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Are You Okay? Managing your stress better ahead of Seattle holiday celebrations

A Bastyr University professor says "stress is not all that bad," if managed properly.

SEATTLE, Wash — Dr. Brad Lichtenstein of Bastyr University's School of Naturopathic Medicine says everyone experiences stress and it shouldn't be viewed as a negative aspect of life.

"Stress is what's necessary to help us experience life," Lichtenstein said. "Anything that impacts the system can be a stressor."

There are many times we can anticipate stress or "triggers," according to Lichtenstein. 

"We need to learn how to adapt to stress," Lichtenstein said.

An anticipated trigger could be hosting a a holiday gathering.

Lichtenstein said we can respond to stress in a more constructive manner. He recommends "befriending stress, remembering it won't last and being flexible."

Lichtenstein said it's also important to allow yourself time to recover from stress.

There are ways to handle stress, even while at work, according to Lichtenstein. Taking a moment to "check in" with yourself or doing a "body check," Lichtenstein said, can help you locate any tense feelings in your shoulders, back or other body parts during a stressful moment. 

Lichtenstein said people should also consider finding times to take breaks and meditate.

"Centering yourself" is also key when managing stress, according to Lichtenstein, who recommends using your senses of touch, smell and sound to return to a calm state.

Other ways to manage stress is to make connections. Lichtenstein said talking with friends and family, as well as spending time with pets are all positive ways to manage stress.

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