Tips for Positive Stress Management

Agnesian HealthCare Work and Wellness

Here are a few tips for positive stress management:

Know What Stress Is

Stress is our physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses to changes that occur in life or to demands that are placed on us. Stress is our response to changes and events.

Know the Signs of a Stress Reaction


Muscle tension

• Racing/pounding heart

• Rapid breathing

• Nausea

• Headache

Chronic fatigue

• Appetite changes

Sleep disturbance


• Anger

• Irritability

• Easily frustrated

• Mood swings

• Hostility

• Feelings of panic

• Anxiety

• Worry


• Confusion

• Forgetfulness

• Negative self-talk

• Poor concentration

• Boredom

• Indifference

• “Spacing out”


• Clenching fists

• Gritting teeth

• Overeating

• Substance abuse

• Nail biting

• Physical violence to others or property


• Crying spells

• Impulsiveness

Know the Sources of Stress


It bombards you with the demands to adjust. You must endure weather, noise, traffic, pollution, etc.


You must cope with:

• Deadlines

• Financial concerns

• Presentations

• Disagreements

• Demands for your time and attention

• Balancing personal and work relationships with self-care


• Illness

• Aging

• Menopause

• Accidents

• Lack of exercise and proper diet

• Sleep disturbance

• Expected and unexpected physical changes


Our cognitive responses (self-talk) to stressful events will either increase or decrease the stress response.

Managing Stress Before it Manages You

Prepare and Prevent 


• Plan travel time

• Listen to music

• Change the look of your office

• Keep your car running well, etc.


• Learn to communicate and resolve conflicts with others in a positive manner

• Work on balancing family/work time

• Financial planning

• Learn time management skills

• Assess your personal values (what we do is what we value)


• Exercise

• Eat well

• See a medical professional regularly


• Assess and monitor your self-talk (“Is your glass half full or half empty?”)

• Assess your irrational beliefs (“I must always make everyone happy.”)

Responding to Signs of Stress


• Deep breathing

Progressive muscle relaxation

• Stretching

• Exercise

• Get a massage

• Take a warm bath


• Talk your feelings out with others you trust

• Laugh

• Cry

• Escape by reading

• Do something you enjoy


• Think positively

• Look for opportunity in a crisis or a challenge

• Look at what you can do and not at what you can’t do

• Make positive self-statements


• Avoid using substances to deal with stress

• Seek out others to talk to

• Eat well

• Take care of yourself physically by exercising

• Do not use physical violence toward other people or property

• Implement muscle relaxation techniques

For additional assistance with personal or work issues, contact Agnesian HealthCare’s Work and Wellness Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (800) 458-8183.

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