- Depression & Stress Management Techniques: Therapy & More
- 8 Smart Tips for Successfully Managing Stress
- 1. Step Back and Put the Problem in Perspective
- 2. List Some Solutions and Come Up With a Plan
- 3. Accept Those Things Beyond Your Control
- 4. Give Yourself a Break to Relax and Recharge
- 5. Try to Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day
- 6. Open Up to People and Express Your Feelings
- 7. Set Reasonable Expectations in Your Daily Life
- 8. Resolve Issues Before They Become Crises
- Reducing Stress: Tips for Caregivers
- 3 Tips to Manage Stress
- Positive Self-Talk
- Negative to Positive
- Top 10 Emergency Stress-Stoppers
- Stress-Busting Activities
- 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
- Coping With Stress
- Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
- Helping Youth Cope with Stress
- Stress: Coping with Everyday Problems
- Tips for Reducing or Controlling Stress
- Where to Get Help
- Ideas to consider when talking with a professional
- 4 Tips To Change the Way You Deal with Stress
- Related Articles
Depression & Stress Management Techniques: Therapy & More
Stress is the body’s response to physical or emotional demands. Emotional stress can play a role in causing depression or be a symptom of it. A stressful situation can trigger feelings of depression, and these feelings can make it more difficult to deal with stress.
High-stress events, such as losing a job or the end of a long-term relationship, can lead to depression. Not everyone who experiences these situations becomes depressed. Biological factors may explain why one person facing a stressful circumstance experiences depression while another person doesn’t.
Losing a family member, divorce, and moving are all major life changes that can cause stress.
Some studies link an overactive stress system and high levels of cortisol in the body to depression and other health conditions, including heart disease.
When the mind feels threatened, the body produces more stress hormones — such as cortisol — to help the body fight or run away from the threat. This works well if you’re in real danger, but it doesn’t always benefit you in your daily life.
Other examples of events that can cause stress include:
- getting into a fight with your spouse or significant other
- losing your job
- major natural disasters, such as earthquakes or tornadoes, that can damage your home or destroy it altogether
- getting into a car accident, which can cause physical, emotional, and financial stress
- being robbed, mugged, or attacked
Certain lifestyle choices can also contribute to your stress levels. This is especially true if they affect your overall health or if you become dependent on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Lifestyle choices that can increase your stress include:
- heavy or excessive consumption of alcohol
- not getting enough exercise
- smoking or using illegal drugs
- working for long periods of time without taking a break, or being a “workaholic”
- not eating a well-balanced diet
- spending too much time watching television or playing video games
- looking at a smartphone in bed, which can keep you from falling asleep
Sometimes the constant stresses of daily life trigger your fight-or-flight response. This can lead to complications, including depression. In other cases, the development of depression is unrelated to stress.
Depression can make experiencing and coping with events in your life more challenging. Big and small stresses still occur, but with depression, you may not feel as equipped to deal with them. This can make the symptoms of depression and the stress of certain situations even worse.
Stress can be caused by a single event or by temporary situations. This is known as acute stress. Acute stress can be brought on by events that stress you out, such as taking a big test, or by an acute injury, such as a broken bone.
Stress can also last a long time without ever feeling it’s easing up. In these instances, events or illnesses may cause continuous stress or there may be no clear reason for your stress. This is known as chronic stress. Chronic stress is usually the result of personal, lifestyle, or health issues that are also chronic. Common causes of chronic stress include:
- having financial struggles
- working at a high-pressure job
- having personal or relationship issues at home
- not feeling you have enough support from family or friends
While stress can generally have negative effects on your physical and mental health, it can be especially harmful if you have depression.
Stress can make you feel less able to maintain positive habits or coping strategies, which are important to managing depression. This can make symptoms of depression feel more intense.
Interrupting a healthy routine can result in negative coping strategies, such as drinking or withdrawing from social relationships.
These actions can result in further stress, which can then make depression symptoms worse.
Stress can also affect your mood, as anxiety and irritability are both common responses to stress. When a stressor causes you to feel anxious, the anxiety may result in more negative feelings or frustration, even if the stressor is only temporary.
