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If you dread going to the supermarket, you're not alone. A number of people consider grocery shopping to be a tremendously stressful experience. It can tax your mind, drain your resources, and cause your blood pressure to rise. It is certainly not surprising, when you consider all of the elements that are involved in a trip to the local supermarket.

To begin with, negotiating the parking lot can be quite stressful. You have to deal with a parade of cars going in all directions. You have to steer clear of shopping carts and strollers. Pedestrians might jump out in front of your car when you least expect it. The hazards increase if it is snowing or drizzling outside.

Once you arrive at the supermarket, you might have difficulty finding a cart—which can get your shopping trip off to a rough start. You might be shocked at the prices that you find plastered on the products that you need. You might also find that the daily special has run out…there is no one manning the meat counter…the line for the deli wraps around most of the store…the store manager is on edge…and the machines at the self-checkout are broken. All of these incidents can lead to further stress.

How can you reduce your stress level at the supermarket? For one thing, you can make it a point to shop at off times. Shopping early in the morning or late in the evening can help you to avoid the crowds. You're likely to find the store to be quite peaceful at that time of day and your shopping experience should be more pleasant as a result.

As an alternative, you might consider setting aside a block of time when you can shop leisurely. This might enable you to test samples, to sip a cappuccino as you make your rounds through the aisle, and to browse shelves you might have overlooked in the past. If you put some work into making supermarket shopping a fun time, you might be surprised at the result.

Another way that you can better manage your time at the supermarket is by clipping coupons. This will mean that you will no longer have to spend time circling the supermarket searching for specials. Also, clipping coupons gives you a sense of control about your spending. This can make the entire shopping experience more enjoyable. In addition, you might be pleasantly surprised at the amount of money you save by using coupons.

While you cannot entirely control what happens to you at the supermarket, you can control your reactions to various events. For instance, if you run into a clerk or a cashier that is being unhelpful, resist the urge to lose your cool. Instead, deal with the disgruntled employee in a calm, rational manner. You should notice that your stress level decreases a great deal, once you have control of your emotions.

If the situation with a supermarket employee becomes intolerable, be sure to consult the store's manager. He or she is paid to listen to your concerns and to try to make the peace. If you don't get satisfaction after talking with the manager, consider contacting the company's corporate headquarters. While taking such a step might seem stressful, it will actually reduce your stress over the long run. If you register a complaint, the store might actually change its procedures, and you could find your future shopping trips to be less stressful as a result.

You'll need to also keep calm when dealing with other customers. People in grocery stores are often in a hurry, and so they may appear to be rude. A forgiving attitude can help you to keep your stress level under control even in the most trying circumstances. Try not to take slights personally. Recognize that shoppers are human and they may act badly from time to time.

You can't avoid going to the supermarket, even if it is a stressful experience. Therefore, you must learn to deal with the stress as best you can. Visiting the supermarket during off-peak times, trying to save money as much as possible, and keeping your temper under control can go a long way to cutting your stress

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