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Stress Management

We all experience stress. Stress can be caused by many different events such as the following:

  • Job troubles
  • Traffic
  • Getting married
  • Cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Having a baby
  • Relationship problems
  • A new job
  • Financial hardships
  • Arguments
  • Balancing work and family
  • The death of a friend or loved one

These events are called stressors. How your body reacts is stress. Each person's body responds differently. Some of us get headaches and stomachaches. Others experience anxiety, depression, irritability, sleep, and appetite disturbances. When you find that stress is affecting you in an unhealthy way, it is time for a STRESS BUSTER:

Deep Breathing
Breathing deeply and slowly can reverse the physiological effects of stress. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your lower abdomen to fill with air. Hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat several times.

Muscular relaxation
Releases the tension in your muscles. You can simply sit in a chair and focus on relaxing all the muscles in your body, beginning with your forehead and ending with your feet, progressively moving through your body. Some people find it easiest to tense the muscles first and then relax them. Listen to a progressive muscle relaxation audio (mp3).

Visualization
Allows you to take a mental vacation. You can use our guided imagery audio (mp3) or simply get comfortable, close your eyes and imagine a peaceful place with as much detail as possible, using each of your senses to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel the relaxing scene.

Exercise
Counteracts the body's physiological stress response. It helps lower blood pressure and releases natural endorphins (feel-good hormones).

Setting Limits
Learn to say no at least some of the time and not feel guilty. Know your personal and professional priorities.

Becoming a better listener
It really is a skill and improves with practice. See Effective Communication 

Learn to communicate assertively
Let others know what you expect and want in a respectful manner. Be specific.

Laughter
Watch a comedy, listen to a joke, or simply have a sense of humor.

Develop positive self-talk
Become aware of the tape recorder in your head and the messages that are playing. Learn to praise yourself and others.

Stress can be healthy. It can be a motivator as long as you manage it in a way that works for you.