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Stress Management Strategies

  1. Exercise–regular, routine, and aerobic.

  2. Engage with support systems: peers, community, etc.

  3. Express yourself—talk it over with family, friends, counselors, clergy.

  4. Eat right—select a healthful diet high in fruits and vegetables. Reduce caffeine

    (2 1/2 cups of coffee doubles the epinephrine level). Consider comfort foods as


  5. Eliminate negative thinking. Embrace positive thoughts.

  6. Deep muscle relaxation.

  7. Therapeutic massage.

  8. Transcendental meditation may decrease your heart rate, lower your blood

    pressure, and reduce your oxygen consumption. It is considered a natural

    antidote to tension.

  9. Self-hypnosis

  10. Rhythmic breathing—deep, slow, relaxed breathing.

  11. Maintain regular and consistent sleep patterns.

  12. Biofeedback techniques can help up to 80% of migraine headache sufferers.

    Acupuncture can also be effective.

  13. Prayer and religious commitment

  14. Develop your potential and special interests: sports, literature, music, dance,

    languages, technical skills, crafts.

  15. Vacations, mini-vacations, or mind vacations.

  16. Balance work and recreation.

  17. Be aware of natural surroundings, observe nature, spend time in nature.

  18. Decorate to de-stress your home. Limit large blocks of red or yellow.

  19. Learn the value of giving away. Visual clutter can lead to mental clutter.

  20. Use anti-anxiety medication if appropriate.

  21. Identify goals and work toward them.

  22. Learn to be proactive, not reactive. Stop procrastinating.

  23. Learn positive problem-solving techniques.

    • Delay gratification

    • Take one step at a time—break problems into smaller parts

  24. Take direct action to address stressful situations.

  25. Minimize time spent with people who contribute to your psychological distress.

  26. Seek out people who contribute to your psychological health

  27. Incorporate humor into your life.

  28. Listen to music.

  29. Monitor your anger level—strive to reduce your anger if necessary.

  30. Consider the use of touch.

  31. Animals can help!

  32. Sit quietly for a few minutes each day.

  33. Select a lifestyle that fits your psychological needs. 


Created by Kathleen H. Staley, Ph.D., for the University Counseling Service at The University of Iowa, 3223 Westlawn S, 52242-1100, 319-335-7294