Methods to cope with the effects of stress. People find relief in many ways; the “best” are the ones that work for each individual and that the person can and will use. Stress reduction techniques include
• Breathing exercises: Calm, deep, slow breaths help to slow the body’s pace and ease anxiety. Drawing a series of deep breaths at frequent intervals throughout the day can restore a sense of control and groundedness.
• Meditation: Quiet reflection and focus still the mind and relax the body. There are many forms of meditation, from the structured methods of Transcendental Meditation to the informal practice of taking a few minutes to concentrate on the breathing.
• Exercise: Activities that put the body in motion help to dissipate energy the body has readied for fight or flight, returning body functions to normal. Walking is one of the easiest and most effective and has the added advantage of diverting the attention of the mind.
• Yoga: This ancient Eastern practice integrates physical postures with breath control and meditation. Most people benefit from taking a class to learn how to perform the postures safely and correctly. Then yoga can be used anywhere, any time. Most people find yoga as relaxing and restorative, physically and emotionally.
• Tai chi: An ancient form of martial arts, tai chi employs slow, flowing movements that calm the body and the mind. Generally done in groups or classes, tai chi is also probably useful for improving balance and posture.
• Aromatherapy: Certain fragrances are soothing and relaxing.
It is important to recognize anxiety and depression, and to treat them appropriately with medications if indicated. Many people find support groups helpful outlets for expressing concerns and worries, relieving emotional stress. Psychotherapy can help people to understand the sources or causes of stress and take actions to alleviate or mediate them to the extent possible. Psychotherapy also can teach specific coping mechanisms.