Stress Relief

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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There are many techniques used for stress relief. Most people find a technique that is best suited to their needs and stress level after a short period of experimentation. Methods of stress relief can include simple, preventative measures, such as stretching, exercise, organization, and meditation. More involved approaches include the use of medical or herbal treatments, various schools of psychotherapy, and the use of alternative treatments, such as aroma or music therapy.

A basic method of stress relief involves simply confronting and altering one's own stress responses. In every situation that an individual encounters, he or she automatically makes a quick mental assessment of how the situation should be dealt with, and what skills are required to deal with it that way. This assessment is than compared against a subconscious inventory of the skills possessed by the individual. If the individual finds that the skills he possesses are not adequate to meet the demands of the situation at hand, it becomes a stress-inducing scenario.

Understanding Stress Relief

When a stress-inducing scenario is perceived, an individual experiences the "fight-or-flight" reaction, which demands that she either deals with the situation or avoids it. The anxiety produced by the fight-flight dynamic can produce additional stress, and is also responsible for the more severe effects of anxiety, such as panic attacks. Personal inventory and assessment, achieved through therapy, can help an individual to recognize and gain a measure of control over what may have previously been a conditioned response. This is the first step in overcoming stress, as it provides an individual with the perspective that his stress does not have to exist outside of his control.

Basic daily techniques for stress relief include activities that promote relaxation and mental acuity. Meditation, prayer, and chanting are a few daily rituals that might help a person remove themselves from the immediate effects of stress related feelings, and thereby gain perspective over them. Other methods, such as breathing techniques and light exercise promote the alleviation of stress via physical means. Alternative treatments, such as aroma therapy and music therapy reduce stress by creating associations between relaxation and things like specific scents or sounds, which are then employed regularly to foster feelings of well-being.


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