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We all experience stress on some level and in actuality, stress can be healthy. It can be used as motivation when working under pressure. Too much stress however, can literally harm you…or someone else. Do you ever get to the point where you feel like you just want to give up? Do you ever feel like you are about to crack, snap, or blow up on somebody? Are you stressed out about bills and expenses, your children driving you crazy, your job, school, marriage, your living space, neighborhood or your health? Well, let me tell you, I don’t know your specific circumstances but it is probably not worth the jail time or giving yourself a heart attack over. Your body does not need cortisol running around affecting all of its systems and hurting your organs. If you get to that point, you probably need to try to chill and I don’t mean the way Nickelus F says it in S.T.R.E.S.S with Drake, “I got stress on my shoulders. Trying to keep my heart pure but this world is making it colder.” I mean chill like taking a break to relax, even if it’s just for two minutes.

How can you manage stress?

– Avoid It – If something or someone is stressing you out, leave. Just know though that there are always consequences to your actions. So if you choose to walk out on a stressful job, when you’re dead broke, you may regret walking away and end up being even more stressed. So before you go making permanent decisions due to temporary emotions, think about it and be wise first.

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– Know Your Triggers – Know what sets you off in the first place and try to work on handling them better.

– Say “No” – Don’t bite off more than we can chew because someone asked you for help. Just say “No”.

– Talk About It – Try not to keep things that are bothering you bottled up. If a person is stressing you out, communicate with them, peacefully.

Q-TIP – Quit Taking It Personal. When people have a problem with you, that becomes their problem. Don’t let it bother you. Everybody gets talked about.

– Change Your Perception – You missed the bus. Yeah, you may be late to work but you will also have some extra time to spend with yourself playing a game on your phone or writing your grocery list.
– Walk – Go out and walk around the block, get on a treadmill, or walk on a track. You can either stroll, speed walk or run. Whatever works for you. Trust me, doing any of those are better than busting someone in the face.
– Breathe – Breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Listen to your breath. Your body will benefit from the oxygen.
– Socialize – Call a friend. Meet for lunch. Sometimes, just being with someone can make you feel better, but don’t call anyone who has more problems than you do, will be judgmental and make you even more upset, or who just wants to be nosey and loves being all in your business.
– Get Some Nature – Take a blanket and go lay in the park. Check for dog poop first though because laying on dog poop can be very stressful and you know in the hood, there is dog poop all over. Go out at night and look at the stars. Don’t go straight home after work. Take the long way home and admire the sky, the leaves, the tunnel that has been built through the huge mountain or the small pond in the park.
– Forgive Them – There is no need to hold a grudge. If you can’t forgive them, then move on without them but don’t hold on to anger as if you are somehow hurting them because you are really hurting yourself.
– Make Love – Kissing releases endorphins. Those are feel good hormones.
– Laugh – Find someone that makes you laugh. You know the person who after you see them, you walk away with a smile and feel so much better?
– Music – Turn on some music. I wouldn’t recommend anything like DMX, ONYX or M.O.P. right now. You don’t need anything playing that will make you want to SLAM or brake things. Try something a little smoother like some Sade or Maxwell. Sit still and just relax. Or, you could listen to something else that you can dance and sing to. For this to work though, it has to be an upbeat song.
– Be Aggressive – It’s ok to be aggressive but only in a healthy way. Do not go outside knocking old people over because you’re made that your life ain’t right. That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about doing something that will allow you to be aggressive in a controlled environment like boxing, sparring of some sort, even taking a trip to the shooting range. Whatever you are doing, be safe and don’t hurt anyone. We don’t need anyone blowing up any buildings because they’re stressed out.
– Relax – Dim the lights. Take a nice shower or bath. Get a massage. Meditate. Adult coloring has become very popular as a way to counter stress, frustration and anger. Do whatever calms you down. Don’t worry. I won’t judge you.
– Art – Create something. Cook, bake or write a story or poem. If your a rapper, get your composition book out. If you’re an artist, grab some paint brushes. Creating something beautiful often helps to de-stress.
– Move – Get active. Get moving. Go to the gym or stay in your living room. Take a Zumba class or lift some weights.
– Help Someone – Helping someone can really make you feel good. So something kind.
– Eat Well – Don’t eat foods that will weigh you down or give you a sugar rush then a crash. Stay away from caffeine and sugar since they can alter your mood and energy. Have life giving foods like fresh fruits or vegetables.
– Prioritize Perfection – It’s ok for the children to eat sandwiches tonight if you have a paper due in the morning. They won’t starve and die. Hey, I’m alive. Of course, you want to feed your children healthy, balanced, nutritious meals but, one night won’t hurt them. Don’t worry, peanut butter is full of protein.

Be sure to take time to take care of yourself and de-stress. It’s like when you have to stop serving to go re-up. You come back better than before. In other words, you can’t possibly pour from an empty cup or serve what you don’t have. Save Self. Peace!