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When we think of our health, usually the first things that come to mind are eating the right foods,
exercising daily, limiting alcohol, no smoking, etc. etc. Rarely do we really give thought to how
impactful stress can be on our overall health. Over the years, I have come to realize this and am working hard to keep my daily worries and stresses to a minimum. Not always easy, given
the busy life I live, but so imperative to my mental and physical being. If I focus on my goals and priorities and not let every little unplanned event impact my day negatively, it helps to keep
the stress levels down. In other words, I try not to “sweat the small stuff”.

One of the secrets for me to reducing stress every day is to recognize from the minute I get up in the morning that there are things I have to accomplish, things I would like to accomplish, and things that would just make my day the best it can possibly be. I prioritize in writing my goals
for the day in order to get done what has to be done. Things rarely go as planned. College life
is unpredictable. There are always temptations to break away from even the best planned day.
Small things can become big things if I let them.

Stress has impacted my health many times in the past. When I let it take over my life, the overflow of residual side effects is overwhelming. In high school, I connected this to many
of my health issues. If I stayed up worrying about tests and let it impact my sleep, it was
predictable that I would get a cold. If I let myself become overwhelmed with school, dance,
performances, etc., I almost always ended up with stress affecting my GI tract, one way or
the other. Headaches, skin breakouts, bloating,,,,it just seemed that there was a huge connection between my life stress levels and my health.

Today, while I still struggle with stress and all of these issues, I am learning to make a concerted effort to minimize my concerns over the things that truly don’t have much long-term impact on my life. When I really break it down to what is causing my stress, I inevitably am able to apply my common sense and say to myself “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”……and I can breathe once
again;)

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