Health Watch -- Managing Stress

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Learning to manage stress may help you improve your health.

It's highly unlikely that you could get rid of the stress in your life. Stress is caused by the internal and external pressures in our daily lives, things like family, work and relationships. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say it's how you manage stress that's important.

Dr. Stephanie Setliff, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist, says there are three primary ways that people deal with stress. People may feel crushed by stress and freeze. They may try to climb around it and escape. Or they may hold it lightly on their shoulders.

Not managing stress can have serious consequences. It can lead to depression. It can also cause physical symptoms, like high blood pressure, headaches and weight gain or loss.

In order to manage stress, you need to learn to balance the important things in your life, such as family, job, relationships and finances, while learning to let go of the worries that you really can't control.

Some good stress management strategies include exercising, talking to friends, taking time for yourself to do something fun and practicing yoga. To cope with or prevent stress from all the little problems life throws at you, take care of yourself, learn time management skills, ask for help when you need it and be prepared to take direct action or make quick decisions when necessary.


April 2004