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5 ways to reduce stress during a divorce

The divorce process is one of the most stressful things a person can experience. Stress is a common side effect of the uncertainty, change, and conflict that you are experiencing. But it is possible to manage and reduce stress.

The suggestions below can help you function better now and can provide a strong foundation for your post-divorce life.

Be generous. The best way to make yourself feel good is to make a heartfelt gift to someone else, according to Henry Emmons, M.D., author of "The Chemistry of Joy." Gifts do not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Gifts can be simple and humble: a smile, an encouraging text to a friend, a compliment. The act of giving also builds gratitude; it's a reminder that you have the ability and means to give.

Move. This doesn't mean moving to a different state. It means increasing your physical activity. This doesn't mean buying a gym membership. It can be a daily walk or doing yard work. It can be a favorite activity you've ignored for years, like yoga, riding a bike, or hitting golf balls.

Be a friend. When going through a divorce, you might feel like withdrawing into yourself. The simple act of being with a friend or friends can increase your joy and reduce your stress. Take a walk with a friend, get coffee, attend a sporting or cultural event. The activity doesn't matter, but the togetherness does.

Eat well. Many people turn to comfort foods during stressful times. Empty calories can provide temporary relief from your pain, but there are no long-term benefits. Food can damage, but good food can heal. As much as possible, transition from highly processed, sugar-laden foods to nutrient-dense foods. Start small - one good meal a week could be all the impetus you need.

Sleep. It has been said sleep is like a performance-enhancing drug. The benefits of adequate sleep are profound. It can boost energy, increase stamina, increase mental clarity, improve your mood and more. Now more than ever in your life, you need sleep.

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