By The SAFE Foundation

What do you do when you find the need to relieve tension or distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts? It’s important to differentiate between damaging, destructive outlets and those that are healthy and productive. Here are four novel, but effective, stress relievers that can also lead you to a happier, more fulfilling existence:

*Vent and toss: Take a piece of paper that you will be discarding. On this page, record, as honestly as you can, the things that are upsetting you. This type of “write and throw” journaling will allow you to express yourself as freely as possible, release inner angst, and reveal aspects about your upset that you did not initially see. Once through, read your words from start to finish, and then find a safe way to make your creation vanish.

*Talk: Share your woes and worries with someone who cares about you – clergy, a relative, or friend. Caring people are all around us, and the older ones have wisdom!

*Create a Goal Journal: Take a piece of paper and fold it vertically in half. On the top each of the four columns created, write categories such as family, health, work, religion, or whatever areas in which you wish to see improvement. If need be, add another page. Under each category, list specific aspirations. Then, whenever you can, (best if every night) write down in a Goal Journal what you did that day to get closer to your listed goals. Do not record setbacks; focus only on what you’ve accomplished. Before you know it, you will be checking off items from your list and feeling quite empowered, as you build the life of your dreams!

*Go “Pro”: If you are human, you are not immune to difficulty, but unfortunately, some associate seeking the help of a professional with shame.  We must realize that there are those who have spent years studying the best approaches for specific problems. After careful research to find the best therapist for an issue, those who seek help should regard themselves as courageous and lift their chins in pride, as they exert to improve!