EHS OutLoud Blog

What's Your Go-To Stress Management Strategy?

stresseater.jpgYou see that photo on the left? The one of the woman stress-eating cake in a rather, um, unflattering fashion? Let's just say that's one way you don't want to deal with stress. Unfortunately, some of us have been there, and we have the sugar crashes to prove it.

My "Break Room" column in our March 2012 issue will discuss stress management. When I spoke to an expert at the American Institute of Stress (AIS), I learned that there is no universal way to handle stress -- and that's okay. You might take a 5-mile jog to reduce your stress levels while your best friend might prefer to spend 20 minutes meditating in silence.

The key is to find the strategy that works for you. And it should be a healthy, productive strategy -- not like Ms. Cake Monster there. Turning to sugar (or alcohol, or drugs) will likely only make you feel worse in the long run. Georgia Southern University also counts smoking, recklessness, irritability, procrastination, withdrawing from others and self-injury among some of the unhealthy ways to handle stress.

On the bright side, here are some healthy ways of managing stress, courtesy of AIS:

Jogging or other aerobic exercise

Listening to music

Meditation

Laughter

Yoga

Tai chi

Volunteer work

Journaling

Deep breathing

Massage

Visual imagery

Acupuncture

Participating in your favorite hobby

Playing with pets

Aromatherapy

Emotional support from group therapy, family or friends

Getting enough sleep

Maintaining a proper diet

Avoiding excess caffeine and other stimulants

Taking time out to relax

So you tell me -- what's your go-to stress management strategy? And most importantly, did that picture put you off cake for the rest of the day?

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