Stress management techniques are useful in coping with depression. Stress relief can also help prevent depressive symptoms from developing. Some helpful stress management techniques include:
- getting enough sleep
- eating a healthy diet
- getting regular exercise
- taking occasional vacations or regular breaks from work
- finding a relaxing hobby, such as gardening or woodworking
- consuming less caffeine or alcohol
- doing breathing exercises to lower your heart rate
If lifestyle choices are causing you stress, you may consider changing the way you approach your personal or professional life. Some ways you can help decrease this kind of stress include:
- putting yourself under less pressure to perform at work or school, such as by lowering your standards to a level you still find acceptable
- not taking on as many responsibilities at work or activities at home
- sharing responsibilities or delegating tasks to others around you
- surrounding yourself with supportive and positive friends and family members
- removing yourself from stressful environments or situations
Activities such as yoga, meditation, or attending religious services can also help you deal with stress. A combination of these techniques may prove even more effective. It’s important to find what works for you. And no matter what you choose, it’s vital to have close friends and family members who are willing to support you.
Talking to a counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional can also be a useful way to deal with stress and depression. Talk therapy alone or combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication is a proven solution for both depression and chronic stress. Medications for depression include:
“A depressed person is compromised in dealing with problematic situations,” says Stacey Stickley, a licensed professional counselor practicing in Ashburn, Virginia.
“When a person is dealing with depression, things may seem more negative than they really are. Events that would have been taken in stride may seem more problematic or impossible to handle.
The idea of taking action on things may require more of a person’s resources, resources that are already compromised due to the depression.”
“Talk to your doctor about pharmacological options, or go talk to a counselor about evaluating and managing your symptoms,” she says. “Don’t wait. Being proactive is important so you can maybe stop the downward slide sooner. It’s easier to climb a shallow hole than one you have been slowly digging and tunneling into for several months.”
Stress can result from many personal, professional, and environmental causes. The best way to cope with stress is by managing the stressors that are within your control.
For example, you could walk away from toxic relationships or leave a stressful job.
You can also practice accepting or coping with the stressors that are your control, with actions meditating or drinking less caffeine and alcohol.
Depression can make it much more difficult to control or cope with stressors, but seeking out counseling or therapy or taking medication can allow you to better confront stressors and deal with them in a positive, constructive way.
8 Smart Tips for Successfully Managing Stress
When you're stressed, your head may start to hurt, or you may feel nauseated, dizzy, or just plain overwhelmed. Stress can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life, so stress reduction is necessary for maintaining both your physical and emotional health. Since you can't simply wish stress away, managing stress is a vital skill to develop.
Whether you experience a sudden stressful situation, such as a major issue at work or a crisis at home that needs to be addressed right away, having a plan for stress in place is a good idea, says Larry Kubiak, PhD, a psychologist and the director of psychological services at the behavioral health center of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare in Florida. “Stress can occur at any time or place, and we do our best when we have tools at the ready to deal with it,” he explains.
If it's an urgent problem that requires your immediate attention, managing stress is important so that you can think clearly.
The same is true with ongoing, nagging concerns about your job, health, finances, or family members that create a steady buildup of stress.
“Know the kinds of things that are available to you on short notice so you can utilize them, such as listening to music, going for a short walk, or guided imagery,” says Dr. Kubiak.
RELATED: The United States of Stress
Try these tips to help you with general stress reduction as well as specific anxiety-provoking experiences.
1. Step Back and Put the Problem in Perspective
Maybe you're disappointed that you didn't get a promotion you were up for or concerned that money is a little tight this month because of an unexpected medical bill. Feeling stressed is a natural reaction.
But try to take a step back and ask yourself: Will this issue still matter in a year? In five years? If the answer is no, take a deep breath and try to move forward. Keeping things in perspective is crucial to managing stress.
2. List Some Solutions and Come Up With a Plan
If there's a specific problem you need to fix, make a list of all possible solutions and pick the best one for your situation.
Realizing that you have options and coming up with a concrete plan will have a direct effect on stress reduction.
“Break the task into smaller parts so you can try to accomplish what you need to in an hour, a day and then next week so the problem becomes more manageable,” suggests Kubiak.
3. Accept Those Things Beyond Your Control
Some circumstances are simply beyond our control, and we have to learn to cope with and accept them. Fortunately, you do have control over how you react to stressful situations. Staying calm and being willing to accept emotional support from others can help in managing stress.
4. Give Yourself a Break to Relax and Recharge
Daily stressors can creep up on you before you realize it, so treat yourself to at least one relaxing activity every day.
Listening to music, meditating, writing in a journal, or enjoying a soothing bubble bath are all great ways to relax and relieve stress.
“Meditation allows us to clear our minds and be able to see things in a more realistic perspective,” notes Kubiak. Taking time for yourself is important for both preventing and managing stress.
5. Try to Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day
Exercise is one of the best methods for managing stress because it can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress.
Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or one of the martial arts, all great ways to get rid of pent-up stress and negativity.
“Exercise can help regulate and dissipate in a productive way those 'fight or flight' stress chemicals in the brain,” says Kubiak.
6. Open Up to People and Express Your Feelings
If something's bothering you, don't keep it to yourself. Talk to people you trust, friends, family, or coworkers, about what's on your mind. Even if you're not looking for specific advice, it usually feels good just to get your feelings out into the open.
7. Set Reasonable Expectations in Your Daily Life
Being busy is sometimes inevitable, but regularly taking on more than you can manage can cause unwanted and unwelcome stress.
Tell yourself that it's okay to say no to activities at your child's school or to extra projects at work — you are not obligated to accept every request made of you.
Additionally, don't take on more financial responsibilities — such as a new car or a bigger house — if you think they'll be a stretch. Being realistic about your finances is an important strategy for managing stress.
8. Resolve Issues Before They Become Crises
It’s human nature to avoid unpleasant topics and circumstances, but if you're concerned about a brewing situation, whether it's at work or at home, address it early to keep it from becoming more serious, harder to solve, and more stressful for you. Problems are always easier to handle before they develop into full-blown calamities.
Everyone feels stress — it's impossible to avoid it all the time. But it is possible to keep stress under control by setting realistic expectations of yourself, learning how to keep problems in perspective, and enjoying relaxing breaks from the daily demands of life.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Healthy Living Center.
Reducing Stress: Tips for Caregivers
I’m so stressed out! How many times have you heard someone say that…or, perhaps, have said it yourself? Stress is very personal; situations and events that are distressing for you might not bother someone else in the least. Nevertheless, stress – including workplace stress – can affect every aspect of your life and can even alter your physical well-being.
Stress is a tension you feel and a reaction you have to a situation or event. Some stress can be “healthy stress” – the kind that challenges you and energizes you psychologically and physically – while many times it is “unhealthy,” leaving you feeling overwhelmed and anxious, i.e., “stressed out.”
According to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies show that job stress is the major source of stress for Americans.
Health care workers in particular, due to the nature of their work, often suffer from workplace stress.
In fact, ComPsych, the world's largest provider of employee assistance programs, reports that health care workers are responsible for the largest number of stress and anxiety-related calls to their helpline.
Can you control your stress…Or is stress controlling you?
Many people experience unhealthy workplace stress – the perception of having little control but lots of demands. Let’s look at some of the many ways unhealthy stress can manifest itself:
Signs and Symptoms:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Apathy, loss of interest in work
- Sleep problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension or headaches
- Social withdrawal
- Coping with alcohol or drugs
- Digestive problems
Compassion Fatigue: When caring too much is making you ill
Health care workers and caregivers can experience a special kind of stress called Compassion Fatigue. Over time, the ability to feel and care for others becomes eroded through overuse of their skills of compassion.
Because they care so deeply about their patients or loved ones, health care professionals and caregivers who listen to stories of fear, pain, and suffering can find themselves empathetically experiencing similar emotions.
It’s important to understand that these feelings are normal and that the symptoms of and treatment for Compassion Fatigue are similar to that of most kinds of stress. Here are some practical ways to prevent stress from overtaking your life at work and at home.
10 Tips for Reducing Stress:
- Don’t Pull the Trigger on Stress. The very first step in taking control of your stress is to recognize your personal triggers, helping you to avoid a stress response altogether.
- Manage your work-life balance. Make time for interests you enjoy outside of your job. Whether they are active, playing a sport, or quiet, reading, it’s important to engage in activities you find enjoyable, relaxing, or fulfilling.
- Take care of you. Don’t underestimate how much your physical condition affects how well you handle stress. Develop healthy habits regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and minimal or no alcohol and tobacco use.
- Manage your time. There are few things that add more stress than running late. Plan ahead. Leave earlier. Do whatever it takes so you’re not always feeling you’re playing “Beat the Clock.”
- Get and stay organized. Do you often find yourself searching for something you misplaced, forgetting appointments, or accomplishing less than you intended? Organization will help you overcome these issues, allowing you to be more efficient and productive – and less stressed.
- Resist perfectionism. Life isn’t perfect, so don’t try to be. If you feel you can do things better, then work on improvement, not perfection.
- Adopt a positive attitude. Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that positive self-talk will improve your outlook, and when your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.
- Talk it over with a trusted listener. Talking over a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and relieve stress. But keep it productive – don’t get caught up with just complaining and gossiping.
