Hello and welcome to . My name is Melissa Stefanski. I've been that shy kid for as long as I can remember. During parent-teacher meetings, my teachers would always describe me as "a good student but very quiet and timid." I think to this day, others would describe me as "quiet." It's strange because I never think of myself that way. I guess I do not think I'm quiet because there's a continuous stream of conversation / thoughts / songs / etc. going through my head all day long. I just do not notice that I turned inward, not offering up my voice to t hose around me.

I never liked group activities at school or presentations in front of the class. I still get nervous when I'm called upon at meetings. I'm not usually the first one to speak up. I tend to worry easily and feel the worry throughout my entire body. I remember thinking that stress and anxiety were just a part of my life and that I needed to accept them. I thought maybe my genetic makeup was stacked against me and there was no changing what the genes had dictated.

At some point, I can not really remember when, I decided if I could not beat stress maybe I could join it. I decided to learn all I could about stress so I could manage it instead of managing it! Maybe some people are wired to be more sensitive. Maybe some people have had events in his or her life to encourage wanting to hide away. But, so what? Resigning to feel stressed or anxious is only one option. Another option is to do the best with what you have. That's what I decided to do for myself.

Stress will never magically disappear, but we can get to know stress. Kind of like keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. I'd call stress a "frienemy." I'm keeping stress close, studying it's every move. I'm learning about my reactions to stressful situations and coping differently now.

Feeling as though I have some control over stress diminishes stress!

After all, stress stems from a perception of something being out of our control.

Am I an expert on stress? I would call myself a lifelong learner of stress. Have I figured out ways of managing stress that work? YES! I encourage you to get to know stress and get to know what helps you manage stress.

If you are willing to work on this, you will feel better. There may not be a particular day when you think, "Yea! I've managed stress." But, one day you'll think, "I'm not sure when this happened, but things just feel better."

As for more boring information about me, I received a Bachelor of Science degree (1996) in Psychology with a minor in Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a Master of Arts degree (1998) in Counseling Psychology. I am a certified / licensed hypnotherapist through the National Guild of Hypnotists. My experience includes over 20 years of individual and group counseling and behavioral programming.

Over the years, I have worked in various settings including inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation centers, behavioral programming treatment facilities, and mental health counseling centers for individual therapy.

I reside in South West Florida but have lived in various regions of Canada and the US I have learned, and continue to learn, about stress and stress relief every day. I always appreciate stress relief tips I receive from others. So, I will share whatever stress management knowledge comes my way.

I like experimenting with many different stress relief strategies, depending on the situation and what's happening in my life. The more tools the better! Please visit often as I'm always adding new tips and insights as I learn othem.

Stay in the (k) now,
Melissa Stefanski, BS, MA

PS When you subscribe to my ezine, The Know Stress Press , you'll immediately receive my free Stress Management Course and access to my self-care membership site!