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Reducing your stress level

Try to identify the things in life that cause you stress, and see if you can invent ways to manage those situations.

Your spiritual side

You may find your personal beliefs to be of great comfort and strength at this time.

You may find special meaning in your current beliefs, or feel the time is right for you to search for meaning in new beliefs.

If you are in the hospital, consider asking for a visit from the hospital chaplain. Chaplains are trained to help you reflect on issues of illness, healing and faith.

They help you focus on your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. They can also help you make connections with your own church, temple or religious organization if you have one.

If you must drive in rush hour traffic, can you listen to a relaxation tape? Keep the people around you that provide encouragement and support.

If managing all your new health concerns feels overwhelming, can you make a list of essentials and tape it to the refrigerator?

Some ways to cope with stress:

  • Avoid it. Don't drive in rush hour. Sidestep hassles. Avoid situations that make you feel anxious, competitive or emotionally drained.
  • Schedule things you enjoy. Visit with friends, watch sports, read on the front porch or go to a concert.
  • Take a break. If you're stuck in a stressful situation, take a few minutes alone to sit, breathe and consider. What must be done now? Things will look clearer in a few minutes.
  • Clear your mind. Concentrate on a peaceful, serene place and go there in your mind.
  • Pray or meditate.
  • Find help. Talk to family members, friends, your health care team, clergy, a therapist, a support group and look for community resources.
  • Breathe. Deep, slow breaths will help relax you.
  • Stretch. Move around. Shrug. Point your toes. This will help you relax.
  • Eat well and exercise. As you implement a healthier lifestyle all around, you may notice that it's easier for you to cope with stress, too.
  • Listen to relaxation music or your favorite music.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts