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Managing Stress: Identify, Respond, Relieve

Man talking to woman about problems

Stress is a physical and emotional response to overwhelming responsibilities, events, and changes. It is experienced in different levels. Low levels may not be noticeable at all. Occasionally, moderate stress can be positive and challenge people to act in creative and resourceful ways. High levels can be harmful, leading to chronic disease. The best way to begin managing your stress is to identify, respond, and relieve it.

Identifying causes of stress

Things that cause stress are called stressors. These can be everyday events, major life changes, or a combination of things. They can be either happy or sad events. Knowing your stressors will help you find ways to manage your stress. Learn more.

Responding better to stress

Which of your stressors can you change? For instance, you may often get stuck in traffic when commuting. Ask yourself how you can change the situation. Can you start work later to avoid heavy traffic? Can you take public transportation? Would listening to music or an audiobook help you relax when driving? Think of a few ways to change these stressful situations. Learn more.

Stress relief: relaxation

Focusing the mind helps provide stress relief. Taking 5 to 10 minutes to practice relaxation each day helps you feel more refreshed. Calm your mind, calm your body, and visualize. Learn more.

You can keep stress under control by learning stress management skills. There are a many resources available to you through VA that will help you with handling stressful issues and situations. Options range from simple relaxation or pleasant activities you can do on your own, to working with a counselor. VA also has resources to help you improve both problem-solving skills and anger management.

Updated July 21, 2020