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Stress is a normal part of life, and there are many ways to manage it. As you begin to understand more about how stress affects you as an individual, you will develop your own ideas to help relieve tension. Here are some tools to help you get started. You can also check out the helpful tools on our YouTube page.
Help is available for managing stress! If you would like to make an appointment to talk with a therapist at?Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS)?please call us at 617-824-8595.
- Take a Deep Breath!?
Stress often causes us to breathe shallowly and this in turn almost always causes more stress! Mentally scan your body for physical tension. The next time you feel “uptight”, try taking a minute to slow down and breathe deeply. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to exhale – slowly!
- Manage Time
One of the greatest sources of stress is poor time management. Plan ahead. Make a reasonable schedule for yourself and include time for stress reduction as a regular part of your schedule. Make a list of what tasks you have to do, then do one at a time, checking them off as they’re completed. Give priority to the most important ones and do those first. If a particularly unpleasant task faces you, tackle it early in the day and get it over with. Schedule time for both work and recreation. Recognize when you are most stressed and allow yourself some reasonable breaks.
- Connect with Others
Being by yourself is fine, but being lonely is different. A good way to combat sadness, boredom and loneliness is to seek out activities involving others. You may also choose to offer your services to neighborhood or volunteer organizations.
- Talk it Out
When you feel something, try to express it. “Bottled up” emotions increase frustration and stress. Share your feelings. Perhaps a friend, family member, teacher, clergy person or counselor at the ECAPS can help you see your problem in a different light. Talking with someone else can help clear your mind of confusion so that you can focus on problem solving. Putting problems on paper can assist you in clarifying the situation and allow you a new perspective.
- Take a “Minute” Vacation
Create a quiet scene. Imagining a quiet country scene can take you out of the turmoil of a stressful situation. When you have the opportunity, take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable. Notice all the details of your chosen place, including pleasant sounds, smells and temperature. Or change your mental “channel” by reading a good book or playing relaxing music to create a sense of peace and tranquility. Try changing the things you say to yourself. Be positive and supportive (e.g. “I can do this!”)
- Monitor Your Physical Comfort
Be as physically comfortable as the situation will allow. Wear comfortable clothing. If it’s too hot, go somewhere where it’s not. If your computer screen causes eye strain, take a break. Don’t wait until your discomfort turns into a real problem.
- Get Physical
Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Academic life is often sedentary and sitting around can mean letting stress accumulate in your body. When you feel nervous, angry or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity. Try to find something you enjoy and make regular time for it. Remember your body and mind work together.
- Take Care of Your Body
Take care of yourself. Healthy eating and adequate sleep fuels your mind as well as your body. Avoid consuming too much caffeine and sugar. Take time to eat breakfast in the morning. It really will help keep you going through the day! If you are irritable and tense from lack of sleep or not eating right, you will be less able to “go the distance” in dealing with stressful situations.
Maintain your sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at yourself. Laughter is good for you!
- Know Your Limits
A major source of stress is when people over commit their time. Make sure you are not scheduling activities back to back. Take some time for yourself between activities and ensure you schedule recreation.
Studies consistently suggest that stress management has benefits for your psychological, physical, and social well-being.? Check out the tips on this page, as well as our Relaxation Place in our office. The Relaxation Place is free and you can come de-stress with our biofeedback machine, “Happy Lights” for some sunshine in the grey winter months, meditation tools, or just to have a quiet place for yourself. You can find out more or reserve 30 minutes in the Relaxation Place by calling the front desk at 617-824-8595.