Stress is one of the most insidious maladies that can affect an individual. Whereas some stress can be beneficial at times, giving you the impetus to realize a dream or achieve a particular goal, extreme amount of stress can have negative consequences on your mental, physical and emotional well-being. In fact, several well-respected studies and researches have strongly linked chronic stress to numerous health complications such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, asthma flare-ups, headaches, restlessness, rheumatoid arthritis, drug dependency, chronic lower respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal problems, and obesity.

Even though avoiding stress in your life will require a lot of action and reflection, it will be worth it. Less stressed individuals tend to sleep better, have more positive outlook on life, and enjoy their everyday interactions. When you identify and learn to avoid the things that trigger stress, you will experience improvements in every aspect of your life. Read on for more on tips to help you avoid stress.

Recognize When You’re Stressed
Knowing what is likely to trigger stress in your life can help you shun such things in the future. Thus, ensure that you record those situations and events that make you stressful and see how you might deal with them in other ways in the future. You can even come up with a diary containing a list of times, places, and individuals that aggravate your stress levels. It could be that the morning traffic on your way to work sets everything off to a bad start. Or that a work colleague regularly stresses you at work. Whatever it is, you need to be able to identify it. Once you have a better sense of what triggers stress in your life, you can begin to make changes that will improve your overall life.

Try Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, muscle stretching and deep breathing can help you avoid stress. Not only do they boost your feelings of peace and tranquillity, but they also increase your ability to stay calm under pressure. Meditation, for instance, allows the body to relax and focus and can help you see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When meditating, you can release emotions that might have been stressing your body. Deep breathing, on the other hand, counters the effects of stress by lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate. Each day, make time to relax for at least an hour in the morning and in the evening before going to bed.

Don’t Over Commit
Learn your limits and set boundaries in both your personal and professional life. Never take on more than you can reasonably handle i.e. always know when to say 'it is enough’. Most people get stressed because they feel overcommitted and like they lack sufficient time to pursue their interests or spend time with their loved ones.

Connect With Others
Connecting with others can help melt the ice of stress within you. If something is bothering you, don’t keep it to yourself. Share whatever that is on your mind with the people you trust, like family, friends, and co-workers. When you share your feelings or concerns with another individual, it can help avoid stress. Even if you're not looking for specific advice, it usually feels good just to get your feelings out into the open. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective. Know when to seek help. If low self-esteem, depression or a particular social phobia is constantly dampening your desire to open up, then you may benefit from seeing a health professional.

Eat Right
There is a strong relationship between stress levels and a proper diet. Nourishing your body with healthy beverages and foods prepares your body to better cope with stress. Raw vegetables and fresh fruits are always good, and fish replete with omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to shun stress symptoms.

Maintain Positive Relationships
Maintaining healthy and valued personal relationships is beneficial in that it helps you find greater enjoyment in life and reduces conflicts. If you spend time with positive and encouraging individuals, you will feel better and consequently shun stress.

Get Sufficient Sleep and Exercise
Tired and fatigued individuals tend to experience more stress than fresh and energetic individuals. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep to allow your mind and body to rest.

It is well documented that exercise helps the body avoid both physical and mental stress. Find time to exercise for at least thirty-minutes three times a week. Consider fitness choices such as tai chi, yoga, and Pilate that get rid of pent-up stress and negativity.
You don’t have to live with stress. In fact, not only is stress unpleasant, but it is unhealthy. Try out the aforementioned tips for a healthy, stress-free life.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Frans Bouckenooghe, born in Roeselare, Belgium.
In 1980, I immigrated with my Rarotongan (Cook Islands) wife Tangata and two children to New Zealand.
I am a self employed Registered Building Surveyor. I identify and report on building defects. I love my work.
Besides work, I enjoy company of family and friends, travelling, writing and photography.

I believe that little can be accomplished in life without some investment in yourself. Keep fit, consume right, practice kindness, remain positive, and keep your curiosity up. Treat these things as similarly important to love and friendship and I think you have a much better chance to lead a happy life.

For more inspirational and motivational reading please visit my website and facebook page

Take care....................Frans