In today’s world where we struggle to balance work, family, and finances, stress can sometimes feel like the most prevalent thing in our life. Weighing heavily on our shoulders, stress captures us in its grip as we fall victim to the myriad of physical and emotional repercussions.

While a small amount of stress can be a healthy – even motivational – tool to help us achieve our goals and meet deadlines, long term and consistent stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. Learning how to manage stress can mean the difference between a happy, healthy life and a life of poor health and mental exhaustion.

Learning how to manage stress can mean very different things to different people; but the fundamentals are the same. Stress keeps us in a constant state of hyper-vigilance; our bodies are on edge; our minds racing. If we do not learn to carve out our own downtime, we will simply burn out.

Instead, manage stress by exploring those activities or hobbies that make you feel relaxed and happy. Take time every day to engage in these activities. Even a small amount of time in this relaxed state will go a long way towards rejuvenating our bodies and minds. To that end, regularly scheduled vacations or short mini-breaks are an excellent way to manage stress.

Those who manage stress successfully report that a consistent exercise program helps lessen the effects of stress enormously. Specifically, those forms of exercise that promote a strong mind/body connection – such as yoga – are especially beneficial to reducing stress.

Others manage stress by ensuring that they remain committed to a healthy sleep program. Retiring to bed at the same time every night and allowing yourself at least eight hours of sleep will make certain that your body is given the proper time to refuel.

In an effort to manage stress, reach out to the larger community for support. Experts agree that strong relationships where partners are supported emotionally are extremely important in managing stress. If you don’t have a relationship – either platonic or romantic – in which you feel comfortable sharing, then reach out on a wider scale. There is a vast community online where you can access resources to help you manage stress.

When you manage stress, in essence you manage your health. Stay committed to maintaining a balance in your life; in doing so you will ensure health and happiness for years to come.

CBC has a new address: 1305 Fowler St., Suite 1C Richland, WA 99352