The Operating Manual for the Self tm

Stress and Stress Management

Let’s define stress and take a look at some stress management techniques.

Stress is a feeling of discomfort in our bodies.  It can be mild or an intense feeling of pain.  It can be brief or chronicChronic stress has seriously destructive effects on physical and mental health.

Stress usually occurs as part of our response to an event.  However, we can cause ourselves stress through our own behavior.

Stress management involves learning a group of skills that allow us to cope with, manage and ultimately transform stress.

An extremely useful stress management technique is the ability to immediately relax your body. This relaxation can be initiated by a deep breath.  In order to learn how to do this, practice relaxing your body and breathing deeply.    Use the following technique.

1. Lie down comfortably on your back.

2. Tense the muscles in your feet for 10 seconds.  Then let go of the tension and relax.  During your relaxation take three deep breaths making sure that you draw air into your lungs using your abdomen and diaphragm.

3. Next, move to your calves.  Follow the same procedure.

4.  Work your way up your body to your head, tensing, relaxing and breathing.

When you feel under stress and your body is tense, take one, two or three deep breaths and let go of the tension. By using this technique you will greatly enhance your sense of well being and your feeling of control over your physical and emotional state.

Other Stress Management Techniques

1. Developing new attitudes and beliefs to increase flexibility and bring peace of mind.
2. Learning assertiveness skills that increase our personal power and give us more choices.
3. Using time management skills to gain greater control of our day and week.
4. Developing mindfulness which increases our awareness to obtain greater control of
ourselves and our life.
5. Deciding what is important to us through values clarification and living in conjunction with
those values.
6. Using exercise to release tension and improve our physical health and mental health.

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments about stress or other mental health concerns.  Professional help is useful when we are stuck, because our own solutions to problems do not seem to work.