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Stress Management Health Center

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Stress Management - Setting a Goal to Reduce Stress


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.
    actionset.gif Stress Management: Managing Your Time
  • 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.
    actionset.gif Stop Negative Thoughts: Getting Started
    actionset.gif Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
  • 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 week.
    Quick Tips: Reducing the Stress of Caregiving

Tips for staying on track

  • Plan for setbacks. Make a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) by writing 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 happen.
  • 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 changes.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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