Many of the most common long-term stressors—family illness, recovery after injury, career pressures—often arise without warning and simultaneously. Stress management is particularly valuable if your family has a history of hypertension and other forms of heart disease.
Identify the cause.You may find that your stress arises from something that’s easy to correct. A psychologist can help you define and analyze these stressors, and develop action plans for dealing with them.
Monitor your moods. If you feel stressed during the day, write down what caused it along your thoughts and moods. Again, you may find the cause to be less serious than you first thought.
Make time for yourself at least two or three times a week. Even ten minutes a day of “personal time” can help refresh your mental outlook and slow down your body’s stress response systems. Turn off the phone, spend time alone in your room, exercise, or meditate to your favorite music.
Walk away when you’re angry.Before you react, take time to mentally regroup by counting to 10. Then look at the situation again. Walking or other physical activities will also help you work off steam.
Analyze your schedule. Assess your priorities and delegate whatever tasks you can (e.g., order out dinner after a busy day, share household responsibilities). Eliminate tasks that are “shoulds” but not “musts.”
Set reasonable standards for yourself and others. Don’t expect perfection.