For many people, stress is a lifestyle. While you can probably never completely eliminate stress, Dr. Kathleen Hall says you can dramatically improve the quality of your life with some simple yet effective stress-busting techniques. Jean talks with Dr. Hall, an internationally recognized stress and work-life balance expert, about her tips for dealing with stress, which she sums up with this easy-to-remember acronym:
A.C.E. Your Life:
- Awareness: Before you can tackle stress, understand what is causing you grief and what gives you joy. Jot down which people, places and things give you energy and make you smile, Dr. Hall says. Then, document the things that bring you down. Communicate your findings with family members and encourage them to do the same to build mutual support and understanding, she says.
- Choice: After you've taken stock of the major sources of stress in your life, know that you have the power of choice, Dr. Hall says. Ask yourself "What can I get rid of?" "What do I need to focus on?" and "How can I build my life around what gives me life?" Learn to say no, set boundaries and give yourself permission to get rid of the negative aspects of your life," she says.
- Energy: Stress can wear away at health and happiness, so it's important to break the negative cycle of stress with more positive energy, Dr. Hall says. The key is to take baby steps. "Change one little thing—do something more about what you love, and in a week, notice the change in your energy and your experience," she says. "What that does is it gives you courage to take a bigger step."