Stress Management Techniques
By: Sheila Hunt, MA, LPC
Stress is created by our reactions to situations, rather than the events themselves. We can’t always control events that happen in our life, but we can control how we respond.
Here are some helpful tips for how to prevent and manage stressful feelings:
• Visualize a scene that is pleasant, soothing, or brings back happy memories.
• Take a deep breath and count to ten. Then, breathe out slowly and count to ten. Think the word “calm,” then the word “serene,” and then other calming words.
• Exercise such as muscle stretching, yoga, sports. Squeeze a ball or lemon. Stand up and stretch.
• Meditation and/or prayer.
• Express yourself through art, writing, or a hobby. Games and puzzles. Read a book.
• Plan your time and prioritize. Pace yourself. Take one step at a time.
• Changing your perception of the situation – or cognitive restructuring – can reduce or eliminate stress. Positive thinking – find the “silver lining.” Find the good in your stressful situation.
• Tell yourself that this, too, shall pass.
• Stand up and smile! Find humor in situations.
• Create positive social interactions. Do something fun!
• Spend time enjoying nature and the outdoors. Take a short, brisk walk.
• Dance or do aerobics. Listen to your favorite music.
• Do something that changes your focus, e.g., take a bathroom break, get a glass of water. When you come back to the problem, chances are it won’t seem nearly as insurmountable.
• Sleep on it. Take a second look tomorrow.
• Create time for self-reflection.
• Discover your vision, values and purpose. Take responsibility for creating the life you want.
• Take time to smell the roses. Do something enjoyable each day.
• Dare to say, “No.” Set limits. Be assertive, but not aggressive (express your feelings without offending others.)
• Quit blaming yourself when you really had no control over the situation.
• Be proactive in finding peace.
• Find people who can nurture and support you and learn to trust appropriately. Talk to a friend about your problem, don’t hold it in.
• Get help when you need help.
• Counseling can help you to understand the root causes of stress and find solutions.
• Get a good night’s rest. Eat healthily. Avoid sugar and caffeine. Drink water and juice instead.
• Take a warm bath – use your favorite bath fragrance, candles, lotions. Get a massage.
Sheila Hunt, MA, LPC
4801 Weldon Spring Parkway
St. Charles (Weldon Spring), MO 63304
Phone 800-477-5407 (toll free)