Eat and drink sensibly.
Alcohol and food abuse may
seem to reduce stress, but it actually adds to it.
You do not have to meet others'
expectations or demands. It's okay to say "No." Remember,
being assertive allows you to stand up for your rights and beliefs while
respecting those of others.
Stop smoking or other bad habits. Aside from the
obvious health risks of cigarettes, nicotine acts as a stimulant and brings on
more stress symptoms. Give yourself the gift of dropping unhealthy habits.
- Exercise regularly. Choose non-competitive exercise
and set reasonable goals. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release
endorphins (natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive
- Study and practice relaxation techniques. Relax
every day. Choose from a variety of different techniques. Combine
opposites; a time for deep relaxation and a time for aerobic exercise is a sure
way to protect your body from the effects of stress.
- Take responsibility. Control what you can and leave
behind what you cannot control.
- Reduce stressors (cause of stress). Many people
find that life is filled with too many demands and too little time. For the
most part, these demands are ones we have chosen. Effective
time-management skills involve asking for help when appropriate, setting
priorities, pacing yourself, and taking time out for yourself.
- Examine your values and live by them. The more your
actions reflect your beliefs, the better you will feel, no matter how busy your
life is. Use your values when choosing your activities.
- Set realistic goals and expectations. It's okay,
and healthy, to realize you cannot be 100% successful at everything at once.
- Sell yourself to yourself. When you are feeling
overwhelmed, remind yourself of what you do well. Have a healthy sense of
There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce
Deep breathing exercises
Progressive muscle relaxation
Mental imagery relaxation
Relaxation to music
Biofeedback (explained below)
Counseling, to help you recognize and release stress
Ask your health care provider for more information about these
Biofeedback helps a person learn stress-reduction skills by providing
information about muscle tension, heart rate, and other vital signs as a person
attempts to relax. It is used to gain control over certain bodily
functions that cause tension and physical pain.
Biofeedback can be used to help you learn how your body responds
in stressful situations, and how to better cope. If a headache, such as a
migraine, begins slowly, many people can use biofeedback to stop the attack
before it becomes full- blown.