stress-management. Use these five easy suggestions to improve your capacity to handle the stressful events that come your way and begin living more contently today. . .

1. Breathe. When stressful events occur, often our first response involves an involuntary level of panic; blood may rush to our faces, stomachs drop, breathing quickens. . . By stopping yourself and focusing your attention on three deep breaths, this allows all of your senses and self to become fully present in the situation. From this present place, better decisions are made. Clarity is achieved when you can detach from an emotional, automatic response and shift to a perspective of ration and reason.

2. Don't blame - including yourself! No matter how you slice it - here you are and there is something for you to learn right now - what is it? Here's a hint; it's all about you. How someone else is behaving may not be appropriate, but strip the extras away and it is still all about you. Instead of pointing fingers at any one else or even yourself, what do you need to do right now? What is your part and how can you make it better today? (Warning: be careful not to fall into victim thinking - “I'm so bad" - that it keeps you from moving forward. It's not about blame, but opportunity. )

3. Ask for help/support. If you are feeling stressed, sometimes one of the best things you can do is seek the counsel of a wise friend, therapist or spiritual advisor. An outside perspective can illuminate personal blind spots that may be tripping you up over and over. . .

4. Stay present and flexible - don't spin out. A thinking mind can be a dangerous thing - imagining the worst-case-scenarios can be almost intoxicating to obsess over, but stop yourself. It is likely none of these worst-cases will come to pass and you have wasted all that time and energy as to be prepared - just in case the worst-case happens then you'll know what to do. . . Stop. These are future concerns, shift back to what can I do right now and keep your options open. Rigid thinking of “if this happens, then. . . " traps you in repeating the same cycles over and over.

5. Focus on your desired outcome. It is very easy to identify want you don't want, but shift your focus to what you do want or how you would like your reality to be. Whether you are having difficulty in a relationship, with money, family, it doesn't matter - spend a few minutes each day thinking about how you would like your relationship to feel, or what it would feel like to have enough money, love. . . Your thoughts have power. When you change your thoughts, you change your life - new doors open and opportunities appear. . . Try this for a week and watch the surprises bloom.

Of course, the most essential tool and what frames all of these tips, is an unshakable sense of humor. I am the first to say I have a gallows humor, but it has served me well to laugh at myself and the ridiculous situations I have found myself in at times - completely of my own making. Just remember - if it doesn't kill you, well then I guess you're not dead. . . or the other answer, you GROW stronger.

Kelly Ballard is a workshop leader, Intuitive Guide and Healer. Through workshops, private sessions and guided meditations Kelly specializes in helping others discover positive solutions for immediate change/growth in their lives thus drawing their most abundant life into reality. Find out more information about her services and meditation CDs at Contact her directly at 720-984-4232 or email She lives in Boulder, CO.


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