Stress Management Tips & Resources

Everyone handles stress differently. What might be too much stress for some, might not affect another. Too much stress can cause physical and emotional conditions. If you believe you are experiencing chronic stress, contact a behavioral health professional to help you with a plan to address prolonged symptoms of stress. Find help through the StarkMHAR Care Network »

Below are some tips or suggestions you might consider as you assess your situation, discover a healthy work/life balance and understand how stress is affecting you:

Deep breaths: Try Meditation

meditationIt’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.

Some types of meditation primarily involve concentration—repeating a phrase or focusing on the sensation of breathing, allowing the parade of thoughts that inevitably arise to come and go. Concentration meditation techniques, as well as other activities such as tai chi or yoga, can induce the well-known relaxation response, which is very valuable in reducing the body’s response to stress.



Create: CONSIDER Coloring

adult-coloring-webLike meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment. Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.


When we focus on coloring, it blocks our brains from focusing on our troubles. Because it’s a centering activity, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is involved with our fear response, actually gets a little bit of a rest. It ultimately has a calming effect over time.


By focusing on the task of ‘colouring between the lines’ we can change our ‘brainwaves’ from being in a continual state of ‘BETA’ (pressured and stressed) to a more relaxed state of ‘ALPHA’.



Play: Fidget toys at work!

rainbow springResearchers at New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering are studying a group of 40 workers who use various “fidget widgets” to improve focus, ease anxiety, and boost creative thinking.


One oft-cited study found that doodling also seems to boost memory; its author hypothesized that doodling might help keep people from daydreaming during a boring task. It’s possible that stress toys could, in a similar way, keep people’s minds from wandering.



Eat and Drink: Healthy Foods

For a healthy diet, eat with mental health in mind, too. You’ve probably heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” but what exactly does that mean? Put simply, food is fuel, and the kinds of foods and drinks you consume determine the types of nutrients in your system and impact how well your mind and body are able to function. For tips on what to drink and eat »


Studies and research are showing diet may be as important to mental health as it is to physical health. While the role of diet and nutrition in our physical health is undeniable, the influence of dietary factors on mental health has been less considered. That may be starting to change.


When most people think of boosting their brain power, they think of learning something new or engaging in thought-provoking debate. As it turns out, one of the best ways to improve your mental health is through your gut. Like your brain, the gut has its own nervous system, which sends information to the brain via the vagus nerve. This helps explain why you might feel queasy when you’re nervous or stressed. Just as the brain impacts the gut, what we put in our gut can impact the functioning of the brain. Here are five foods to help the mind work at its best »



Exercise: Your mind and body

Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.


Rough day at the office? Take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. For 13 mental health benefits of exercise »



MORE Stress Management RESOURCES

American Psychological Association – Stress  Stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation, such as being stuck in traffic. Or it can last a long time if you’re dealing with relationship problems, a spouse’s death or other serious situations.

American Psychological Association – Stress Tip Sheet  In today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, stress has become a fact of life. Stress can cause people to feel overwhelmed or pushed to the limit.

American Psychological Association – 5 Tips to Help Manage Stress  Stress occurs when you perceive that demands placed on you — such as work, school or relationships — exceed your ability to cope. Some stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines. However, an extreme amount of stress…

American Psychological Association – Managing Stress for a Healthy Family  As the nation continues to face high-levels of stress, families are susceptible to mounting pressures from finances and work. Raising a family can be rewarding and demanding even in healthy social and economic climates, so stressful times can make things much more challenging.

American Psychological Association – Coping with stress at work  Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do.

Mental Health America – Stress is a natural part of life. The expressions are familiar to us, “I’m stressed out,”  “I’m under too much stress,” or “Work is one big stress.”

Mental Health America – Coping with Stress Checklist The key to coping with stress is to determine your personal tolerance levels for stressful situations. You must learn to accept or change stressful or tense situations whenever possible.

NAMI – Managing Stress Everyone experiences stress. Sometimes it can help you focus and get the task at hand done. But when stress is frequent and intense, it can strain your body and make it impossible to function.

NAMI – For Family Members and Caregivers – Taking Care of Yourself To be able to care for the people you love, you must first take care of yourself.

NAMI Blog – Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season.

NAMI Blog – 7 Ways to Help you De-Stress  Music can be cathartic and therapeutic to a stressed-out mind. Studies show that music not only reduces stress, it also boosts your body’s immune system function, which can help your body cope with stress in the future.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Economic Stress  Whether we live in urban, suburban, or rural settings, we all face the reality of how economic changes affect us, our families, and our communities. We might be laid off, not able to find a job, or have difficulty supporting our families.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Military and Veteran Families and Children  Although most military children are healthy and resilient, and may even have positive outcomes as a result of certain deployment stressors, some groups are more at risk.

SAMHSA – Stress Management  Stress is a pervasive problem for most Americans — one that affects a person’s health and vulnerability to disease. In fact, between 60-80% of visits to healthcare providers in the U.S. are related to stress.