Healthy Ways to Handle Stress

                                                   Short – Term Methods

  • Relax where you are. Sit in a comfortable position; rest your hands on top of your navel. Breathe deeply through your nose, feeling your hands rise as your abdomen fills with air. Still inhaling, count to three and feel your chest expand. Hold your breath momentarily, and then release it. Repeat four times, but stop if you become light-headed.
  • Take a break. Get some exercise or fresh air (simply a quick, brisk walk outdoors if possible), or go somewhere private and yell or cry.
  • Ask yourself whether it’s worth being upset over the situation. You can choose to stay calm and ignore it. If the issue is important, confront it directly, talk it out with a sympathetic friend, or write it out in a letter you don’t send.
  • List all the things you think you need to do right away. Then prioritize the list and only do the top few. The rest can be first priority tomorrow.

                                                  Long – Term Methods

  • Seek your own stress level. Strive for excellence within your limits.
  • Choose your own goals. Don’t live out choices others have made for you.
  • Become part of a support system. Look out for yourself by letting friends help you when you are under too much stress and by helping them when they are overloaded.
  • Think positively. Your mind sends signals to your body to prepare for danger whenever you think about possible negative outcomes, and you become tense regardless of whether the event happens.
  • Exercise a sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself and laugh often. It renews one’s spirit.
  • Make decisions. You can learn to live with the consequences or change your mind. In general, any decision – even consciously deciding to do nothing – is better than none.
  • Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Expect some problems reaching your goals and realize that you can solve most of them with practice.
  • Accept what you cannot change. If a problem is beyond your control, you’re better off accepting it rather than spinning your wheels.
  • Anticipate potentially stressful situations and prepare for them. Decide whether the situation is one you should deal with, postpone, or avoid. If you decide to deal with the situation, practice what you will  say and do.
  • Live in the present. Learn from the past and move on.
  • Manage your time. Prioritizing and planning can keep demands of life from becoming overwhelming.
  • Enjoy diversions. Participate in a hobby you enjoy as a diversion and  a source of renewal… reading, music, exercising, painting, hiking, volunteer activities… whatever suits you.
  • Take care of your health. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and limit caffeine and alcohol.
  • Take time for yourself. Make yourself your priority. Find time to relax – even if only for a few minutes – every day.
  • Employ natural methods. Use relaxation exercises, massage, hot baths/showers, aromas, and/or animal therapy.
  • Exercise your spirituality-faith. Take time to pray, meditate, reflect, worship, or create a quiet space for yourself.
  • Practice the ABC’s of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). It is not necessarily the event that stresses us. It is what we think of/about the event. Try reframing (changing the way you think) about the event… looking for a positive aspect… and if done… expect a different consequence/new emotion compared to your first response.
  • Put your personal stress plan into action. You know what works for you… JUST DO IT! (Let someone you trust know about your plan and ask them to help you follow through with it. You will do the same for them.)

stressed cat

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Prepared by Carroll College Counseling Center

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How Vulnerable Are You to Stress?

Mark from 1 (almost always) to 5 (never), according to how much of the time each statement applies to you.

___ 1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.

___ 2. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at least 4 nights a week.

___ 3. I give and receive affection regularly.

___ 4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely.

___ 5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.

___ 6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.

___ 7. I take fewer than five alcoholic drinks a week.

___ 8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

___ 9. I have an income adequate to meet my basic expenses.

___10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.

___11. I regularly attend club or social activities.

___12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.

___13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.

___14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, and teeth).

___15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.

___16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems, e.g., chores, money, etc.

___17. I do something for fun at least once a week.

___18. I am able to organize my time effectively.

___19. I drink fewer than three cups of coffee (or tea or cola) a day.

___20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.
___ SUBTOTAL – 20 = ___ TOTAL


To get your score, add up the figures. Then, subtract 20. Any number over 5 indicates a vulnerability to stress. You are seriously vulnerable if your score is between 25 and 55, and extremely vulnerable if your score is over 55.
Adapted from a test developed by Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith at Boston University Medical Center.

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Stress Management for Women

Have a couple of good friends who send me all sorts of funny and clever e-mail forwards…  Some of them make my day! This one recently arrived in my inbox, and I have no author to give credit, but thought it would make you smile… 🙂


A young lady confidently walked around the room while discussing stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone just knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Is it half empty or half full?’  She fooled them all and asked how heavy it was. The answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued “…and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later the burden simply becomes too heavy to bear and we won’t be able to carry on.”

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest. When we’re refreshed, we can carry our burdens and we can deal with stress longer and better each time it’s practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. There will be another day…“

  1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue!
  2. Always keep your words soft and sweet just in case you have to eat them.
  3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  4. Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
  5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  8. Never buy a car you can’t push.
  9.  Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
  10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  12. The second mouse gets the cheese.
  13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  15. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
  16. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  17. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  18. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.
  19. And lastly, save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!

Have  nice day!

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