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Stress management

Definition

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension.

Information

Emotional stress usually occurs when a person feels the situation is difficult or challenging. Physical stress is a physical reaction of the body to various triggers. The pain experienced after surgery is an example of physical stress. Physical stress often leads to emotional stress, which often occurs in the form of physical stress, such as stomach cramps, for example.

Stress management means trying to control and reduce the tension that occurs in stressful situations. This is done by making emotional and physical changes. The degree of stress and the desire to make the changes will determine how much improvement takes place.

ASSESSING STRESS

Attitude: A person's attitude can influence whether or not a situation or emotion is stressful. A person with a negative attitude will often report more stress than would someone with a positive attitude.

Diet: A poor diet puts the body in a state of physical stress and weakens the immune system. As a result, a person can be more likely to get infections. A poor diet can mean making unhealthy food choices, not eating enough, or not eating on a normal schedule. This form of physical stress also decreases the ability to deal with emotional stress because not getting the right nutrition may affect the way the brain processes information.

Physical activity: Not getting enough physical activity can put the body in a stressed state. Physical activity has many benefits, including promoting a feeling of well-being.

Support systems: Almost everyone needs someone in their life they can rely on when they are having a hard time. Having little or no support makes stressful situations even more difficult to deal with.

Relaxation: A person with no outside interests, hobbies, or other ways to relax may be less able to handle stressful situations. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night also helps a person cope with stress.

AN INDIVIDUAL STRESS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

Physical activity:

Nutrition:

Social support:

Relaxation:

RESOURCES

If these stress management techniques do not work for you, professionals, such as licensed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists can help. Schedule time with one of these mental health professionals to help you learn stress management strategies, including relaxation techniques. Support groups are also available in most communities.

References

Larzelere MM, Jones GN. Stress and health. Prim Care. 2008;35:839-856.

Ahmed SM, Lemkau JP, Hershberger PJ. Psychosocial influences on health. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 3.



Review Date: 2/24/2014
Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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