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Stress

Introduction

This purpose of this article is to provide general information on stress and several stress management techniques, but is not meant to replace consultation with a mental health professional. If you are concerned about the level of stress in your own life, or that of another, please feel free to contact our office to set up an appointment (263-2987).

Stress is the physical, emotional, or chemical response of the body to demands made upon it. Demands come in all shapes and sizes- driving in city traffic, working under tight deadlines, and fighting with a friend are all potentially stressful events. The amount of stress we experience has as much to do with our view of an event as with the actual event itself.

When stress accumulates with little or no relief, a chronic stress pattern develops, often resulting in health problems like high blood pressure, ulcers, increased susceptibility to infections, muscle aches and pains and heart disease.

Several Quick Stress Management Techniques

Managing your Time

Talk with Someone

Talk about what’s bothering you with a trusted friend, family member, or call the Employee Assistance Office at 263-2987 and ask to make an appointment with a counselor.

Physiological Factors

Exercise is a terrific stress reducer. Set aside time everyday to work off your stress. Getting enough sleep and eating a well-balanced diet are also excellent ways to fight stress.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Pay attention to your breathing. Notice how your abdomen and chest rise and fall with each other. Place your hand on the part of your abdomen or chest that seems to rise and fall the most with each breath. If this spot is in your chest, you are not utilizing the lower part of your lungs.

Inhale, filling first the lower part of your lungs, then the middle part, then the upper part. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Exhale slowly. Relax your abdomen and chest.

Exhale through your mouth keeping your mouth, tongue, and jaw relaxed. Relax as you focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.

The above information was adapted from the University of Massachusetts Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. We wish to thank them for permission to use this material.