Skill Prescriptions for Stress Management

Below you will find some Skill Prescriptions to help you manage stress. For more detailed instructions and worksheets to improve your stress management, check out Chapter 9: Stress Management for You and the People Who Care About You or Chapter Chapter 12: Seven Secrets of Happy People in Well to Do: A Guide to Take Charge, Set Goals, and Improve Your Health.

Examine Your Thought Habits

Sometimes we get into bad thought habits of assuming the worst, being suspicious of others and guessing at what other people are thinking about us. Take some time to examine your thought patterns when you are feeling stress. Are you telling yourself things about the situation that might not be true? Can you prove that they are true? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a kind of counseling that teaches you to examine these thought patterns that lead to undesired behaviors and can help you learn to form better thought habits. If you struggle with frequent anger, consider counseling. Ask potential counselors whether they can teach you these techniques.

Get Some Sleep

So many of us are not getting enough sleep.  Sleep is vital to helping your body repair itself from all the stressful things you do during the day.  It also helps you process the things you have learned and to feel focused again.  if you are struggling with the length or quality of your sleep, take a look at this site to learn more about good sleep habits.

News and Media Fasts

The news of the day is often presented in a violent and disturbing way. Even the shows and movies we watch for entertainment are often violent. If you struggle with stress management, consider taking a few weeks off from all news and violent programming. You may find that this helps you to feel calmer and less anxious.

Learn to Say “No”

The author Paolo Coehlo once said “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” This is good advice. When you feel overwhelmed, it may be because you put your desire to please others before taking care of yourself. Usually this leads to increased anxiety and fatigue. The next time someone asks you to do something or to give your time, check in with yourself and really think about the consequences of that “yes”. If they are not desirable or will cause you more stress, say “no”. It will be awkward at first but will get easier with practice.


Cut Back Where you Can

Take a look at the obligations you have both socially and at work. Consider if there are things that you can take a break from just for a little while so you can work on self care and experience less stress.

Keep Your Friends Close

They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about those people.  Do the people you spend the most time with seem to value you, support you and make you a better person.  If not, take some time to consider whether anyone in your life fits that description.  If so, spend some time with him or her.  If not, seek opportunities to spend time with people who do.  Being reminded that you are a good and worthwhile individual makes life seem less difficult.