How many times have you passed someone—whether friend or acquaintance—on the street, said a meaningless hello, and carried on with your day without giving it a second thought? All too often, we nod and smile almost as an unconditioned response to a familiar face. We ask “How are you?” without waiting for the answer.

This is not a result of being nasty or selfish. Instead, it is a by-product of our busy society and jam-packed lives. Our minds are always racing from one topic to the next. We picture our schedules in our minds as our to-do lists grow and grow, and our stress levels reach awesome heights.

Do our lives really need to be this strained and overwhelmed? How can we work to change this cycle that we’ve created for ourselves? Start with these three tips:

  1. Take a deep breath! Take a good look at that schedule or list of yours. Does it all need to get done today? Can you ask a friend for help? Take steps to relieve the pressure on yourself so you can have a more peaceful day.
  2. Smile from your heart. Start with yourself. Then smile at those around you—your kids, your spouse, your co-workers. Soon you’ll find yourself smiling at everyone you see, whether you know them or not, and it’ll feel real and meaningful.
  3. Take a second. Stop to hug a friend or wait for the answer to “How are you?” You might just find out something incredible about those around you!
Stress Relief, Tips

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