Pull over son, the neighbor’s sheep is out.” There standing in the road ahead of us is a woolly very forlorn looking sheep pacing back-and-forth in front of a closed metal pasture gate. She obviously escaped through a hole in the fence that I cannot see and now regrets her wily escape. I quickly unlatch the gate and stand back, swinging it wide so that she can pass through to safety. We then proceed on to school and life, my fifteen year old son behind the wheel. Such is life in a small mountain town; trees shedding the last of their brilliant glory, winter nipping at my back each evening, and my children slowly growing up. Fall is my favorite season. I look forward to family gathering around our crackling hearth each evening, doing homework, reading stories or just simply being. Fall is a season for reflection and thankfulness. Instead of trying to escape perceived stressors in life like that poor sheep this morning, I reflect on blessings and the beauty that surrounds me. We can’t change the fact that stress will come. Over the past four years of my functional medicine practice I have listened to men and women of all ages, backgrounds and professions tell me how stressed they are at that moment. I’ve come to realize that stress really can kill, can destroy us physically, mentally and emotionally. The way to not just survive but thrive in the midst of it is to change our response to stress. Instead of feeling helpless and victimized, we can change the way we eat, how much we are sleeping, how much exercise we get and how much time we spend with those we love. Go for a hike or a peaceful drive. Sit on a bench and listen to the leaves fall, the gentle wind blowing through the trees, the sound of the birds and squirrels collecting their winter rations. Slow the busyness and find rest for your soul. There in the quiet and stillness, you will find the inner strength to face life’s challenges and even start to thrive.