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Stress Reduction By: Rachel Collinge Tamara Inman Kirsten Manwiller-Doherty Amy McKiernan Marie Vorrises Yu Ting Yu Stress: An Overview Overview Stress is a common experience. We often feel stressed when we… are very busy have important deadlines to meet

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stress reduction

Stress Reduction


Rachel Collinge

Tamara Inman

Kirsten Manwiller-Doherty

Amy McKiernan

Marie Vorrises

Yu Ting Yu

  • Stress is a common experience. We often feel stressed when we…
    • are very busy
    • have important deadlines to meet
    • have too little time to finish all of our tasks
  • We experience stress because of many problems…
    • at work - such as a poor evaluation by a supervisor
    • in social relationships - such as an argument with a friend
    • situations involving the threat of failure or personal humiliation
    • extreme fears of objects or things associated with physical threats - some become stressed when they encounter or think about these perceived threats
    • major life events, such as the death of a loved one
  • The circumstances that cause stress are called stressors.
    • Stressors vary in severity and duration.
    • Some events, such as the death of a loved one, are stressful for everyone. But in other situations, individuals may respond differently to the same event; what is a stressor for one person may not be stressful for another.
      • For example, a student who is unprepared for a chemistry test and anticipates a bad grade may feel stress, whereas a classmate who studies in advance may feel confident of a good grade.
    • For an event or situation to be a stressor for a particular individual, the person must appraise the situation as threatening and lack the coping resources to deal with it effectively.
  • Stressors can be classified into three general categories:
    • catastrophic events
    • major life changes
    • daily hassles
    • In addition, simply thinking about unpleasant past events or anticipating unpleasant future events can cause stress for many people.
  • If not managed appropriately, stress can lead to serious problems.
    • Exposure to chronic stress can contribute to
      • physical illnesses
        • such as heart disease
      • mental illnesses
        • such as anxiety disorders
This group project focuses on how people can use stress management techniques to prevent or minimize disease and illness. As a group we each decided which areas we'd like to cover for methods of reducing stress.

We found as a group incorporating these fun and healthy habits into your daily routine not only helps to reduce stress but leaves you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

meditation with guided imagery8
Meditation with Guided Imagery
  • What is Stress? 
  • Stress can be real or imagined, but either way the body responds to it in a way that can be harmful to our health and well being. Whether you're being attacked by a lion or running late in heavy traffic, the stress hormones released by the body's stress response are the same. 
  • Sometimes stress comes in the form of worry, a product of our imagination. Worry is an excellent example of the psychophysiologic power of imagery. Focusing on thoughts of danger or disaster activates the fight or flight response and the body is put in a constant state of alarm. Eventually, you become exhausted, stressed out, sick, and tired. The only threats are the thoughts themselves, though your responses and the physiologic toll they take are real.
meditation with guided imagery9
Meditation with Guided Imagery
  • Learning to relax is fundamental to stress reduction and self healing and is a prerequisite for using imagery effectively. Through imagery, you can learn to become aware of and to change habitual thought patterns that lead to tension and depression. 
  • Relaxation and imagery allows your body to channel its energy into repair and restoration and provides respite from habitual patterns of tension. Practicing meditation or guided imagery should be the first step in reducing stress and enhancing wellness.

Benefits of Massage

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces pain
  • Builds the immune system
  • Improves strength
  • Prevention of repetitive stress syndrome
types of massages
Types of Massages
  • Acupressure
  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Heat of the Earth Hot Stone Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Shiatsu
  • Sports Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Chair Massage
  • Points which located on feet and hands are correspond to each organ
  • Pressure on those points can reduce tension and stress
swedish massage
Swedish Massage
  • Includes long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, and shaking
  • Promote relaxation
  • Relieve tension
ways to reduce stress in and around the home16
Ways to Reduce Stress in and Around the Home.

1. First, Get enough sleep.

“Know when you’re tired. Being able to stop work when you are fatigued rather than pushing yourself beyond your limits will reduce unnecessary stress.” Pg. 53 Health and Wellness. “Sometimes we are so busy we tend to cut down on things we need most. Sleep is a wonderful cure-all, a time to recharge your body’s batteries, and usually one of the first things sacrificed to stress. Keep in mind that lack of sleep makes you cranky and irritable. If you find that you can’t sleep, after a week or ten days, consult your family physician.” Pg. 52. Health and Wellness.

