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Stress Management

Recognizing and Managing Stress

By Alice King,

Masters in Counseling at George Mason University (GMU)


Below are just a few tips to help you identify and manage your stress.  

  • First and foremost, naming an emotion. Identifying feelings of anger, sadness, worry, grief, stress, and uncertainty and putting a name to it.

  • Recognizing which aspects of this feeling you CAN control and which ones you CAN’T. This can include making a list at the end of the night of what is in my control and things I can do to make things better. You can also make a list of things you can’t control and want to let go of.  Work towards focusing on the list of things you can control. Rip up the list of things you can’t control if it feels right!

  • Establishing and utilizing your support network. Family, friends, coworkers, children, neighbors, anyone in your life that you can lean on and express your feelings and emotions. It is so important not to hold things in and bury them deep. Having an outlet and someone to listen to you can be vital for your mental health. Find the people that want to be there for you  and you the same for them.

  • Be honest with yourself and others about things that are going on in your life. There is nothing shameful about feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, etc. Discussing these topics brings together a sense of community and closeness. These feelings are extremely common, and not discussed enough.

  • Saying no to things that don’t serve you, without guilt.

  • Identifying and practicing self-care techniques that are beneficial to you. This may include getting outside, taking a walk, grabbing lunch or a drink with a friend, watching your favorite show, listening to your body (move it or rest it- whichever better serves YOU), read a book, play your favorite game, take a bath, meditate, deep breathing and focusing on actively decreasing your stress.

  • Utilizing mental health resources available and being specific when choosing a therapist. Finding someone with your cultural background might be important to you in assuring they can understand some of your lived experiences. Discontinuing sessions with a mental health provider that doesn’t service you or isn’t a good fit.

  • Putting yourself and your mental health first. Listen to what your body and your mind are telling you. Speaking kindly to yourself, writing down things you love about yourself, and recognizing when you’re no longer able to function without getting the professional help you need. 

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