Stress Management Basics

What is Stress?

Stress is a reaction to any change to which we have to adapt. It is a natural and important part of life. Stress becomes a problem when it is too much and/or for too long.

Too Many Demands on Energy and Resources over a Long Period of Time + High Expectations for your Performance and Deep Commitment to Your Work + Few Actions Taken to Replenish your Capacities = BURNOUT

How to Manage Stress?

We can cope with stress by reducing our perceived stress level or increasing our ability to cope with stress. Common stress management techniques are deep breathing, muscle relaxation, visualization and meditation (e.g. mindfulness).

Stress Management Quick Tip:

TO RELAX. Deep Breathing

Throughout the day, take “mini-breaks”. Sit down and get comfortable.
Slowly take in a deep breath counting to 3; hold it counting to 6; and then exhale very slowly counting to 6. See picture for correct inhaling and exhaling body mechanics. At the same time, let your shoulder muscles droop, concentrate only on your breathing. Concentrating only in your breathing and clearing your mind is the key to this exercise. By controlling your breathing you control your heart rate and your body’s response.

Because we tend to take shallow breaths when anxious, deep breathing can make people feel lightheaded because of the increased oxygen intake. Please make sure you remain seated for at least 1 minute before getting up.

Notice your anxiety cues and use deep breathing as soon as possible. The sooner you use this stress management technique, the easier it is to prevent your anxiety to escalate.

Deep breathing is a powerful technique that with practice and guidance can even help you stop a panic attack. As with most things, with daily practice it gets easier to successfully apply this technique.

Resource and Reference: Write Your Own Prescription for Stress by Kenneth B. Matheny.