- Ask for help. Talk to your supervisor and let him know what’s bothering you and work together to develop a plan to relieve some of your stressors.
- Take a time-out. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes to disconnect from your environment to prevent your stress level from topping out. If possible, step away and do some deep breathing exercises or take a short walk. And don’t forget that a little humor does wonders to diffuse a stressful situation.
Mother Teresa Understood Compassion Fatigue
One of the greatest, best-known caregivers, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, wrote in her plan to her superiors that it was mandatory for her nuns to take time off from their duties to allow them to heal from the stressful effects of their caregiving work.
3 Tips to Manage Stress
We all have stress — at work, at home, and on the road. Sometimes we can feel especially stressed because of a bad interaction with someone, too much work, or everyday hassles getting stuck in traffic.
Negative stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best — mentally, physically and emotionally. But no one’s life is completely stress-free. It’s important to know how to manage the stress in your life. Try these three simple techniques for dealing with it.
Let’s be honest, we all talk to ourselves! Sometimes we talk out loud but usually we do it in our heads.
Self-talk can be positive (“I can do this” or “everything will be OK”) or negative (“I'll never get better” or “I'm so stupid”). Negative self-talk increases stress.
Positive self-talk can help you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to shift negative thoughts to positive ones. For example:
Negative to Positive
“I can't do this.”> “I'll do the best I can. I’ve got this.”
“Everything is going wrong.” > “I can handle this if I take one step at a time.”
“I hate it when this happens.” > “I know how to deal with this; I've done it before.”
“I feel helpless and alone.
”> “I can reach out and get help if I need it.”
“I can’t believe I screwed up. > “I'm human, and we all make mistakes. I can fix it.”
To really make it work, practice positive self-talk every day — in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts.
It’s a great practice to teach kids, too!
Top 10 Emergency Stress-Stoppers
Emergency stress stoppers are actions to help you defuse stress in the moment. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations, and sometimes it helps to combine them. Here are some ideas:
- Count to 10 before you speak or react.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your body un-clench a bit.
- Go for a walk, even if it’s just to the restroom and back. It can help break the tension and give you a chance to think things through.
- Try a quick meditation or prayer to get some perspective.
- If it’s not urgent, sleep on it and respond tomorrow. This works especially well for stressful emails and social media trolls.
- Walk away from the situation for a while, and handle it later once things have calmed down.
- Break down big problems into smaller parts. Take one step at a time, instead of trying to tackle everything at once.
- Turn on some chill music or an inspirational podcast to help you deal with road rage.
- Take a break to pet the dog, hug a loved one or do something to help someone else.
- Work out or do something active. Exercise is a great antidote for stress.
Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to relieve stress and find your happy place. Even when you’re down, you may find pleasure in simple things going for a walk, catching up with a friend, or reading a good book.
When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes. Some of these activities may work for you:
- Make art — draw, color, paint, or play a musical instrument.
- Work on a scrapbook or photo album to focus on good memories.
- Read a book, short story or magazine.
- Meet a friend for coffee or a meal.
- Play a favorite sport golf, tennis, or basketball.
- Do a hobby sewing, knitting, or making jewelry.
- Play with your kids or pets – outdoors if possible.
- Listen to music or watch an inspiring performance.
- Take a walk in nature.
- Take a relaxing bath and feel the stress wash away.
- Meditate or practice yoga.
- Work in the garden or do a home improvement project.
- Go for a run or bike ride to clear your head.
The key is to find your groove and make it a practice. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you may start to feel better once you disrupt the cycle of stress.
Last reviewed June 2014
10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasn't until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
We recommend cello master Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach, but if classical really isn’t your thing, try listening to ocean or nature sounds. It may sound cheesy, but they have similar relaxing effects to music.
When you’re feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.
They’re especially important when you're under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing.
Don’t worry about seeming crazy — just tell yourself why you're stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.
Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.
Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy.
Our suggestion: watch some classic Monty Python skits “The Ministry of Silly Walks.” Those Brits are so hilarious, you’ll soon be cracking up, rather than cracking up.
A large dose of caffeine causes a short-term spike in blood pressure. It may also cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive.
Instead of coffee or energy drinks, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect on the nervous system.
Most of the tips we’ve suggested provide immediate relief, but there are also many lifestyle changes that can be more effective in the long run. The concept of “mindfulness” is a large part of meditative and somatic approaches to mental health and has become popular recently.
From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem. Try joining a class.
Exercise doesn't necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation.
Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get whack and only gets worse with time.
Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.
The advice “take a deep breath” may seem a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation.
For an easy three- to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest.
While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. Too much untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems.
The good news is that in many cases, stress is manageable. With some patience and a few useful strategies, you can reduce your stress, whether it's family stress or stress at the workplace.
Coping With Stress
Everyone—adults, teens, and even children, experiences stress. Stress is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious. Stress can be positive (e.g. preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g. dealing with a natural disaster). Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.
After a traumatic event, people may have strong and lingering reactions. These events may include personal or environmental disasters, or threats with an assault. The symptoms may be physical or emotional. Common reactions to a stressful event can include:
- disbelief, shock, and numbness
- feeling sad, frustrated, and helpless
- difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- headaches, back pains, and stomach problems
- smoking or use of alcohol or drugs
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take care of yourself.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Get plenty of sleep
- Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out
- Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
- Take a break. If news events are causing your stress, take a break from listening or watching the news.
- Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.
Helping Youth Cope with Stress
Children and adolescents often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic event— a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
It is natural for children to worry when scary or stressful events happen in their lives. Talking to your children about these events can help put frightening information into a more balanced setting. Monitor what children see and hear about stressful events happening in their lives. Here are some suggestions to help children cope:
- Maintain a normal routine. Helping children wake up, go to sleep, and eat meals at regular times provide them a sense of stability. Going to school and participating in typical after-school activities also provide stability and extra support.
- Talk, listen, and encourage expression. Create opportunities for your children to talk, but do not force them. Listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings and share some of yours. After a traumatic event, it is important for children to feel they can share their feelings and that you understand their fears and worries. Keep having these conversations. Ask them regularly how they feel in a week, in a month, and so on.
- Watch and listen. Be alert for any change in behavior. Are children sleeping more or less? Are they withdrawing from friends or family? Any changes in behavior may be signs that your child is having trouble and may need support.
- Reassure. Stressful events can challenge a child’s sense of safety and security. Reassure your child about his or her safety and well-being. Discuss ways that you, the school, and the community are taking steps to keep them safe.
- Connect with others. Talk to other parents and your child’s teachers about ways to help your child cope. It is often helpful for parents, schools, and health professionals to work together for the well-being of all children in stressful times.
After a traumatic event, it is normal to feel anxious about your safety and security. Even if you were not directly involved, you may worry about whether this type of event may someday affect you. Check out the tips below for some ideas to help deal with these fears.
- Talk to and stay connected to others. This might be:
- Parents, or other relatives
- Family doctor
- Member of your place of worship
Talking with someone can help you make sense your experience and figure out ways to feel better. If you are not sure where to turn, call your local crisis intervention center or a national hotline.
- Get active. Go for a walk, play sports, play a musical instrument, or join an after-school program. Volunteer with a community group that promotes nonviolence or another school or community activity that you care about. These can be positive ways to handle your feelings and to see that things are going to get better.
- Take care of yourself. Try to get plenty of sleep, eat right, exercise, and keep a normal routine. By keeping yourself healthy, you will be better able to handle a tough time.
- Take information breaks. Pictures and stories about a disaster can increase worry and other stressful feelings. Taking breaks from the news, Internet, and conversations about the disaster can help calm you down.
School personnel can help their students restore their sense of safety by talking with the children about their fears. Other tips for school personnel include:
- Reach out and talk. Create opportunities to have students talk, but do not force them. Try asking questions , what do you think about these events, or how do you think these things happen? You can be a model by sharing some of your own thoughts as well as correct misinformation. When children talk about their feelings, it can help them cope and to know that different feelings are normal.
- Watch and listen. Be alert for any change in behavior. Are students withdrawing from friends? Acting out? These changes may be early signs that a student is struggling and needs extra support from the school and family.
- Maintain normal routines. A regular classroom and school schedule can provide a sense of stability and safety. Encourage students to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but do not push them if they seem overwhelmed.
- Take care of yourself. You are better able to support your students if you are healthy, coping and taking care of yourself first.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Get plenty of sleep
- Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out
Stress: Coping with Everyday Problems
Everyone has stress. It is a normal part of life. You can feel stress in your body when you have too much to do or when you haven’t slept well. You can also feel stress when you worry about things your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member who is ill or in crisis.
In response to these strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to you muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.
However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, you will feel stress which can threaten your health and well-being.
According to the APA’s Stress in America study, nearly 70% of Americans experience physical and mental symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.
Tips for Reducing or Controlling Stress
If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better.
