Public Health

Stress Recovery Strategies for Facing Fear

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  1. Create a “worry space”: Rather than worrying incessantly throughout the day, set aside a specific time (15-30 minutes) and place (not where you normally sit or sleep) when you will do all your worrying.
  2. Identify your “worry triggers”: Notice when and what causes you to experience anxiety. This will help you recognize your triggers so when fired you can more quickly intervene.
  3. Change your perspective – Changing your thoughts can change your feelings, because feelings follow thoughts. Exaggerating something in your mind, focusing on a small detail, or asking others how they view a situation can all help to change your perspective.
  4. Meditate/Pray: Stress can derail your immune system, but not if you spend part of each day engaged in some form of meditation. Use meditation, prayer and/or intentional relaxation to help bring peace and calm into your life. For some, this can be as effective as exercise in reducing the effects of stress.
  5. Breathe deeply: Practice deep breathing when feeling stressed; this technique establishes optimal levels of oxygen in your body which sooths the nerves and enables you to think more clearly so you are better prepared to deal with your feelings and their cause.
  6. Watch Your Words: Train your mind to think and speak positively to keep off the path of constant worry. Notes of gratitude, random acts of kindness and making note of one positive experience each day can all help to stay positive.
  7. Move Your Body: When you feel anxious energy in your body, get up and move. Often just a couple of minutes of exercise, whether walking, doing jumping jacks or running in place, helps reduce the feeling of anxiety and stress.
  8. Replace Negative Thinking: Replace negative habits with one or more positive habits. At the same time, replace negative thinking with a positive approach. For example, “I’m glad I have_____” instead of, “I wish I had_______”.
  9. Stretching: Both blood pressure and inflammation can be increased by stress. Learning to focus your attention on breathing, posture, and positive thoughts has been found to reduce both.
  10. Humor: Nothing cuts stress quite like laughter. Find funny things that will make you laugh when stressed. Comedy movies, joke books, funny cat videos on the internet… use whatever works for you!

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Attribution: Excerpted with permission from The Stress Recovery Effect by Nick Hall, PhD and Dick Tibbits, DMin, AdventHealth Press, 2015.

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