Stress is part of our daily lives.  In fact, some stress is good for you. Exercising, for example, puts your body under positive stress. When you “stress out” your muscles and your cardiovascular system through a vigorous workout, you look and feel better in the long run.  Some stressors, however—like catastrophic,  life-altering events—can negatively impact your physical well-being. Even something as simple as not getting enough sleep can put undue stress upon your body.

When possible, avoid negative stress.

Because stress can negatively affect your health, it’s important that you identify your daily stressors. Once you’ve done so, you can 1) work to eliminate them or 2) come up with ways to deal with them so that their negative impact is lessened.

Are relationships with others—at work or at home—making you tense? Maybe it’s time for an attitude change, an apology, some plain talk, or even professional counseling. Concerned about money? Worried about your kids? Even a new diet can add unwanted stress to your life!

Acknowledging the things that stress you out each day is the first step toward dealing with them. And you should! Maintaining high stress levels can have serious consequences for your long-term health.

Stress can adversely affect your well-being.

How does stress affect your health? It can play a role in decreased sex drive, it can increase the risk of asthma, and it can exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can also be a factor in a variety of other maladies, including ulcers, acne, weight gain, high blood pressure, hives, headaches, depression, infertility, and neck and back pain. When our bodies are stressed, our defenses are down, making it easier for us to fall prey to sickness.

Feeling stressed? Deal with it!

Of course, everyone deals with stress differently. A stressor that barely fazes your best friend may keep you tossing and turning all night long. To assess the amount of tension in your life, make a list of things that cause you anxiety. Are some of them controllable? If so, eliminate them once and for all. Why continue to make choices that add more tension to your already demanding life?

By reducing your daily number of negative stressors, you can lessen stress’s negative impact on your health. Since some negative stress is unavoidable, learn how to cope with it. Adopt tension-relieving activities, like regular exercise and meditation. If you do, you’ll be less likely to develop a stress-related illness—and that’s one less burden to bear.