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Handling Stress and Creating Well-Being

Over the last two years, a common topic that comes up from residents is how to manage feelings of being overwhelmed and emotionally upset. Long-term, the pressure of these feelings can create stress that manifests differently in each of us. It can be physical effects such as trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, muscle tension, or emotional effects like sadness, anxiety, or irritability. Because we all handle stress differently, it is important to remember our feelings are valid, and things will not always be as intense as they seem and feel.

If you’re looking to decrease your stress levels, try focusing on what you want, instead of the things causing stress. For example, when I felt overwhelmed by events going on in the world, I stopped watching the news and spent more time walking in nature, watching comedies, and spending time with people I enjoy.

This isn’t an example of ignorance is bliss; I stopped a practice that was unhealthy for me and introduced practices that brought me joy. Slowly, I became less agitated over people and events I had no control over and became more hopeful. Now when I notice my agitation or negative thoughts, I shift my focus to what brings me harmony and enjoyment. Keeping up with current events is still something I do, but I limit the amount I take in.

Another helpful practice is to ask yourself, “what do I want to see more of in the world?” Then use your creativity to bring more of that into your life. This is a good way to spread good will and the Masonic tenet of brotherly love. This is also how we establish healthy habits in general. It takes commitment to stop ourselves when we focus too much on what we don’t want. When you notice yourself doing that, shift your thinking to what you want to create. Using creativity to discover new things and make new habits can be fun and extremely rewarding.

This is the spirit of New Year, New Action; identify what you want more of at Acacia Creek and look for ways to create it and discover people to create it with. We are lucky to be part of this community family. There are so many people to get to know by discovering things we are interested in and what we have in common, as well as learning from our differences and backgrounds. It’s a matter of taking the time to put yourself out there, talk to people, ask questions, and get to know them better. It is also about knowing what you need and taking care of yourself with actions that bolster your own wellbeing. Make the commitment to do something each day that makes you feel good about yourself. This is how to remove stress from our lives, maintain healthy well-being, and build a better community.

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