Managing stress - five points to remember
1.) Control what you can
- Once you perceive a stressor as out of your control, it has the potential of having a more significant impact on you.
- Signs and symptoms of stress may become more pronounced and there may more adverse affects on your health.
- Thus, it is important to take control of what you can and to do so in positive ways.
- A good place to start is to manage your own response to the stressor by calming yourself down (see #4 below).
2.) Choose the positive actions you will take
- The simple act of consciously choosing what you will do in response to the stressor can help you begin to take control in the stressful situation.
- Choose actions and coping strategies that are helpful and life affirming.
- See the Creating Balance handout in this toolkit for an extensive list of ideas.
3.) Change your negative thinking
- Catching and stopping your negative thinking is essential to stress management and overall emotional health.
- See the Thought-Feeling-Action Connection and Rapid Stress Management handouts in this toolkit for more ideas.
- Once you've caught yourself thinking negatively, take a deep breath and replace the negative thought with more realistic thinking.
4.) Practice deep breathing
- Deep breathing is possibly the single most important component of a stress management plan.
- See the Deep Breathing handout in this toolkit for a description the benefits of practicing deep breathing. Also included there is a guide to the practice of deep breathing.
5.) Increase your activity level
- Increasing physical activity is an excellent way to manage stress and improve your overall health.
- There are many different ways to increase one's activity level, from aerobic exercise to yoga to simply doing household chores.
- It's important to choose something that is good for your body and fits your lifestyle.
- If you have any medical issues or health problems please consult with a physician before beginning an exercise program.
- Once you are ready to start, click here to access numerous resources on exercise.