Now that you've identified your stress triggers in Step 1, it's time to brainstorm ways to eliminate whatever sources of stress you can -- and learn healthy ways to cope with those you can't.
Find a quiet place where you can sit and be alone for at least 30 minutes. Using your Stress-Relief Road Map, a stress journal, or your online blog, write down your plan to deal with your main causes of anxiety. To keep your priorities in order, start with one major goal in each area of your life, made up of several mini goals to help you get there one step at a time.
Need help getting started? The following slides will help you ask the right questions and set realistic goals.
Assess the amount of work you take home (and the amount of non-work-related issues you deal with on the job) and decide what boundaries you'll set in place. How much work will you allow yourself to do outside of the office? What times or places are strictly off-limits?
When setting these goals, consider what you can realistically handle and, if needed, discuss them with your boss, your coworkers, and your family and friends. In a society where we're all just a phone call or email away, it's important that everyone understands what rules you've put in place and what sacrifices you're willing to make.
Think about your relationship with money: Chances are it's causing you some type of stress -- whether it's worries about making payments on time, anxiety about long-term savings, or apprehension about the way in which you're spending.
Often our concerns about money stem from a lack of control. Setting aside even just an hour a week to take a closer look at your financial situation can help you make necessary adjustments and put your mind at ease.
When relationships are good, they can be our savior from stress: Our friends and family provide the physical and emotional support we need when the going gets tough. But when they're bad -- or even just slightly strained -- they can quickly become their own source of tension and unhappiness.
Which of your friendships are rewarding and fulfilling -- and which drain your energy and affect you negatively? What can you do to improve or let go of stressful relationships?
If you feel like your life isn't going in the right direction, you may just need to clear through all of the clutter that's blocking your path. Yes, we're talking about physical stuff -- on your desk, in your closet -- but also the emotions attached to it.
What unnecessary sources of stress -- physical and emotional -- are weighing you down? How can you "clean house" and resolve these problems? When done right, a room-by-room sweep may work wonders for your home and your peace of mind.
Now that your goals are written down, make it public: Tell a friend, write a blog, or hang a reminder by your desk -- if someone else knows about your goals, you'll be less likely to give up on them.
You're ready to move on to Step 3, where you'll develop coping strategies to help you succeed. Continue writing in your stress journal a few times a week, referring back to your road map and your list of goals, to record your progress.