There’s going to be stress in your life. That’s a fact of life. While stress can sometimes be good, too much stress and anxiety can limit your ability to function and even harm your physical and emotional health.

These strategies can help you cope when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

Eat a healthy diet

During times of stress, you might find you crave certain foods like ice cream, pizza, and mac and cheese. Ultimately, that sugar rush and temporary junk food high won’t do your mood or your waist line any good.

The food you eat can and does impact your mood. Eating healthy, nutritious foods is a good defense against stress. Round out your meals with vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. You can handle stress better when you’re as healthy as possible.

Take a break

Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Make time for yourself and take a break every now and then, even if it’s just for a few hours a week. Get outside, get a massage, eat in your favorite restaurant, paint or just read a book. Do things that will make you happy. When you engage in activities that are both pleasurable and meaningful, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.

Connect with people

Reach out to family and friends and connect with them on a regular basis. Interacting with other people is one of the quickest, most efficient ways to calm your nerves. Talk to them and let them know what you’re going through. Even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the situation, having them by your side will help you feel safe and understood.

If you can’t talk to a family member, a friend or a partner, you can join a support group or call a helpline. At first, you might not feel comfortable discussing your problems in front of other people, but it really will help.

Get moving

We all know that exercise is good for our health. But not everyone is aware that engaging in regular physical activity can enhance self-esteem, improve mood, increase energy levels and reduce stress.  Plus, studies suggest that those who exercise regularly are 25% less likely to develop anxiety disorders.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, then get moving. It may not make your stress disappear in an instant, but it will help clear your thoughts and reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling; thus, allowing you to deal with issues more calmly and effectively.

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