Stress Management Techniques

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated February 25, 2009)

Everyone's lives are full of time- and energy-demanding stressors that can cause illness, irritability, or burnout. All these things can lead to a lack of motivation, referred to as avmotivational syndrome, or depression. The general population often seems to turn to unhealthy rituals to "relieve" these stresses of everyday life; excess of gambling or alcohol or any use of drugs for anything other than appropriate medical purposes are often used to help individuals forget their stresses and worries. Believe it or not, there are healthier and more effective ways of dealing with stress. Some turn to religion, family, hobbies or personal time off, all of which are effective and entirely appropriate; however, constructive lifestyle changes can make permanent changes that can supplement said outlets. Learning to prioritize, mange your time, exercise, set goals and replace unhealthy outlets with healthier ones can help make this constructive life style change.

Time management is key in managing stress and is supplemented by prioritizing tasks on a "need to," "would be nice to," or "simply want to" basis. Eating right, getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercising regularly (at least sixty minutes daily, according to new recommendations) will help make any lifestyle changes more effective.

One key to dealing with stress is to replace unhealthy choices with healthy ones. Rather than choosing to not talk about stresses, you should have regular healthy discussions with either a loved one or a professional counselor. A verbal outlet will stop these stressors from festering and getting out of control.

Next, you should consider the hobbies or outlets that you are already implementing. If they are unhealthy it is not enough to simply stop doing them, you must replace them with something healthy and constructive. For example, if your "hobby" is professional channel surfing (couch potato league), you should consider learning a new talent like baking or playing an instrument or setting a goal to finally read all those Barnes and Noble classics. Goal setting can help make your hobbies and outlets effective and motivating; set goals to spend more time with family and more time learning and living your religion, if that is an outlet for you.

A wise philosopher once suggested, "If you do not like something, change it; if you cannot change it, change the way you think about it." As simple a fix as it sounds, attitude is often everything in dealing with life. When you decide to change your attitude the above suggestions will be easier to accomplish and will be far more effective in not only relieving stress, but doing it in a constructive rather than destructive way.

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