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How To Choose A Stress Management Habit And Stick With It

The First Step To Sticking With A New Healthy Habit is Choosing The Right One!

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Updated January 02, 2014

How To Choose A Stress Management Habit And Stick With It

Choosing the right activity for you is very important! ©iStockphoto.com

Photo from iStockPhoto.com
Whether you’re looking for health benefits, less stress in your life, or just the enjoyment of something you do for yourself, there are many reasons why maintaining at least one regular stress management practice is worth your time. However, there’s a difference between wanting to take on some stress relief habits and actially maintaining these habits on a regular basis. Sometimes maintaining a new healthy habit is harder than it seems. Fortunately, there are a few tricks that can make it easier to maintain a new healthy habit. The easiest way to stick with a new habit—as well as the first step toward making that habit a regular part of your life—is to choose wisely. If you want to make it easy to stay with a healthy habit, it must be something you enjoy, and something that fits well with who you are. Here are some things to consider:

Choose Something Simple:

Unless you’re really ready for a challenge, don’t take on something meant to relieve stress that will actually end up causing you excessive stress as you attempt to master it! For example, if certain types of yoga seem too difficult to take on right now, don’t force it. Choose something easier, like walking; you can always switch to yoga or add it to your routine as you become less stressed and more ready to take on a new healthy habit.

Pick A Habit That Compliments Your Lifestyle:

If you’re not a morning person and find yourself struggling to make it on time to the office as it is, don’t choose a morning workout as your new stress management habit; you’ll find it too difficult to maintain. Likewise, if you get exhausted by nighttime, perhaps a meditation session right before bedtime isn’t the best choice for you; you may be too tired to stay awake for more than a couple minutes of it! And if you have small children that you care for full-time, it would be much easier for you to pop them in a stroller and go for a power walk than to attempt a practice that requires privacy, silence, or even your full attention for very long unless you have someone who can watch them for you for a little while. Instead of forcing something that doesn’t fit with your circumstances, look at your lifestyle and see where you have the most ‘space’ for something new, and see what would fit well there.

Work With Your Strengths:

If you’re a very verbal person, perhaps journaling would be right up you alley. If you have a creative imagination, guided imagery could be just what you’re looking for. If you’re already trying to lose weight, an exercise-based stress reliever would be great, whereas it might not be so useful for someone with certain physical limitations. Looking at your strengths and weaknesses, and finding a stress reliever that fits with them, is one of the most important steps in choosing a new stress management practice.

Once you’ve carefully looked at yourself and your needs, choosing the right new healthy habit will be much easier. And once you’ve chosen a stress management practice that fits well with your lifestyle and that you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with your new healthy habit. For a list of new stress management practices you may want to try, visit the following pages:

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