Stress Management For Dummies
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Sometimes, stress occurs because the situation you’re in makes you a prisoner of the moment. You can’t escape. You have to be where you are, and, to make things worse, you don’t have much to do while you’re there. You may be waiting in line at the grocery store or (gasp!) at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Why not capitalize on these situations and turn them into opportunities to bring some stress management into your life? Sneak in a little relaxed breathing, meditation, rapid relaxation, imagery, coping self-talk, or any of the many other stress relievers you know. Many of these stress-management methods work quite well, even if you have only a minute or two.

Find moments for stress relief

When to use your stress-management skills isn’t always obvious. Take a look at the table for some potential times to use these skills, along with some suggestions of relaxation techniques you may want to use.

Places to Practice Your Stress-Management Skills
Place Relaxation Method to Try
Sitting in a boring meeting Diaphragmatic breathing
Riding a bus, train, or taxicab Guided imagery
Flying in an airplane Meditation
Riding an elevator or escalator Rapid relaxation
Getting your hair cut Autogenic suggestion
Sitting in the dentist’s chair Progressive muscle relaxation
Taking a bathroom break Deep breathing
Lying in bed, as you fall asleep Personal imagery

While you’re waiting, exhale

Having to wait for somebody or something is one of the better opportunities you have to build some stress relief into your day. Rarely a day goes by in which, at some point, you don’t find yourself having to wait. Here is just a partial list of those all-too-common waiting opportunities. Try to take advantage of these opportunities in your own life.

  • Waiting at a stoplight

  • Waiting for an elevator

  • Waiting in traffic

  • Waiting for a train or bus

  • Waiting for the microwave to cook your food

  • Waiting on hold on the phone

  • Waiting in your doctor’s office

  • Waiting for a TV commercial to be over

  • Waiting for a file to download

  • Waiting in line at the supermarket

  • Waiting for your turn at the ATM

  • Waiting in line anywhere

Relaxed breathing, deep breathing, imagery, meditation, and rapid relaxation, and other “instant de-stressers,” are some of the short, fast, and effective ways of taking the edge off your stress whenever you find yourself waiting.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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