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Stress Management


CounselingStress Management

Stress is an essential part of life and the stress you experience, believe it or not, is largely under your control.

Did you know that we experience about 40-50 stress response per day but that we're so used to dealing with them that we ignore almost all of them? You already know a lot about managing stress!

The proper amount of health tension actually helps to improve performance.
Keeping the level of stress in you live at optimal levels is the key to stress management.

Time at High Stress   stress level

(Images: http://www.mindtools.com/)



Stress occurs when you perceive a threat and don't think you will be able to cope with that threat.

Stress begins in the mind then affects our emotions and in  turn produce some sort of physical or behavioral response:

behavior change

Breaking this chain at any point can help you control the effects stress has on you:

  • Stressor: Don't get yourself into situations that will cause unnecessary stress. Leave your house 10 minutes before class starts instead of 2,3 minutes before. Start studying sooner than the day before the exam. Write your significant other's birthday down so you don't forget, basically plan ahead.

  • Beliefs and Thoughts: 
    • Since no amount of planning, no matter how careful, can ever block all the stress from our lives, our second line of defense is your self-image. Rid of yourself of the negative and distorted view that you cannot handle anything. 
    • Avoid perfectionism, disaster, or "I should've...." type thinking. Nothing will ever be perfect, things are rarely as bad as we make them out to be, and "I should've...." only leads to guilt and frustration. 
    • The more positive outlook you have on life, the less stress will be able to bring about a negative physical response. The more capable you think you are to deal with stressors, the less control those stressors will have over you.

  • Emotional Response: Sometimes planning is not enough and our pessimism concerning the situation is just too overwhelming. The important thing now is not to panic. Getting overly emotional will only lead to the negative physical response we are trying to avoid. Take a step back, breathe, and look at your options. 

Once we are able to recognize where the stress in our lives comes from and how it affects us, we are better able to control the stressors and our reactions to it. Taking control of how stress affects us is an important part of taking control of our lives.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."


A Few Signs That You May be Experiencing Stress

  • Muscle Tension and Bracing Habits
  • Aggressiveness
  • Disrupted Breathing Patterns
  • Cold, Sweaty Hands
  • Negative Self-talk
  • Muscle-contraction or "Tension" Headaches


Some Ways to Relieve Stress
  • Determine how real the actual stressor is by assessing the worst possible outcome, then determine the manageability of this outcome. Accept it if necessary, change it if possible
  • Take 2-3 deep breaths, exhale through your mouth, and let jaw and shoulders fall while you are exhaling
  • Imagine a wave of warmth flowing down your arms and legs with each breath you exhale
  • Verbalize a positive self-statement 
  • Get enough sleep so that you awaken naturally with an alarm 
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every other day
  • Nurture the healthy, social relationships with others important to you in your life. This can include renewing contact with acquaintances from the past or forming new friendships 
  • Temporary avoidance of the problem or distraction
  • Pray or seek guidance from your religious beliefs and leaders

"If you can live with the worst possible outcome,
then it is not worth worrying about."