For the majority of us, stress management is at the core of many of the presenting symptoms we treat. We know how to work with the psychological aspects of stress, but it helps to provide some other stress tips too. You can teach your patients to incorporate these into their everyday lives and to effectively prevent adverse stress from building up in the first place.
Remember: Eustress is good stress. It helps us to function effectively and to meet deadlines. It gets adrenaline and endorphins moving and can prove to be motivational.
However, when we start to interpret the eustress situation as threatening that's when good stress becomes bad with the resulting potential damage to psychological and physiological health.
- Teach your patients simple breathing techniques such as 7/11 breathing (repeatedly breathing in through your nose for seven seconds and breathing out through your nose for 11 seconds)
- Teach your patients to become aware of muscular tension through direct suggestion and to trigger a relaxation response with a cue word such as 'relax'
- Encourage your patient to practice self-hypnosis
- It is also useful to network and refer your patients for massage, aromatherapy etc.
- At lunch get out of the office and go for a walk.
- When on the phone, get up and walk around.
Create a regular pattern of exercise: Walking, running, swimming, working out at the gym etc. all work off the effects stress. However, be aware that playing competitive games can sometimes add to stress.
- Remember that after the exercise should come relaxation: sitting in a sauna or steam room for example, or practicing self-hypnosis.
- Whenever encouraging anyone to increase their exercise always ensure that they are fit to do so - a physical checkup at their doctors should be encouraged.
Look at something relaxing: Pleasant photos, artwork, even a plant can provide a relaxing and peaceful focus of attention.
- Encourage your patient to focus away from their computer screen or paperwork at regular intervals and focus on a pleasant object. This will give their eyes and mind some needed relaxation.
- A tidy desk can bring a sense of order to a stressed mind that helps a person to feel as if they are coping better.
- Make sure 'me' time refers to me! That means doing something for yourself. Setting aside half an hour to do something that you like and enjoy is invaluable.
- Remember to encourage your patient to take a healthy option when eating. The quality of the fuel you take in is reflected in the quality of the energy you put out.