Stress Management - Setting a Goal to Reduce Stress
Setting a goal in three steps
If you're ready to
stress in your life, setting a goal may help. Try
following these three steps:
Find out what creates stress for you. Think about your
coping strategies. Try using a
stress journal to record stressful events, your
response to them, and how you coped.
Think about why you want to reduce stress. You might want to protect your heart and
your health by reducing stress. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy your life
more and not let stress control how you feel. Your reason for wanting to change
is important. If your reason comes from you-and not someone else-it will be
easier for you to make a healthy change for good.
Set a goal. Think about a long-term and a short-term goal to
reduce stress in your life.
Here are a few examples of how to set goals:
Sheila is a customer service manager for a
computer company. She's also the mother of two young kids. Between her job and
chores at home, she feels overwhelmed by all the demands on her. She can't
remember the last time she took a lunch break at work or took a class at the
gym. While she's lying awake at night, she is worrying about getting everything
done. Sheila's long-term goal: Find a better balance between personal, home,
and family needs. Short-term goal: Take a 15-minute walk each night.
Ray is a pretty easygoing guy most of the time.
But he gets stressed over small things. If a problem comes up at work, he
spends the whole night thinking about it over and over. He feels anxious
wondering how he could have handled things better. Ray knows he needs to let go
of these events and move on. Ray's long-term goal: Practice positive thinking
when stressful events come up. Short-term goal: Try breathing and relaxation
exercises when he feels stressed.
Marta is a full-time caregiver for her elderly
mother, who has
Alzheimer's disease. Marta can't remember the last
time she took a vacation or even met a friend for coffee. Her sister helps with
care sometimes but is often too busy. Marta finds herself getting frustrated
easily. She needs a break. Marta's long-term goal: Involve her sister more in
caregiving. She also plans to find respite care so she isn't providing all the
caregiving on her own. Short-term goal: Attend a caregiver support group every
Plan for setbacks. Use
a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your goals, any
possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about
these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they
Get support. Tell family and friends
your reasons for wanting to change. Tell them that their encouragement makes a
big difference to you in your goal to reduce stress. Your doctor or a
professional counselor can also provide support. A counselor can help you set
goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks. (See
tips for finding a counselor or therapist.)
Pat yourself on the back. Don't forget to give yourself some positive
feedback. If you slip up, don't waste energy feeling bad about yourself.
Instead, think about all the times you've avoided getting stressed by making
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 20, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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