Coping With Stress

Since you cannot avoid stress, it is obviously best to learn to cope with it. The first thing might be to do a self-evaluation: Do you exercise? How do you think about change? Do you get enough sleep each night? These factors and more will determine how your body handles stress. Needless to say, the healthier you are, physically and mentally, the better you will be able to handle change and stress. To summarize this paper on stress, an article by Elizabeth Scott provides a positive way to deal with stress and one that anyone can do. Her comments are as follows:

A Healthy Lifestyle Starts Each Morning

The way you spend your morning can add a certain flavor to the rest of your day. Here are some healthy lifestyle habits to incorporate into your morning routine that can leave you better able to handle the stress you experience. Try one or several, and experiment until you find what suits you.

Put on Some Music

Music therapy has been shown to reduce stress and have a positive effect on health. But you do not need a therapist to enjoy some of the benefits music has to offer. Listening to music as you get ready and start your day will create positive energy and a soothing sense of peace (or a sense of fun, if you play party music). Music can compliment other healthy lifestyle habits, adding a sense of peace to a yoga workout, putting a spring in your step on a morning walk, or stimulating your mind as you write in your journal.

Stretch in the Shower

The hot water will loosen up your muscles, so it’s easier to get a good stretch. The act of stretching will help to release stored tension and enable you to start the day feeling more relaxed, at peace, and ready to handle what comes your way.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast

For those of you who start the day on a bagel and coffee, be aware that breakfast is known as ‘the most important meal of the day’ for a very good reason: a healthy meal in the morning can balance your blood sugar levels and give you the nutrition you need to handle physical and mental stress. Without it, you will be less resilient, both physically and mentally. Be sure to have plenty of protein and fruit, not just caffeine and empty calories!

Drink Green Tea

Sipping a warm cup of tea is a soothing activity that will help you prepare for the day ahead and feel nurtured. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, so it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle choice.

Write in Your Journal

Journaling has many health and stress management benefits, and can also lead to increased self-awareness. Writing once a day can help you feel focused, process negative emotions, and solve problems.

Morning Walk

Walking has so many health benefits, the stress management benefits are practically just gravy! A morning walk can get you ready for your day, help you sleep better at night, lower your stress level, and reduce your risk of numerous health conditions.


Combining all the goodness of several stress management techniques, such as diaphragmic breathing, meditation, stretching and more, yoga provides some of the best stress management and health benefits you can find.” (Elizabeth Scott)


  • American Psychological Association: Americans Engage in Unhealthy Behaviors to Manage Stress
  • Payne, Rosemary 2005. Relaxation Techniques. Elsevier Limited, Philadelphia, USA Elsevier homepage:
  • Scott, E. Healthy Lifestyle: Six ways to start your day. Internet article updated March, 2006
  • Internet article: Contact Khadem, F. Article Date: August 2006. Research Suggests Stress Hormones Play a Central Role in the Development and Progression of Alzheimers.
  • Researchers at Duke University Medical Center on Glucose Rise in Stress: The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases and the National Institutes of Health.Dr. Richard Surwit. Other authors on the study include: Mark Feinglos, M.D., Miranda Van Tilburg, Nancy Zucker, Cynthia C. McCaskill, Priti Parekh, Christopher L. Edwards, Ph.D., Paula Williams and James D. Lane, Ph.D., all of Duke University Medical Center.

    Contact: Dr. Richard Surwit (919) 684-5712

  • Dr. Susan M. Lark: Dr. Lark is a noted teacher and lecturer and has been featured in magazines such as Mc Call’s, New Woman, Mademoiselle, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook, Lear’s, Shape, and Seventeen.