Stress management is a large family of techniques which can be used to help people cope with stress. These techniques range from methods to reduce the occurrence of stress to techniques which can be used by people who feel overwhelmed by stress. Learning to deal effectively with stress can be very important for people in a wide range of situations, ranging from astronauts to stay at home mothers.
Dealing with stress is not just about learning to perform well in stressful situations, or learning to reduce overall stress to improve job performance or to work better in school. Several studies have suggested that stress can contribute to poor physical or psychological health. People who are constantly stressed out may experience a variety of physical issues, such as high blood pressure, excessive sweating, and headaches, in addition to psychological issues like a short temper, depression, or behavioral problems. Thus, stress management can improve physical health.
Stress management training can be offered by a physician or psychologist as part of a patient's overall treatment, and people can also attend independent workshops and classes which teach stress management tools. People who work in high pressure jobs, for example, may opt to take stress management classes to help themselves at work. These classes can also include support groups, which may be an important part of someone's stress management plan.
Some techniques for managing stress include optimizing personal schedules, learning to prioritize work, improving personal efficiency, breathing exercises, meditation, support groups, and developing psychological skills which allow people to decline duties gracefully, or which encourage people to reach out for help when they need assistance. They can also include structured activities which include stressful scenarios to give people an opportunity to practice, along with the use of medications or therapy to address psychological concerns.
People may be referred to stress management if the people around them feel that they could benefit from learning some tips and techniques, and it is also possible to seek out stress management independently. People who want to recommend seeking professional help to a friend, colleague, student, family member, or anyone else should try to approach the recommendation in a friendly, relaxed way which does not put pressure on the stressed individual.
Stress can come in a wide variety of forms. People should not be ashamed of seeking help with stress management. Humans are highly social animals, and people have evolved over the centuries to rely on each other, rather than trying to work out every problem independently. Sometimes just confiding in someone about stress can make a stressed individual feel better, and actively seeking help with stress management will make someone happier, more confident, and more productive.