Stress is something that comes with everyday life, and there are ways to manage stress so that it doesn't consume you. I am going to share with you some tips that can help you cope with stress and gain back your control.

Stress comes from the mind. It's based on our own perceptions and beliefs and filtered through fear, and when left out of control can cause significant mental and/or physical illness, so you need to look at ways of managing it.

Meditation, or stilling of the mind, significantly reduces stress and the detrimental effects on your mind and body and keep you in the present moment and free from anxiety. It is proven scientifically that even small amounts of meditation daily can cut down on the negative effects of stress. Quieting your mind will eliminate the thoughts and emotions that cause stress and increase your sense of peace.

- Take 3 deep breaths in through the nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale the breath slowly. After that just breathe in and out through the nose and bring your awareness back to your relaxed breathing.
- Sit or lie down comfortably and focus on your breath. Note how your inhalations come in through the nose and into the lungs, then note the exhalations and concentrate on the feeling. Observe whether the breaths are long or short, etc.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a great adjunct to meditation. It allows you to focus your mind on your body and keep you in the present moment, as well as increasing your awareness of where you hold your stress.

- Lie down in a comfortable position and with no distractions. Close your eyes.
- Start with your feet and toes and just flex them back and forth stretching and tensing your feet and toes muscles.
- Do this for 15-20 seconds and then relax them. Note any pain that you feel associated with this (you hold stress in the places where pain exists)
- Do this twice for each part of your body in isolation from the rest of the parts (feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, lower back, upper back, shoulders, hands, wrists, forearms, upper arms, neck, jaw, eyes, face, forehead and top of head)
- Tense and relax each area and you will easily be able to feel yourself relax and be aware of which muscle groups you were tensing and be able to release the stress from that place.

When something comes up for you that creates stress (a stressor), ask yourself the following questions:

- Is there anything I can do about it now?
- Can I manage or change the stressor now?

Maybe not, but you can change the way in which you view it. Remember that stress comes from your perceptions, based on your beliefs, and you can change those.

- Do not "worry" about the cause of your stress. "Worry" is a useless emotion and only increases stress and irrational thoughts, as well as preventing you from finding options or taking action.
- Try to look at the stressor objectively, that is to say, without your personal beliefs, perceptions, and emotions attached.
- Break it down into smaller more manageable parts and set out a plan to deal with each piece.
- Elicit the help of someone you trust, this may aid in brainstorming options that you may not have thought about previously.

You need to take care of your mental health because your mind is what drives everything you do and if it breaks down, every aspect of your life will be affected. Seek out professional help if needed. There is no stressful situation that cannot be managed. It's up to you to take the lead in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Hitchcock Author of "Give Your Head a Shake... and change your life for the better" is a Stress Management and Spiritual Coach with over 13 years of counselling and spiritual experience. Cheryl enables her clients to manage, as well as eliminate stress and related problems. She also conducts seminars and workshops that cater to Stress Management and Spirituality. For more information please visit and receive her free ebook "How to Overcome Depression without Medication".