2. Take time to relax.

This can be done in your own way. For me taking baths is a wonderful way to relax. Dim the lights, light some candles, put on some soothing music, run a hot bath, put some bath salts, and add some aromatherapy bath oil. This is a great way for me just to exist for about twenty minutes. Taking time to just be and not “multi-tasking” is a great way to create clarity. “Don’t put off relaxing. Some people promise themselves that “tomorrow” or “next week” I’ll take care of myself and take a break. That simply won’t work. You have to relax every single day, even if it’s for a few minutes between appointments or some deep breathing on your way home from work.” Pg. 53. Health and Wellness.

ways to reduce stress in and around the home17
Ways to Reduce Stress in and Around the Home.
  • Clean the house.

If your living in a cluttered area that is in constant disarray it’s hard to find an area that’s not distracting. My husband always says, “A place for everything, and everything has a place.” When you feel like your living space is organized and peaceful it’s easier to unwind.

  • Get organized.

This means different things to different people. For me it’s making a to-do-list every morning and having my house in order. I’m more relaxed and find it easier to decompress if I’m prioritized and feel as though all of my tasks are being accomplished in the order of urgency.

  • Wash the dishes mindfully.

I know this sounds silly but this is something to try and practice while you’re at home. “Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water, it is really quite pleasant. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles!” Pg. 26. Peace in Every Step. Finding peace and pleasure in everyday tasks around the house is great way to live fully in each moment.

ways to reduce stress in and around the home18
Ways to Reduce Stress in and Around the Home.
  • Recycle.

This is not an instant fix to stress. This is part of living mindfully and a lifestyle of making conscious choices to take care of nature so nature can take care of us. “We have to practice awareness of each thing we do if we want to save our Mother Earth, and ourselves and our children as well. For example, when we look into our garbage we can see lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and flowers. When we throw a banana peel into the garbage, we are aware that it is a banana peel that we are throwing out and that it will be transformed into a flower or a vegetable very soon. That is exactly the practice of meditation.” Pg. 107. Peace in Every Step.

  • Schedule time for fun.

Have friends over that you have fun with. It’s good to have friends over and socialize. The weight of the world starts to come off your shoulders when you can enjoy the company of yourself and your friends. Laughter is the best medicine. Also, you might be very surprised about how much your friends understand where your coming from and the relief you feel just by sharing your source of tension.

ways to reduce stress in and around the home19
Ways to Reduce Stress in and Around the Home.
  • Cooking can feed your soul.

Cooking can satisfy your appetite and your sense of creativity. It lessens stress to have a hobby. Cooking is great because it allows you to incorporate all of the various flavors that you love and there isn’t a wrong move. It’s totally up to the cook to create. Even if you follow a recipe there is a sense of satisfaction upon completion of wholesome delicious meal for your family to enjoy. This activity allows you to think of only this while your cooking and gets you mind off of your problems.

  • Gardening breeds new growth.

When you spend time in the garden and focus on nature and what has taken life, there is a feeling of joy and accomplishment. Just a few months prior I hand my hands digging around in the cool damp earth and planting seeds that have become flowers this spring. There is a feeling of connectedness to nature when you become a part of the lifecycle that is taking place in your yard.

  • My favorite, take in a movie at home.

Movies allow the viewer to lose reality and find themselves is a world of fantasy. It’s a couple of hours to relax, snuggle on the couch with someone special, snack on some popcorn, and forget the world. Movies can give you a good laugh, make you cry, or even teach you something. To me it’s a great way to separate myself from a problem and then when I come back to the problem I have new insight.

physical effects of stress
Physical Effects of Stress

Effects of Stress

1. Blood pressure irregularity

2. Heart circulation problems

  • Weakness and stiffness of muscles 

These can lead to increase of

  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
the presence of exercise in a person s life
The presence of exercise in a person’s life.
  • Exercise and physical activity are powerful and readily available tools for preventing and treating symptoms of stress.
  • Exercise is known to be one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce stress. Healthy physical exertion is the natural outlet for the body when it is in the “ fight or flight” state of arousal. After exercising your body returns to its normal equilibrium and you feel relaxed and refreshed.
  • Exercise produces neurotransmitters called endorphins in the brain. These are the body’s own natural tranquilizers. Endorphins can make one feel calm and relaxed during and for up to 3hrs after moderate physical activity. This elevation in mood is often referred to as the “runners high”.
  • Widespread physical activity can prohibit to major contributors of coronary heart disease, obesity joint and spinal disc disease, fatigue, muscular tension and depression.
  • Regular exercise helps one to feel in control. This sense of control over ones body may translate to an improvable sense of control over ones aspects of life, a key defense against stress.
exercise stress busters
Exercise - Stress Busters

There are four broad categories of “stress busting” exercise:

  • Aerobic
  • Muscular strengthening
  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility

Each plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of stress-related disorder and contributes to a healthy balanced physical fitness program.


