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Stress: 50 Suggestions--page 6

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
"...although stress does not directly cause health problems typically, it does indirectly influence many, if not most, health conditions..."
Some of the following suggestions are similar to the list of suggestions for happiness or depression. This is because some of the same techniques will work for different problems. However, this list is also specifically focused on the issue of stress.


A common aspect of stress for many people is the tendency to worry or catastrophize about future events. The problem with worry is that it is making a negative assumption that something will have a bad outcome when you may not actually know that to be true. As a result, it creates additional stress and increases symptoms.

Worry is a thinking style that can be changed like any of the thinking styles. Download the "Worry Box--Anxiety Self-Help" app by Excel At Life to learn the methods to control worry. The app helps you to identify whether a worry is important and controllable and how to handle it by putting it away in your Worry Box. It has additional audios and articles to learn how to manage worry.


Unfortunately, stress leads to a negative cycle of unhealthy behaviors. Because you have little energy and lack interest in doing anything, tendency is to sit or sleep and not do very much. As a result, your body becomes more sluggish and with lack of use is likely to deteriorate more. This leads to additional physical stress on the body to function which contributes to the worsening of the symptoms.

It is important to try and break out of this cycle. Taking a walk can help you focus in a different way and is a healthy behavior. The more you take care of your body, the more you can fight the effects of stress. Any amount of walking is okay even if you don't feel able to do much. The important thing is to create healthy behaviors to help you break out of this negative cycle.


It may seem like a trivial suggestion to eat a piece of fruit. However, it means much more. Too often people who are stressed don't take care of themselves because they don't care or because they feel overwhelmed with everything they should do.

Eating a piece of fruit represents doing something simple that is healthy for you. As you focus on doing something healthy for yourself, you are changing your thinking. You are thinking that it is worthwhile to take care of yourself and you are taking a reasonable step in the right direction rather than demanding too much of yourself.


Contacting a friend can help for several reasons. One is that you are engaging in an activity which has potential to provide you with a degree of enjoyment. Another is that social contact stimulates different areas of the brain than focusing on your stress. In addition, you are distracting yourself from your negative thoughts and more likely to replace them with something positive.

In addition, when a person is stressed it can be helpful to get someone else's perspective. However, be careful and not overly focus on your negativity because that can reinforced the thoughts that contribute to stress as well as frustrate your friend. Instead, you want to focus on a positive way on what can be done about your situation.

Also, calling a friend means actual contact. Texting doesn't provide the same type of interaction. However, if you have difficulty calling, emailing can be a substitute especially if you try to keep it positively focused and show interest in your friend. But the best is actual contact.


Contact comfort is the need for physical contact with another living being. In some ways, it is as important as the need for food and water. For instance, many years ago it was discovered that infants living in orphanages where they were fed but were not held often developed a syndrome called "failure to thrive" which could even result in death. This was attributed to a lack of physical nurturing and it still can occur in situations of neglect.

Many people when stressed tend to isolate themselves so they may not obtain enough physical contact and comfort. They may not even reach out to close friends or family. However, animals can often provide the contact comfort that people need and the nice thing about a pet is that you don't have to worry about demands or their negative reaction to your situation.

Even if you don't have a pet yourself, you may be able to find opportunities such as a friend's pet or helping out at a shelter or going to a petting zoo. READ MORE: page 7