How To Reduce Stress with the SPARKLE Formula S – Sleep well. Your bed is for sleeping, reading and intimacy. When your head hits the pillow, it's time to sleep, not think Your bed should NOT be for: watching television, balancing your checkbook, planning the next day, arguing with your spouse, checking your e-mail, or making phone calls. When in bed, books are OK, laptops are not. P – Plan every day. Create a to-do list every morning. This gives you a) a roadmap of what you need to do at the beginning of the day, b) a reminder of what still needs to be done throughout the day and c) a place to check off your accomplishments at the end of the day A – Anticipate less. Recognize the false assumptions you make that lead to anxiety. Will things really turn out to be as bad as you think? Probably not. When you look to the future, visualize success rather than failure. After all, you really don't know which it will be. So why not expect the best? R – Relax. Breath deeply when you feel stressed. Get up and change your environment, if only for a short time. Go for a walk at lunch. Relaxation means taking a break from what you were doing, not just "vegging out." For instance, watching television isn't always relaxing; it can be dumbing and dulling. Find activities that calm your body and stimulate your mind. Create a time for your own kind of meditation. Find a quiet space and a quiet time that's just for you. K – Keep Anger under control. Be empathetic and forgiving to others when they make mistakes. Like you, they're trying to do their best. Learn to give constructive feedback rather than destructive criticism. When someone makes you angry, remember that you have a choice in how you react. Instead of yelling at that bad driver who cut you off, do a running play-by-play on his erratic driving techniques. It's more fun. L – Laugh. Use positive affirmations to keep yourself on track. Affirmations should use the 4 P's; personal, positive, passionate and present. For instance, "I am a confident and successful manager who always runs an amazing team." Find time to share a joke. Laugh at the curves life throws at you rather than fretting over them. E – Eat Well and Exercise. Your body needs to be a well-tuned machine to manage all of the stresses that act on it. Avoid eating packaged snacks – anything that comes in a wrapper or plastic bag. Try natural fruit instead. Add more colored vegetables to your meals. Reduce caffeine in your diet. It's a stimulant and can exacerbate physical symptoms of stress that you may already have. Choose water instead. Avoid the escalator or elevator and take the stairs. Find opportunities to go for a walk. Ideally, get exercise that causes you to sweat for twenty minutes at least three times per week.