Aerobic exercises & activities

Strengthen your heart, lungs and associated blood vessels and increase stamina.

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Aerobic dancing

Running - most popular form of aerobic exercise.

    • Improves your cardiovascular efficiency and your metabolism.
    • Heart is strengthened and enlarged
    • Blood vessels become more elastic
    • Oxygen utilization becomes more efficient
    • Resting pulse rate is lowered
    • Level of blood fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol is most likely to be lowered

Each one of these meaning less chance of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart attack or stroke


Muscular strengthening exercises

  • increase strength and size (bulk) of muscles or groups of muscles

Muscular endurance exercise

  • improves stamina (tone) of muscles as well as groups of muscles.

Flexibility exercises

  • decrease muscle tension
  • improve flexibility of specific muscle groups
  • help maintain joint mobility
  • improve circulation
  • helps prevent injury.

The old saying “run for your life” and “burn off some steam” should be taken more seriously. It is truly possible to walk, bike, run, lift, and stretch your way to a happier less stressful lifestyle.

hatha yoga28
Hatha Yoga

Why I Chose It 

  • I was always interested in Hatha Yoga.
  • Seemed like a very relaxing/peaceful exercise.
  • Focused on deep breathing. 
hatha yoga29
Hatha Yoga

The Beginning of  Classes 

  • First class, still feeling stressed out.
  • The book "Yoga the Spirit of Union" third edition by Lar Caughlan.
  • The quote "Real bliss is maintaining equanimity of mind at all times, at all places, under all circumstances, not only in church or synagogue, but in Time Square or on the battlefield. " Sri. Swami Satchidananada 1914
  • This quote helped my prepare for the second class.
  • I was really starting to enjoy Hatha Yoga. 
hatha yoga30
Hatha Yoga

Sun Salutations

  • Warm up routine.
  • Twelve different stretches.
  • I now do them everyday in the morning. 
hatha yoga31
Hatha Yoga

How Hatha Yoga Has Helped Me

  • I feel less stressed out.
  • Using deep breathing in day to day life.
  • Taking up Hatha Yoga as new exercise.
amy s water theme for personal stress reduction
Amy’s Water Theme for Personal Stress Reduction
  • How we reduce our stress is personal…it’s different for everyone.
  • I focused on the ocean & water as my core theme for my personal stress reduction plan, as the ocean has always been a place that helps me feel connected, calm and at peace.

Water’s Importance

  • Water is associated with life.
  • Human settlements evolved along rivers & waterways.
  • “Water is the universal remedy” as written in the ancient Vedas

(the first literature produced 10 to 15 thousand years ago).

(taken from

water theme34
Water Theme
  • Cruise for Spring Break
    • I relaxed immediately - calm throughout the trip
    • I read, napped, meditated while looking out to sea
  • Weekend Trips to the Beach
    • Whether sunny or foggy or cloudy
      • My favorite is to bundle up and go on a cloudy day, when no one else is there
    • Staring out to sea makes my troubles seem so small. The ocean reminds me of my place in the world and my stresses suddenly take their proper proportion.
water theme continued
Water Theme Continued
  • Walks Along Bay Shore After Work
    • Stress inducing at first
      • My life was very chaotic - this was just another thing to squeeze into my schedule.
      • I was unable to turn off all my self talk.
    • After a week, I started looking forward to it.
    • My breathing is more relaxed, I feel less tense & my life seems more manageable after the walks (I feel centered).
  • Hot Baths in the Evenings
    • With mellow music, a good magazine or book, candles, bubbles…it all helps to erase a crazed day.
water theme continued36
Water Theme Continued
  • Hydration – Drink More H20
    • I drink too much caffeine and don’t drink water.
    • I decided to add drinking more water, juice, and Gatorade to help gain a sense of calm through hydration.
  • Falling Asleep to Coastline Waves DVD
    • Since I was unable to get to the beach as often as I would like, I bought a coastal DVD to fall asleep to instead of watching old TV shows.
    • Surprisingly, this helped me sleep better.
    • I noticed feeling more mellow and at ease as soon as it came on – lower pulse, slower heart rate, calmer breathing….less stress and more relaxed

My personal water theme helped to keep my stress

managed during a very chaotic time in my life.

  • What is Stress -
  • Aetna’s List of Stress Reduction Techniques -
  • AARP Health & Wellness – Relax your stress away.
  • College Tips -