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What's the one thing I can do every day to manage stress?

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Updated October 23, 2012

What's the one thing I can do every day to manage stress?

Daily exercise, like a morning walk, can be great for daily stress relief.

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Question: What's the one thing I can do every day to manage stress?
"I know that there are many ways to relieve stress, but I need a simple stress relief plan. What's the one thing I should do every day to relieve stress?"
Answer: There are many, many causes of stress, as well as different ways to relieve it. It's understandable that you'd want a 'magic bullet' of stress relief--one thing that you can do every day to relieve the stress of the daily grind. And having one daily stress relief habit will make a significant difference in the level of stress you feel. The catch? That one thing may be different for everyone. While daily stress relievers aren't one-size-fits-all, there are a few categories of stress reliever that work especially well for many people:
  • Journaling: Research shows that there are many benefits to journaling, in terms of both physical and emotional health, making it a good time investment that can fit conveniently into a morning or evening schedule, or can even be integrated into many people's work day. You have many options on how to organize your journal; here are some guidelines for a successful journaling practice.
  • Meditation: Meditation can take many forms, and is found in virtually all cultures as a healthy and even spiritual practice. Whether you meditate for five minutes or an hour, you reap a wide range of benefits by being consistent and making it a daily practice. Here's more on the benefits of meditation, and on different types of meditation.
  • Exercise: Health researchers recommend a daily dose of exercise for optimum health and the avoidance of conditions such as cancer and obesity, and exercise is also a great stress reliever. For those who go to spin class, walk the dog in the morning, or find other ways of working physical activity into their day, there are health benefits on many fronts.
  • Music: Hospitals and therapists are using music for it's health-enhancing properties, and you can use it to relieve stress. There are many ways to work music into your day, and you'll find some great stress management benefits if you do. (For example, playing your favorite music during your commute can relieve stress and have you feeling better when you arrive.)
Here are some additional resources that can help you make stress management easier and more targeted toward your needs.
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