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do what you love, and other strategies to reduce stress

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Someone once said, "The only difference between a diamond and a lump of coal is that the diamond had more pressure put on it." If that were the case, we should all be shining brightly by now. Sure, stress can motivate us to get things done that's the upside. The downside can be really ugly. Stress, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, can sometimes lead to physical problems, such as high blood pressure, and accelerate some effects of aging. And we all know stress may contribute to emotional upheaval irritability, anger, even depression.

Here are seven easy strategies one for each day of the week to help you meet stress head-on and conquer it:

Breathe. Yes! It's that simple. Breathe deeply, but don't hyperventilate. Inhale as though you were sniffing a delightful scent. Then stre-e-e-tch your arms high over your head as you slowly and completely exhale.

Set Boundaries. Just like the stressed-out mom who sat in the playpen to keep a…