Stress Management: A Primer

You have more control over stress than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.

Everyone has a unique response to stress, so no single method works for everyone or in every situation. Experiment with different techniques and strategies to find what makes you feel calm and in control.


Instant Stress Stoppers: (You may need different techniques for different situations)

  • Count to 10 before you speak.
  • Take three to five deep breaths.
  • Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you’ll handle it later.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Say “I’m sorry” if you make a mistake.
  • Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid being late.
  • Break down big problems into smaller parts like answering one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.
  • Drive in the slow lane; avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.
  • Smell a rose, hug a loved one, pet your dog, or smile at your neighbor.
  • Engage in Positive Self-Talk:
    • “I’ve never done it before” / “It’s an opportunity to learn something new.”
    • “It’s too complicated” / “I’ll tackle it from a different angle.”
    • “I don’t have the resources” / “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
    • “There’s no way it will work” / “I can try to make it work.”
    • “I’m not going to get any better at this” / “I’ll give it another try.”
    • “Everything is going wrong” / “I can handle this if I take one step at a time.”
    • “I hate it when this happens” / “I know how to deal with this; I’ve done it before.”
  • Schedule rest and relaxation every day; don’t allow other obligations to encroach.