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Stress Management: Brief Version

Why manage stress?

Stress can harm your body, your relationships, and how well you do at work or school. You can learn ways to manage stress so that it does less harm.

What causes stress?

Going to school, starting a new job, marrying, raising a family, being promoted, and growing old can all cause stress. Stress can also come from unusual events.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of stress can vary for each person. Here are some things to watch for:

  • you feel tired all of the time
  • you eat more or less than normal
  • you drink more alcohol, smoke more, or use drugs more often
  • you have to go to the bathroom more often or less often than normal
  • you have aches and pains not caused by exercise
  • your sleep habits have changed
  • you see other changes in the way you act or feel
  • you feel nervous or angry more than normal

How long do the effects of stress last?

Stress is part of life. You can't avoid it. But you can change the way you react toward stress. If you don't handle stress in a healthy way, you are more likely to have health problems.

How can I take care of myself?

Take care of yourself by looking at ways you may deal with stress. Then try to find healthier ways.

There are many things you can do to help reduce the effects of stress on your life. You can:

  • Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.
  • Do something just for yourself. Get a new haircut or a massage.
  • Look at what upsets you. Is there a way to avoid these things? If not, try to find ways to change how you think about them.
  • Learn ways to relax. Talk with people who support you. Listen to music. Watch movies. Take walks. Breathe deeply. Picture pleasant things in your mind.
  • Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink less coffee and alcohol.
  • Simplify your life. Don't try to do too much. Set goals you can achieve. Learn to say "no."
  • Get professional help with the really stressful events in your life.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-01-29
Last reviewed: 2011-05-18
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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