Stress Management Techniques

Stress management techniques can have you feeling relaxed and in control. Have you ever wondered why some people don't appear to get flustered. These cool customers seem to be able to manage any situation.

Then there are others who make "mountains out of molehills" - any situation provokes a stress response!

While these cool customers may have a personality that helps them to deal with stress, this is only half the story. Stress management is also about managing these stress provoking situations.

Based on our definition of stress, stress comes from the world around you and how you deal with your world. This gets to the heart of stress management techniques which involve changing ourselves in relation to stress or changing those situations that cause stress.

Knowing your causes of stress is important for stress management. Knowing what causes your stress allows you to develop a plan to reduce stress.

For example, stress can be caused by poor relationships, feelings of pressure, a lack of time, unemployment and many other things. If you are unsure what is causing you stress then download this stress worksheet and pinpoint those situations that cause you stress today.

Often a symptom of stress is a feeling of physical tension, which can result in stress headaches and muscle tension. I often use progressive muscle relaxation with my clients - which systematically reduces muscular tension in different muscle groups of the body. Regular progressive muscle relaxation can reduce the buildup of tension that can occur over time, which can lead to further stress and anxiety.

There are also a number of other relaxation exercises to reduce this muscle tension and increase overall relaxation. For example, I find that regular breathing exercises can help when you are feeling stressed, anxious or in a state of panic.

Often when stressed, your breathing rate becomes rapid and shallow. By taking a few slow deep breaths you are able to counter the stress response and actually activate a relaxation response in the body. This can help to reduce the stress hormones that may flood your body in response to stress.

Here is one breathing technique:

  1. Stop what you are doing and sit upright on a chair.
  2. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breathing.
  3. Breathe in through your nose and count slowly to 3. On your exhale count out to 3. This 6 second cycle will bring your breathing rate to 10 breaths per minute.
  4. As you breathe out - picture a peaceful scene and say the word "relax".
  5. Continue this breathing for 5-10 minutes, or until your start to relax.

I find that for many clients, if they practice their breathing exercises often, stress symptoms occur less often and they can develop an automatic response to stress and anxiety.

Often changing the way that you perceive stress can be a big factor? Do you admire people who remain unflustered in any situation? Do you know others who make 'mountains out of molehills'? Viewing a glass as half full rather than half empty can be a good stress management technique.

Changing how you view your can mean that you are less likely to perceive any situation as a "threat". By developing a positive mental attitude or developing your positive thinking skills will decrease the activation of the fight or flight response.

There are a number of things that you can do on a regular basis to reduce stress. Increased exercise, such as regular walking can be very beneficial, if only for 10 minutes at a time. There is evidence that the more physically fit you are the better you can cope with the stress.

Exercise for stress increases your energy, reduces your muscle tension, elevates your mood through the release of endorphins. Exercise enables you to concentrate more, and among other things, your overall sense of well-being increases.

Also having a good diet that is full of the necessary vitamins is important to your stress management. For example avoiding caffeine and eating more vegetables can be beneficial to your stress management.

If you feel stressed because you have a lack of time, then time management skills may be a useful stress management technique. Time management ensures that your goals are aligned with your priorities so that you are doing your first things first.

Probably one of the best stress management techniques is developing a support network. Have you ever noticed how much a problem seems to evaporate when you are able to talk it out with a friend? If you don't have a friend of family member you can talk to, then join a support group or consider seeing a therapist.

Click here to return from stress management techniques to relaxation techniques

Click here to return to the stress management homepage

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.