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Keys to Managing Stress

Stress is a physical and emotional response to overwhelming responsibilities, events, and changes. There are several keys to managing stress in your life. First, learn to recognize when you’re under stress and what triggers it. Next, find positive ways of responding to your triggers. Be sure to take good care of your health and make time to relax. Read on to learn more about the keys to managing stress.

Recognizing Stress

Learn to recognize your stress and find out what triggers it. To do this, try to be aware of how you feel each day. If you notice your heart racing or your muscles tightening, your body may be responding to stress. Ask yourself why. Then write down your answer. To keep the process going, make a list of all the things that trigger stressful feelings.

Living a Healthy Life

Keeping yourself healthy helps you deal better with stress. This means getting enough sleep, eating right, and getting regular physical activity. It also means knowing what you value most in life, and making time for yourself. You may find it helpful to keep a daily health journal to see how well you’re doing these things. Or, you can make it a practice to reflect on your stress management successes and struggles at the end of each day or week. If you don’t take good care of yourself, you may feel more stressed.

Responding Better to Stress

Life is full of stressors that you can’t control. But you can learn more positive ways of responding to them. This will help you feel more in control. To begin, try this tip: Think about how much effort you want to put into dealing with a certain stressor. Do you really need to handle that stressor? If so, decide on the best way to do this. Change what you can. But if the stressor isn’t important, or if it’s out of your control, then why worry about it?

Relaxing to Slow Down

Relaxing can help you prevent or relieve stressful feelings. This tip may help: When you’re facing a stressor, pause for a moment. Then take a deep breath and slowly breathe out as you count to 10. This will help clear your mind so you can respond to stress better. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on your back. Inhale deeply through your nose for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. After a few minutes of this deep breathing, tighten the muscles in your feet as you inhale. Notice how it feels. Hold the tension for a few seconds. Exhale while releasing the tension in these muscles. Repeat this exercise for each part of your body. This can help you relax and relieve muscle tension that is often brought on by stress. Other relaxation techniques you may find helpful include visualization and meditation. Activities, such as yoga and tai chi, may be helpful as well.

VA YouTube Yoga Videos for Veterans

Join a yoga class for Veterans right from your living room. Led by a physical therapist, this 60 minute class is broken up into 5 smaller videos. Learn how to do yoga poses, step-by-step. It’s done slowly so anyone can follow along. The poses are also taught in a seated position if it’s hard for you to get down on the floor.

These videos are located on the VA’s very own YouTube channel. Take your first yoga class today.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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