There are many reasons to avoid stress – From the health challenges stemming from stressful situations to the drain stressful people have on your mood, and everything in between. Stress causes weight loss, weight gain, bad skin, anxiety, depression, and… it robs your joy!

Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Many things bring joy. A baby’s smile or a perfectly cooked steak. The companionship of a loved one or a great bottle of wine. Making a difference through volunteerism and participating in your favorite outdoor activity – the opportunities for joy are endless but stress is a thief of joy.

When you are stressed, you are preoccupied with the very real symptoms. From physical ailments to mental health issues, both can be caused by stress. Having a painful body or clouded mindset detracts from what’s working in your life. It’s harder to see the joy when you are stressed out.

Some stress is inevitable. You simply can’t control everything about your life. It’s unrealistic to think you can avoid or prevent stress altogether – but that doesn’t mean it has to take over and rob you of your joy. There are things you can do to prevent or manage the stress in your life.

Prevention is key.

Preventing stress is key whenever possible. Sometimes our actions – or lack of actions – contribute to the amount of stress we endure. Wherever possible, prevent stress with these tips:

  • Plan and be organized.
  • Avoid people and activities that lead to consistent stress.
  • Keep a schedule that is manageable and limit too many activities.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat right.
  • Foster healthy relationships

Management helps too.

If stress is unavoidable, managing it is the second-best thing to prevention. There are things you can do in stressful situations to keep a level head and cope with stress.

  • Manage stress with these tips:
  • Get clear on what stresses you out about the situation.
  • Use clear boundaries and communication to advocate for yourself and others.
  • Limit the time spent in stressful situations.
  • Limit the people in your life who cause stress.
  • Consider changes that will reduce your stress load.
  • Use breathing techniques.
  • Try yoga or another form of exercise to alleviate stress.

Though you can’t avoid all stress, you can keep it from robbing all your joy. From prevention to management, be committed to reducing or limiting your stress levels so you can see the joy in life.