Stress is something we all experience. Your lifestyle can add to stress or it can help calm you down. What are you doing to reduce stress in your life? Evaluate your lifestyle by answering these five questions. Are there things you can change today that would make you feel better? The answer is probably,” Yes!”

Five lifestyle questions to ask:

1. Do I have effective ways of relaxing? We all need down time. Therefore, identify ways to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. Relaxation isn’t something you do once a year on a cruise to the Bahamas (although this can’t hurt). Relaxing should be a regular, practiced part of your life. You need balance in all things. Even God rested on the seventh day! Relaxation keeps stress from building up and provides an avenue for releasing tension.

2. Do I exercise regularly? So many of us know the importance of this but don’t do it. The benefits of exercise are enormous. Exercise can reduce muscle tension and frustration in addition to providing a host of medical helps. So why don’t we regularly exercise? Either we don’t have a moment to fit it in our day or we don’t enjoy it. The solution is to make time and pick something you like. For example, I tried running. I gave it six months, did it six days a week and hated it. I am not a runner but put me on a pair of roller blades and I can have a good time. Find something you like--bike riding, dancing, skating, basketball, tennis, skiing, walking, ping pong--anything that gets you active and off that couch.

3. Do I eat sensibly? I’m not talking dieting here. I’m asking if you eat good healthy foods that provide nutrition and health benefits. Do you skip meals, eat burgers in the car while talking on your cell phone, and find yourself at the drive-through regularly? Decrease your caffeine intake (can trigger panic), reduce salt, eat more organic and less processed foods, and eat foods that give energy and staying power. Get the vitamins and supplements you need, particularly B, C and calcium for women.

4.How well do I manage my time? So many people spend energy on things that are unproductive or take too much of their time. Learn about time management and ways to maximize your efforts. If you are not meeting deadlines, procrastinate or obsess over a project, you need help. Some people have to learn to move things along, others to slow down and do things correctly. You only have so much time in a day so it is important to learn to prioritize and be realistic about goals.

5. Do I get enough sleep? Sounds like a simple question but so many clients I see have terrible sleep habits. It is important to go to bed at a regular time and get into a sleep routine. This means start winding down a few hours before you go to sleep. Here’s an encouraging thought--sex usually helps people sleep (Use only if this morally applies!).

Take a minute (don’t tell me you are too stressed!) and begin to ask these questions. Then, work on making simple but important lifestyle changes.