Stress relief strategies should be tailored

Stress affects people in different ways. What stresses one person may not stress another.

“The key is to find what the stressor is and then identify how to process it,” says Dr. Shawn McClintock, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Similarly, there are many remedies for stress and some work great for a few people but not so great for others. Identifying what works best for you and making sure you implement the stress reducing method is important.”

Dr. McClintock says common stressors include economic problems, working too much, family difficulties, always being “on,” always being “connected” and never enjoying personal time.

Stressors also vary by age group. For example:

  • Teens may be stressed by school, getting good grades, peer pressures, going to college.
  • Adults may be more concerned with employment, filing tax returns, beginning and raising a family, planning for retirement.
  • The elderly may be more focused on the loss of loved ones, starting a new phase in their lives, health concerns.

“Stress is a vicious circle: The more stressed you get, the more worried you get that you’re stressed,” Dr. McClintock says. “That increases your stress, which then increases your worry, then back to your stress, and so forth.”

Reducing stress early preserves your health and peace of mind, he says. Stress reducers include scheduling a break, “disconnecting” from email and Internet (e.g., cell phone, iPad, laptop), exercising, sleeping, taking vitamins/omega 3 fatty acids, enjoying leisure activities, taking a vacation, simply driving rather than multitasking while in motor vehicles, listening to music, visiting loved ones and playing with a pet.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for mental health.

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