Tips for Handling Stress
from the 2009 Stress in America Los Angeles Report
The American Psychological Association’s annual survey reveals that nationally nearly a quarter (24 percent) of adults reported experiencing high levels of stress, and half (51 percent) reported moderate stress levels in 2009. Americans continued to report that they rely on sedentary activities and unhealthy behaviors to manage their stress (49 percent listen to music, 41 percent read and 36 percent watch television or movies). The California Psychological Association offers these tips to help manage chronic stress:
• Set limits. List all of the projects and commitments that aremaking you feel overwhelmed. Identify those things that you absolutely must do in order to survive. Cut back on anything non-essential.
• Tap into your support system. Reach out to a close friend and/ or relative. Let them know you are having a tough time and accept their support and guidance. There is no need to face challenging life circumstances alone.
• Make one health-related commitment. One small step like cutting back on your caffeine consumption can have a positive effect. Studies show that without caffeine, people report feeling more relaxed, sleeping better and having more energy. Regular aerobic exercise, such as taking a brisk walk can lessen your anxiety and reduce your stress.
• Strive for a positive outlook. Looking at situations more positively, seeing problems as opportunities, having realistic expectations, and refuting negative thoughts are all important aspects of staying positive and trying to minimize your stress.
• Seek additional help. If feelings of chronic stress persist, or you are experiencing hopelessness or trouble getting through your daily routine, seek consultation with a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist. Psychologists are trained to help you develop strategies to manage stress effectively and make behavioral changes to help impove your overall health. For additional information on managing stress, visit http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/.