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VCU HR Well-Being blog

Giving VCU employees the wellness resources they need to be healthy both on and off campus

Chronic stress is no joke – Yale Stress Center research reveals a correlation between stress and chronic physical conditions. Learn to deal with stressful situations effectively to avoid allowing stress to evolve into debilitating physical problems.

Small Changes, Big Impact

You don’t have to make broad, sweeping changes in order to reduce the effects of stress on your body and mind. Instead, make small changes in an effort to be calmer and more peaceful.

Top 10 Stress Relievers

  1. Think positively. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that thinking positively can have a profound impact on stress reduction. Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively (“I can’t do it!” “Nobody here likes me!”), replace this with a positive counterpart (“I know I can do it!” “People here like me!”).
  2. Use self-affirmation. Take a moment every day to shower yourself with compliments. What do you like about yourself? Applaud your own creativity, wit, strength, or beauty daily.
  3. Visualize calm. Close your eyes and picture a calm place, such as a beach with roaring waves or a mountain with snowflakes fluttering to the ground. Allow this visualization to be your escape when you feel the effects of stress creeping up on you.
  4. Try yoga. This form of exercise isn’t only good for your body but is good for your mind too. Yoga can stave off depression and help bring a feeling of peaceful calm.
  5. Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep will help your body deal with the daily stress you encounter, according to the Franklin Institute.
  6. Learn to say no. If your stress stems from having far too many items on your to-do list, it’s time to stop agreeing to every project and invitation that comes your way.
  7. Laugh. It’s not only laughter that can lower the levels of stress hormones in your body, but just the anticipation of laughter can be enough according to a study at Loma Linda University.
  8. Pray. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the act of praying and spending time in spiritual thought can help you deal with all the other aspects of your life. As a bonus, spiritual people may also heal faster than others, according to author Dr. Roberta Lee.
  9. Listen to music. Your favorite tunes can be a great escape from stress. Listening to music for thirty minutes a day may also lower your blood pressure.
  10. Vent. Instead of keeping problems bottled up inside, ask a trusted friend to listen to what is troubling you. Getting your problems out may help you to feel better and may also prompt you to begin thinking up solutions instead of merely simmering over the problems silently.

91 More Tips to Relieve Stress

Take Care of Your Mind

  • Keep a journal.
  • Play an instrument.
  • Doodle.
  • Change life situations that bother you.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Cry when you need to.
  • Change thought patterns by forcing yourself to think of something else when thinking of something that bothers you.
  • Do puzzles.
  • Read something funny.
  • Avoid bad news.
  • Try out hypnosis.

Take Care of Your Body

  • Practice meditation.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly.
  • Walk when you feel stressed.
  • Try running.
  • Do aerobics.
  • Dance.
  • Tighten all your muscles and then relax them.
  • Eat well.
  • Have sex.
  • Get a massage.
  • Play a sport, such as football, basketball, or tennis.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake.
  • Take your vitamins.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do Tai Chi
  • Take herbs, such as Valerian and Kava.
  • Ask your doctor about anti-anxiety medication.
  • Reduce or stop smoking.
  • End drug abuse.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Treat medical problems.
  • Drink some hot tea.

Get Social

  • Talk to co-workers.
  • Call a friend.
  • Meet a friend for a meal.
  • Let someone help you.
  • Seek therapy.
  • Do something nice for someone.
  • Take a moonlight walk with someone you care about.
  • Call an old friend.
  • Call your family.
  • Make new friends.
  • Avoid toxic people or people who affect your life negatively.
  • Get a pet.
  • Invite friends over for a small party and have fun.

Have Fun and De-Stress

  • Take breaks.
  • Take a vacation.
  • Smile often.
  • Tell a joke.
  • Play with your kids.
  • Play with your pets.
  • Attend an event such as a concert.
  • Rent a movie.
  • Cook a good meal.
  • Make a silly face and take a picture.
  • Plan a nice evening for yourself.
  • Take out a kayak or boat on a lake and explore.
  • Take a drive through a scenic area.
  • Go shopping.
  • Participate in a hobby.

Learn more about why our faculty and staff love working at VCU and all that VCU does to support them.

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