Stress – whether real (for example, needing to meet an important deadline at work) or perceived (for example, how a situation makes a person FEEL). Perceived stress still places strain on the body, but person to person, perceived stress will vary as some may perceive stressors as more taxing than others. Any kind of stress places strain on the nervous system. Long-term stress can be particularly detrimental both physically and mentally. There is no escaping stress, but there is the opportunity to build resilience and confidence in handling stressors.  


Stress management is essential for maintaining mental and physical well-being. Here are some ideas to help manage stress effectively: 

  • Deep Breathing and Meditation: Practice deep breathing exercises and meditation to calm your mind and reduce stress levels. Apps like Headspace or Calm can guide you through meditation sessions. 
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, yoga, or swimming. Exercise helps release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters and stress reducers. 
  • Healthy Eating Habits: Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, as they can increase stress and anxiety levels. 
  • Time Management: Organize your tasks and prioritize them based on importance and deadlines. Use tools like calendars, planners, or digital apps to manage your schedule effectively and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. 
  • Social Support: Stay connected with friends, family, and supportive individuals. Talking about your feelings and seeking advice or encouragement from others can help alleviate stress. 
  • Mindfulness Practices: Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment without judgment. This can include activities like mindful walking, eating, or simply observing your thoughts and feelings without reacting to them. 
  • Set Boundaries: Learn to say no to excessive commitments and prioritize self-care. Setting boundaries in both personal and professional life can prevent burnout and reduce stress levels. 
  • Hobbies and Relaxation Techniques: Engage in activities you enjoy, such as reading, painting, gardening, or listening to music. These hobbies can provide a sense of fulfillment and relaxation, helping you cope with stress. 
  • Practice Gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal and write down things you’re thankful for each day. Focusing on positive aspects of your life can shift your perspective and reduce stress. 
  • Seek Professional Help: If stress becomes overwhelming or persistent, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. Therapy, counseling, or stress management programs can provide valuable strategies and coping mechanisms. 

There are several healthcare professionals who can help with stress management, depending on the severity and specific needs of an individual. Primary care providers are a good starting place when seeking help with mental health matters and stress and can refer to specialties.  Here are some healthcare professionals you can consider reaching out to for stress-related support: 

  • Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in mental health. They can diagnose and treat various mental health conditions, including stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression. They may prescribe medications and provide therapy or counseling. 
  • Psychologist: Psychologists are mental health professionals trained in assessing and treating emotional and behavioral issues. They can offer various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based techniques, and stress management strategies. 
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): LCSWs provide counseling and psychotherapy services to individuals, families, and groups. They can help you develop coping skills, navigate stressors, and access community resources for additional support. 
  • Occupational Therapist (OT): Occupational therapists can assess your daily routines and activities, providing strategies to manage stress and improve overall quality of life through adaptive coping mechanisms. 

Other professionals who may be available include:  

  • Mindfulness and Meditation Instructors: Professionals specializing in mindfulness-based practices and meditation techniques can teach you skills to cultivate mindfulness, reduce stress, and improve emotional resilience. 
  • Wellness Coaches: Wellness coaches focus on holistic well-being and can provide guidance on stress management techniques, lifestyle changes, and goal setting to improve overall health and resilience. 

No one can completely avoid stress but with proper techniques and practice, stress can be managed and effectively processed so that the body and mind do not suffer long-term.