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Original Date of Publication: 08 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Karen Larson, M.D.,Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 18 Jun 2007

Original Source:

  • Learning to manage stress is important for good health
  • Job-related stress is a serious problem for many people
  • Stress reduction programs can help promote relaxation
  • Severe, chronic stress may require medication to reduce anxiety

Home » Stress » Management

Stress Management Techniques

It is estimated that as many as 75–90% of all visits to primary care physicians are stress-related. Dealing with stress is difficult, but in most cases, it is possible to learn how to manage stress.

Stress on the job is often a serious problem. To help manage daily stress on the job, it is important to learn how to manage time efficiently and learn how to deal with conflicts and difficult situations. When tension is elevated, stress often results.

Stress management techniques that may be beneficial include the following:

  • Avoid stressful situations whenever possible (e.g., leave on time for work and appointments).
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get an adequate amount of daily exercise.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Make time for enjoyable activities (e.g., reading, taking a walk, spending time with friends).
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Try to focus on a positive attitude.

Learning to relax, either on your own, or through stress reduction programs, is an important part of managing stress. Relaxation techniques include the following:

  • Autogenic therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (designed to teach patients how to use thinking to reduce physical and mental tension, stress, fear, anxiety, and pain).
  • Deep breathing (involves breathing slowly and deeply; used in many relaxation techniques)

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Imagery (involves using senses [sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound] and imagination to promote relaxation)
  • Massage therapy (uses touch [pressure, friction, manipulation] to promote relaxation and healing)
  • Meditation
  • Qi gong
  • Tai chi (ancient method of exercise characterized by soft, flowing movements)
  • Yoga (ancient method of exercise designed to restore balance and harmony in the body; increases flexibility and improves relaxation)

Autogenic therapy is based on developing a concentration and awareness of sensations throughout the body. This technique, which requires training by a qualified therapist, has been shown to improve relaxation and reduce stress.

Biofeedback involves using measuring devices to monitor responses (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, tension) within the body during certain activities, such as changes in position, breathing, and thinking. By using biofeedback, it is possible to learn which activities successfully reduce stress levels.

In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat chronic stress. There are several types of medication that are helpful for chronic anxiety. Talk to your health care provider if you feel you may need medication for stress.

Stress, Management reprinted with permission from
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