As you read the following suggestions, remember that conquering stress will not come from a half-hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time.
Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress level doesn’t seem to improve, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes.
Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your family’s), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why you’re making the changes. Be willing to listen to other’s suggestions and be ready to compromise.
Shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done?” How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?” Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Meditate. Just ten to twenty minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. Use the time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing.
Visualize. Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully. Whether it’s a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self-confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task.
Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, their day-to-day workload can sometimes seem unbearable.
The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Make a list of things you need to get done and start with one task. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one.
The positive feeling of “checking off” tasks is very satisfying. It will motivate you to keep going.
Exercise. Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind.
Hobbies. Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening or painting, schedule time to indulge your interest.
Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child or working in a busy office. Stay in touch with friends and family. Ask them how they have dealt with a similar situation that may be “stressing you out.” Let them provide love, support and guidance. Don’t try to cope alone.
Be flexible! If you find you’re meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy. Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings.
Make allowances for other’s opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to be accommodating, others may meet you halfway.
Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems.
Go easy with criticism. You may expect too much of yourself and others. Try not to feel frustrated, disappointed or even “trapped” when another person does not measure up.
The “other person” may be a coworker, spouse, or child whose behavior you are trying to change or don’t agree with.
Avoid criticisms about character, such as “You’re so stubborn,” and try providing constructive suggestions for how someone might do something differently.
Where to Get Help
If you think that you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor, clergy person, or employee assistance professional. They may suggest you visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other qualified counselor.
In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.
Ideas to consider when talking with a professional
• List the things which cause stress and tension in your life.
• How does this stress and tension affect you, your family and your job?
• Can you identify the stress and tensions in your life as short or long term?
• Do you have a support system of friends/family that will help you make positive changes?
• What are your biggest obstacles to reducing stress?
• What are you willing to change or give up for a less stressful and tension-filled life?
• What have you tried already that didn’t work for you?
4 Tips To Change the Way You Deal with Stress
Dr. James C. Dobson once said “there are very few certainties that touch us all in this mortal experience, but one of the absolutes is that we will experience hardship and stress at some point.” Stress may be inevitable, but how we handle it is our choice.
Stress is different for all individuals, so there is no “cookie cutter” solution to manage it. You may have to experiment to find what works best for you. Finding healthy, positive ways to deal with stress will add to your overall well-being.
When dealing with stressful situations, consider the four points below. They may aid in decreasing the amount of stress and changing the way you view it.
- Nothing and no one can “make” you feel anything. How you feel and the way you deal with a situation is a choice. I’m reminded of a counselor who would often state “no one can drive your car unless you give them the keys.” You cannot control others’ actions, but you can be responsible for your reactions.
The serenity prayer states “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” When applied, this can be a great stress reliever. Look at the situation and ask yourself “is this something I can change?” If so, start exploring positive ways to change the situation.
If the situation cannot be changed, such as an illness or the economy, accept it for what it is. Accepting does not mean giving up. By accepting the situation and finding ways you can cope with what cannot be changed, stress can be drastically reduced.
- Exchange attitude for gratitude. Our attitude has a profound effect on how we deal with situations. Negative attitudes affect our physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing.
When in a particularly stressful situation, try exchanging attitude for gratitude. When you are running late for a meeting because you are stuck in traffic, change your attitude. Instead of being frustrated about the traffic, find some gratitude.
Look around and think of all the things you can be thankful for. Sometimes you can find gratitude in the smallest things. You can be thankful for life, health, strength, friends, family, nature, etc.
Focusing on gratitude can definitely change your attitude.
- Relax, relax, relax. Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. If we do not help ourselves, how can we effectively help others? Relaxation rejuvenates the body, mind, and spirit and leaves us better equipped to handle stressful situations when they come.
Try to find something that you enjoy and do it every day. If you can set aside time for relaxation, do it. Try to set aside a designated, uninterrupted time and stick to it.
Many people state they don’t have time to relax, but relaxation does not have to be time-consuming. Relaxation can include periodic 5-10 minute breaks of breathing exercises or watching your favorite show for 30 minutes.
Relaxation can also include connecting with positive people.
- Look at the big picture. Evaluate your stressful situation from a “big picture” point of view. Ask yourself “how important is this?” and “will this matter in the long run?” If the answer is no, it’s ly not worth your time and energy.
Stress does not have to be a part of life. Success stress management is all about learning how and when to take control. It’s important to remember that you control how stress affects you. You can control the stress or let stress control you.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne
4 Tips To Change the Way You Deal with Stress