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8 Ways to Beat Stress in 2013

Is your New Year's resolution to de-stress already stressing you out? Here are some tips to help you unwind.

2013 will bring lots of New Year's resolutions, and the stress of keeping them along with it.  

Dr. Megan Hood, a clinical psychologist with an expertise in stress management at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, said trying to attain a more stress-free existence is a pretty popular goal around the holidays and the new year.

But staying away from stress is not as simple as making a New Year’s Eve wish.

“That tends to be a common goal, a nice broad goal,” Hood said. “But it also tends to be challenging.”

Still, Hood has some tips to keep stress at bay.

  • Enjoy the moment. Don’t always rush ahead to the next thing, Hood cautions. Take a second to just enjoy the small things in life: a catchy song playing, a nice smell or something positive going on around you.
  • Plan ahead—when you can. Having plans and maintaining schedules is a good thing, but make your goals manageable and realistic, and don’t worry about anything out of your control, Hood says.
  • Be active. Plan an activity with your family that doesn’t involve vegging out on the couch, Hood advises. Johns Creek's Ocee and Newtown parks and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve offer chances to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Have healthy snacks available. In accordance with your overall health, be sure to eat foods that are good for you, especially after splurging on holiday food.
  • Do something that makes you feel good. The holidays involve giving gifts to others, but don’t forget about yourself when they are over. Hood recommends participating in whatever brings a smile to your face, whatever you enjoy, especially social groups or activities. Check out our events calendar for art workshops, dance classes, etc.
  • Volunteer. Helping people helps us feel positive and better about ourselves, Hood says. North Fulton Community Charities is a great place to start.
  • Take deep, short breaths. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. When you trick your body into relaxing, the mind and the thoughts follow, Hood explains.
  • Expect the best. Always be positive, Hood adds. If you intentionally expect good things and good results, you’ll probably get them.

TELL US: How do you de-stress? Are you resolving to stress less in 2013?

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