Stress management: Prevent setbacks

Stress has a way of creeping back into your life and making you miserable. These simple stress management strategies can help you keep stress at bay. By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're getting a handle on stress management. Perhaps you've mastered new time management techniques. Or you've learned to control your anger under pressure. Congratulations. To keep stress under control for good, though, you need to make a commitment to using the stress management techniques you've learned.

Practicing stress management

Stress management isn't a first-aid kit you pull out only in emergencies. Rather, it's a set of tools you can use every day to deal with the big and little issues that arise. It's a good idea to keep your tools sharp and even to add a few to your collection from time to time.

Be prepared for setbacks

Don't get discouraged if you occasionally fail to handle a stressful situation as well as you might like. Change takes time, and setbacks are part of the learning curve. Learn from the experience, and plan to clear that hurdle the next time. If you lapse back to your old ways, don't give up. Focus on what you can do to regain control of the situation.

Strategies for preventing setbacks

Stress is more likely to rear its ugly head if you're not taking care of yourself. So remember to put yourself first. These strategies can help you stay on course.

Make time for yourself

Just 10 to 20 minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress, as well as increase your tolerance to it. Listen to music, relax, and try to think of pleasant things or nothing at all. If you feel your muscles tense during your day, take a minibreak. Breathe deeply, inhale to the count of six, pause for a second and then slowly exhale.

Exercise regularly

Exercise can help keep depression and anxiety at bay. Just 30 minutes a day benefits the body and mind.

Jul. 23, 2013 See more In-depth