Many clients seek massage for stress relief. But even those in the business of providing relaxation can suffer from pressure, fear and frustration—in a word, stress.

Chronic, unchecked stress can wreak havoc on your health. It increases your risk of colds and infection, insomnia, digestive problems, obesity, skin problems, asthma attack, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

The good news is that while stressful situations will always arise, you can do much to control your reaction to them, and learn how to be proactive in reducing the amount of stress in your life.

Try these strategies and see if your stress subsides a bit.

Shed the Superwoman/Superman mask: No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Instead ask, “What really needs to be done?”

Meditate: Just 10-20 minutes a day can provide enough of a break from your day to regain perspective and to recharge.

Visualize: Imagine how you can handle a stressful situation more easily, and focus on that image.

Break it down: The best way to cope with being overwhelmed is to break tasks down into smaller components, focus on one at a time, and complete it before moving on to the next one.

Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.

Hobbies: Take a break from your worries to do something you truly enjoy.

Share feelings: Connect to friends and family.

Be flexible: If trying to make something work is causing undue stress, try another tactic.

Source: National Mental Health Association

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