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Do You Know How To Stay Positive During Difficult Times?

The newspapers, media, and magazines have been full of all varieties of bad news for many months----deaths of icons, foreclosures, Ponzi schemes for millions, wars, highest unemployment in years----just to name a few. With this onslaught of terrifying news, how do people stay centered, optimistic, and happy? Here are a few ideas that may help you avoid the feelings of being stressed, overwhelmed, and anxiety ridden.

1.Limit Your News Intake. If reading three newspapers a day, and eating dinner in front of the evening news on television is making you anxious, then stop. Psychological research has shown that people who do not regularly read the news have lower levels of anxiety than those who are news junkies.

2.Organize Your Life. Sometimes stress can be caused by having too many things to do within a specific amount of time. You will find it easier to tackle the chores and necessities of life by using organizational skills. Make a list of everything you need to do and prioritize the activities into groups of things that need to be done now, can wait until later, or could be done sometime in the future. Once the items are put onto the list, do not think about them again until you are ready to complete the specific chore.

3.Take Down Time. Even if you have been working long hours, waiting in lines, and running around at the speed of light to get everything accomplished, you still need to take some time to rest. A short nap of 30 minutes, a meditation session, reading a favorite magazine, or watching a movie can provide the change of focus and mental down time to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

4.Get Regular Exercise. There are many benefits to regular exercise for your physical health, but exercise is also important for your mental health. During exercise, endorphins and serotonin are released into your body which gives you naturally good feelings. If you exercise regularly, your body will look and feel better and stronger, and many risk factors for diseases will be reduced. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, and you will be smiling!

5.Laugh More. The more people laugh, the better they feel. Both medical and psychological research has shown that people with a good sense of humor, and those who laugh more frequently, feel better and have less anxiety and fewer illnesses. Even just smiling has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression.

6.Leave Some Unscheduled Times. Since stress is often caused by not being able to meet your own expectations, it would be prudent to give yourself the gift of time. It is important to have time available to see friends, play with animals, and do spontaneous activities. If you spend your entire weekend doing chores and work, you will feel tired and drained during the next week. If you spend some time doing enjoyable activities, you will be refreshed and ready for the next challenges.

7.Forgive and Forget. It has been known for decades that holding uncomfortable feelings and anger inside of you causes depression, anxiety, stress, and unhappiness. Make a list of the people or situations that are still causing you to have anger and disappointment. If the situations have passed and the person is gone from your life, let them go and do not think of them again. What is in the past is done and can only be used as a learning experience. If the people or situations are current in your life, make plans to either work through the issues with the person, or decided to get them out of your life. Let go of the people, things, and situations that are not serving your best intentions, purpose, and lifestyle.

8.Try Counseling. As with most feelings, when anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed become severe enough as to restrict your activities or to make you despondent on a regular basis, it would help to speak with a counseling professional. Prolonged anxiety and stress can cause physical and mental health issues, and you may benefit by working through these issues and having support from a professional in the counseling field.

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