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Develop a Mind of Steel


Let’s be honest, as fun as they are, the holidays are never easy on the nerves. Travel, in-laws, shopping and year-end work deadlines—the list of stresses that come up this time of year stretches for miles.

Add in a dose of tough economy and it can become much more difficult to work through all of life’s glitches. That’s why, when attempting a complete makeover, it becomes so important to focus on your mind as well as your body. A solid prospective on life will make you more productive, more relaxed and most importantly, much happier.

Here’s where to start:

Make a list. Figure out the sources of your stress and worries, and write them down. This list does not have to be exhaustive by any means. It should  just be what comes to mind. Chances are, the first few that pop into your head are the ones that need your attention most. Figure out which of these you can take care of today, which ones may take weeks or months, and which you can’t change. Develop a plan and a time frame to fix the first two. Accept what you cannot change.

Don’t dwell. Work on not wishing things were different or how they used to be. Practice letting go of thinking about the future. Practice being in this moment. Have the courage to accept your life or your situation.

Observe yourself. Look in the mirror, so to speak. Notice how your thoughts change when you are stressed. What happens to your body?  Maybe you can feel your shoulders rise up around your ears. Maybe you clench your jaw. Maybe your head starts to pound.
How are your relationships affected when you are stressed? Do you isolate yourself or move into a self-protective mode? Being honest with yourself is extremely important.

Change some habits. Work to improve other areas of your life that can lead to vulnerability to stress. Eat better, sleep regular hours, exercise, don’t overindulge with alcohol, be positive, etc. If your surroundings and habits are healthier, your mind will be, too.

Andrea Bellman Kareus, a Louisville-based licensed clinical social worker (720.394.2741)

So check out these great tips, then email us by Jan. 15 for a chance to win the services of these professionals. Be sure to explain why you are the person who deserves these great services.
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