Ten Ways to Handle Stress

(adapted from the Palliative Care Patient and Family Counseling Manual, Catholic Community Services, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

LOOK FOR CAUSES – Who or what is at the bottom of the stress? Dealing directly with the person or issue is typically a good approach.

  1. EXAMINE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS – What can you do to add warmth, communication, and mutual support into them?
  2. EVALUATE – Not every argument is worth trying to win. Defend values that are important, but learn to ignore lesser issues.
  3. BE POSITIVE – If you fail, don’t concentrate on the failure. Be intentional about recalling past successes.
  4. SEEK ADVICE – Confide in a friend; this can loosen tension in incredible ways. Seek professional counsel when needed. You’re worth it.
  5. DO SOMETHING FOR OTHERS – Reaching out may take the focus off you and reduce the stress that can be caused by brooding. Try doing at least one thing for someone each day.
  6. DO ONE THING AT A TIME – You’ll get more done with less hassle when you concentrate on each task as it comes.
  7. LEARN TO PACE YOURSELF – You can’t operate in high gear all the time. And you can’t just “sit there” all the time, either. Take a break. Go for a walk. Look out the window. Do something else.
  8. EXERCISE – Physical exercise can refresh you after heavy emotional strains. Reading a book can relax you after physical action.
  9. CREATE A QUIET PLACE – Take time to meditate or pray or journal. Recent studies of meditation techniques and yoga show that we can train ourselves to relax.

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