Stress. It's everywhere.

Stress. It's everywhere. It may be financial, personal, or even professional. No matter what kind of stress you experience, you need to ask yourself "What do you do when your stress level is at its highest?"

I'm talking maximum stress overload DEFCON 1. How do you handle it? Do you scream and rage? Or maybe you pull your hair out leaving you looking like a badly seeded Chia Pet. Believe it or not, how you handle it or don't can affect your health.

In fact, 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. These can include headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety. So now we come to how to handle it.

A way I've found that helps is to find my "me time." I take myself away from the stressful situation and do something that makes me happy and occupies my mind for a little while.

Working out is a great stress reliever. Studies have shown that exercise actually increases the production of endorphins, the brain's "feel good" chemicals. I enjoy running outside. I may be a little stressed when I walk out that door, but when I take that first step and begin to run, it just melts away. If you do decide to run outside, make sure to observe everything around you. There is something relaxing about being out in nature and smelling the grasses and the flowers around you, watching the clouds drift over your head in their random patterns and watching trees waving their branches in the breeze as if cheering you on, urging you to keep going.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you may even see some local animals. Hopefully it's the good kind, like the baby deer I saw the other day, and not a grizzly bear – of which I advise you not to stop and take pictures.

Something else that may help is to find a hobby or two. One thing I've found helpful is cooking. There is something therapeutic in slicing vegetables or stirring a sauce. Maybe it's the repetitive nature of the activity but it helps take my mind away from my troubles.

You could also take up crafts or do-it-yourself projects. Sometimes you're going to make a mess, which is one of the best parts. Do you ever notice how kids are happy doing crafts and making a mess? Learn from that and apply it to your life.

The important thing to remember is to find something you enjoy doing. Some activities may include meditation, yoga, taking a bath, listening to music, dancing or whatever else you enjoy. Everything depends on the person, what works for one person may not work for another. Find what makes you happy and do it, just don't bring your stress along for the ride.

I encourage you to check out some of the programs that the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA offers that can help with the stress. For more information, please contact the Y at 455-9999.