Developing A Stress Management Plan

A stress management plan does not necessarily require a lot of time and energy. Many times it is just making a commitment to reduce the level of stress in your life, by taking a few small, but meaningful, steps toward improving your overall health and well-being.

  1. A good place to begin your stress management plan is by identifying 5 activities that you really enjoy participating in. These can be anything from reading a good book, to taking a long walk on the beach. If you have hobbies that you enjoy spending time on, be sure to include these in your list. Other options could be things you have always wanted to do, but never got around to, or things that you used to enjoy, but haven’t had the time for lately. The one stipulation is that these are activities which are not related to work, or another source of stress in your life.
  2. Make a list of at least 2 things that you almost always do, that you either probably shouldn’t be doing, or can live without doing. This list can include things like bringing work home from the office, doing your teenagers laundry, cooking huge meals during the week, after working all day etc… These are things that will not cause the world to fall apart, if you stop doing them.
  3. Make a list of at least 2 things that you probably should have done by now, but didn’t. Things you have been putting off, or problems you have not been dealing with directly. If you’ve been meaning to call your insurance agent for the past few weeks, but haven’t, if you’ve been thinking about dusting the cobwebs on the front entry way for a month, but haven’t, write those things down.

At this point your 3 lists will now become a goal sheet. Your stress management plan will look like this

This week I will:

-Spend at least 15 minutes every day doing one of the things I enjoy. (List the 5 things you wrote on list 1.)

-Eliminate 2 needless tasks from my list of things to do. (List the 2 things that you wrote on list 2.)

-Tackle 2 things that I have been putting off for a while. (List the 2 things that you wrote on list 3.)

Visualization Techniques For Stress Management

Visualization techniques have been demonstrated to improve physical and mental health, speed the healing process, and effectively manage pain. They can also help prevent illness, reduce stress, and increase an individual’s overall health and well-being.

Different visualization techniques can be used in the treatment of stress, and stress related illness. For general stress management, begin by identifying where in the body you feel the stress. Do you have muscle tension in the back and neck? Is your stomach “knotted”? Do you experience a dull or throbbing headache? Different people experience stress in different ways.
Once you have identified where in the body you experience stress you can use visualization techniques to reduce the stress, as well as the physical symptoms and you experience while under stress.

One useful visualization technique involves placing your hand over the affected area of your body. Breathe deeply, with your eyes closed. Feel your heart rate slow to a calm and steady pace. Visualize the stress in your mind as an image, with size shape and form. It may appear as a black ball which is located in the area of your body that you feel stress. It may also appear in another form, such as a square, circle, rectangle etc… As you concentrate on the image of the stress (which may or may not be accompanied by physical pain) visualize (or picture yourself) moving the image.

It may not happen right away, but keep working at it, until you can get the image to move. Even the smallest movement is an accomplishment. As you begin to be able to move the image, be aware that you have control of it, and more importantly, know that IT does not have control over you. Visualize the image that symbolizes your stress moving further and further away from its original location, until eventually you are able to remove it completely from your body.

Another technique along this same line is to visualize the stress you are feeling, and imagine that it is getting smaller, and smaller. Eventually the image will shrink to a tiny spot, and then disappear all together. This technique is very powerful in helping to manage the physical symptoms that result from stress.

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