The exact measurement or even definition of stress can be hard to determine. There are those that thrive on busy lifestyles and those who get all tensed up by even a small change in their daily routine. Most people, however, fall somewhere in between those two. You can still have periods of stress increase in your life. You can tell if you’re “stressed out,” by the following symptoms:

• Worries going through your mind which interfere with sleep
• Minor problems cause you to become impatient or irritable
• Lack of concentration
• Smoke/drink more than usual
• Inability to relax
• Headaches
• Muscle tension in the neck and shoulders

Sometimes stress builds up quickly, and other times it will build over time. Since stress does play a role in hypothyroidism, it is important for those suffering from it to learn ways to avoid stress. If that seems easier said than done, here are a few tips to help you avoid and cope with your stress:

Make a Stress List—You can start by possibly keeping a diary over a few weeks and list the times, places, and people that seem to increase your stress levels. Then, you look for patterns. It may be traffic, waiting in lines, certain people’s behaviors, etc. Once identified you may find talking it out helps. You may also want to do a relaxation method from below to prevent or reduce the stress.

Relaxation Techniques—These can include any of the following techniques you can try routinely when you come across stressful situations:

1. Deep breathing—Take long, slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.

2. Muscular tensing and stretching—You can try things such as twisting your neck around each way as far as it is comfortable for you and then relaxing, or fully tense your shoulders and back muscles for several seconds and then relax them.

Positive Relaxation—Relaxation doesn’t usually just happen magically on its own. You need to plan it. It may be a long, hot bath, a short walk, or just listening to your favorite music. They may be some form of meditation or muscular exercises. You can even buy relaxation CD’s and DVD’s that can help. You can use these times to clear your head, reflect, and put your life back into perspective.

Take a Needed Time Out—Remember the slogan “You deserve a break today?” Well, you do. Don’t just eat lunch busy at your desk. Take a proper break. Even if you have to shorten the break due to the busy schedule, you need those few minutes away to take a much needed time out.

Exercise—It doesn’t just help keep you fit. It can help reduce your stress levels and even help you sleep better. Starting with 30 minutes a day four to five days a week is good. As you progress, you may change the schedule or move to different exercises. It can simply be brisk walks if that works or you.

Take Up a Hobby—These usually have no deadlines, pressures, or stressors. You can pick them up or leave them easily. They can help take your mind off of what is stressing you. You might like sports, music, knitting, puzzles, making models, or reading.

There are many other ways to reduce your stress, but these ways are a good place to start.