North County Water & Sports Therapy Center - September 2020

TOOLS TO Manage Stress

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.” – Unknown W hen you think of the word “stress,” how does it make you feel? Like many, you may associate stress with negative feelings and emotions like anxiety, worry, fear, or frustration. However, these negative feelings and emotions are less of a reflection of stress itself and more of a reflection of how we perceive stress. In fact, Hans Selye, the world-renowned endocrinologist and “father” of stress research, defined stress


as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” In other words, it is important to realize that stress itself is neither inherently good nor bad. While we tend to recognize its negative effects, there are also other forms of stress that we generally consider having a positive impact on health and well-being such as exercise, love, laughter, and excitement. As Selye once said, “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.”

Tools to help manage stress:


This is the “moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens” and without judgment. By being more mindful, we can take control of our thoughts and redirect our attention toward feelings of gratitude, hope, and fulfillment instead of being overwhelmed by constant anxiety, negativity, and worry. The next time you wash your hands, focus on feeling the water running over your skin and hearing the water. Slowly count to 10 twice as you lather the soap (getting all the areas of the hands) and rinse, feeling and hearing the water again. Check in with yourself to see how you feel afterward. This is a simple way to fit mindfulness into your day.

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