How can I get through a stressful time?

Maybe you’re going through a divorce, or you’ve remarried and become a blended family with stubborn stepkids, or you have a capricious, explosive boss ... Whatever is going on, your confidence and self-esteem have plummeted and everyday irritants you’d normally blow off (cat hair on your best black pants, dead batteries in the remote) are getting to you at an alarming rate. Ideas to consider this week follow.

Take your mind off repeat. Sometimes problems swell into things that get out of control or look worse than they really are. And sometimes you just don’t give yourself enough credit: You may actually be dealing with your daily stresses just fine, but in your head things feel frantic. Take a step back. Try to see yourself from someone else’s eyes (anyone’s eyes—your lover’s, your gardener’s, Big Bird’s). You might see that you’re actually doing better than you think. In that case, take that mind off repeat.

Schedule a worry period. Okay, do you relish in worrying? Fine, worry away. But there’s a catch: Devote two periods a day to it. Give your worries full attention for fifteen to twenty minutes. Wallow in them in all their soul-sucking glory. Then stop. When they rise up again, tell yourself that you’ll address them during your next worry period. Now you’re in control over when worries can worry you.

Laugh it off. No joke, there’s something magical about laughter, even if it’s forced. Laugh off some of the day’s tensest moments. This is called self-generated laughter (versus cracking up at a comedian) and doing it regularly can make you more positive and optimistic. The reason’s pretty basic: The more you laugh, the better you feel.

Let go of the past. Happy memories can be blissful, but obsessing over bad ones doesn’t do any good. While learning from your mistakes can be productive, reliving them isn’t. Focus on the present because the best thing you can do for yourself right now is exactly what you’re doing with this vacation: de-stressing.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.