Stress, we deal with it every day. Some stress is good, too much stress and you can end up with a serious medical problem. So you may be wondering, “What’s the deal with the title?” Let me tell you a story… About a month ago I had to go to the dentist because I had a small chip in one of my teeth. It was a simple repair and as we’re talking my dentist tells me two things. One, as we get older our teeth begin show the signs of all the work we’ve put them through. Two, and get this, beginning in 2016 my dentist has seen an increase in tooth damage due to grinding and/or clenching the teeth together. I wonder what event could have happened in 2016 that may have led to this increase in dental damage? Oh, that’s right, the election and the outcome. I’m not taking sides, regardless of who won the election there would be an increase in stress in a large number of the American population. My point is there has been an increase in stress levels beginning with the political circus of 2016 and it will most likely continue for quite some time as the media continues to divide instead of help the situation. The big question is, “What can you do to help reduce your stress level for your health and well-being?” Here’s a few tips to put into practice to help you bring your stress level down a few notches. 1. Make a decision to choose your battles wisely. You will not change a person’s beliefs by ranting or attacking on Facebook (or any other online media). If you have something you are deeply passionate about I encourage you to find a way to get involved (not rioting, creating blockades, screaming at people, etc.). Volunteer, learn about the issues and work to change things in a positive way. 2. Realize there are some things you cannot change. But know this, you can choose how you will respond. Let’s use a simple example. If you drive it is very likely you will encounter a traffic jam. Why is the traffic backed up? Could be an accident, maybe it’s car trouble, perhaps it’s a slow driver in the fast lane, it could be a sunshine slow down. Doesn’t really matter why the traffic is backed up, it just is. That’s part of driving on the roadways. What does matter is how you choose to respond. You can yell, scream and stress out (not a good option). You can run the other person off the road (also not a good option). You can acknowledge the fact that traffic is at a stand-still, you’re not going to get to your destination as quickly as you planned; so find some good music, engage in pleasant conversation with your passengers about something other than the traffic, work on your stand-up routine, simply focus on something positive. These are techniques involved in mindfulness. Be in the moment without judgement and lower your stress level. 3. Take a few deep breaths. Exhale slowly. Picture in your mind that as you exhale any and all negative thoughts, feelings, etc. are leaving your body and mind with the breath as it leaves your body. 4. Learn and practice self-hypnosis. It’s simple, effective and you can use it anywhere to help lower the stress in your life. 5. Talk with someone who can help. Stress can lead to all sorts of mental and physical problems. Don’t assume that everything is caused by stress. If you’re experiencing mental or physical symptoms, pain or other problems, check with your doctor to make sure it’s not something that needs medical attention. After that, consult with a professional who can help you learn techniques to lower your stress level and help you live a more peaceful, happy life. If you’re stressed over your present situation and would like to learn how to reduce that level of stress, a Certified Hypnotist is a good person to contact. I would be happy to talk to you about the stress in your life and work with you to help you feel better (and maybe save you a trip to the dentist).