Stress Management Techniques
for Better Mental Health

Stress doesn’t have to define you. Master effective stress management techniques with the help of AM Behavioral Health.

Table of Contents

What Is Stress?

Stress is something people face every day. It’s how the body responds to any demand or challenge. While some stress can be motivating, too much can wear a person down and harm their health, affecting their mood, physical health, and behavior.

If left unchecked, too much stress can lead to serious physical and mental health problems over time.

Stress Management Techniques

Our Promise at AM Behavioral Health

At AM Behavioral Health, we understand how stress impacts your life and are committed to helping you manage stress effectively. Our team uses proven stress management techniques to teach you how to handle stress. Our goal is to improve your mental health and well-being.

A Resource for Learning and Support

AM Behavioral Health is here to provide education, support, and advocacy to help you learn about stress and how to deal with it in your daily life.
We’re here to help you live a healthier, more balanced life by providing you with the tools necessary to manage and withstand the stressors in your life.

Understanding Stress and Its Impact on Mental Health

Stress acts as the body’s way of reacting to challenges or demands. When facing a difficult situation, the body releases chemicals and hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These substances prepare the body to take action, a response often called the “fight or flight” reaction.1
Physiologically, chronic stress can disrupt nearly every system in the body. It can:2
  • Suppress the immune system, making people more likely to get sick
  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure, raising the risk of heart disease
  • Contribute to issues like obesity and diabetes by affecting how the body processes sugar
Psychologically, stress can be equally as damaging. It can make people feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. They might also have trouble concentrating or making decisions.

The Importance of Managing Stress

According to the American Psychological Association, 27% of adults report experiencing high levels of stress.3
When we learn how to cope with stress, we become more resilient and able to handle the challenges that life throws our way.
At AM Behavioral Health, we use stress management techniques as a cornerstone of our approach to mental health. Our goal is to help people find healthy ways to cope with stress and build the skills to maintain balance in their lives.

Identifying the Triggers and Symptoms of Stress

Daily life is full of stressors, and recognizing them is the first step to managing stress effectively. Some common stressors include:
  • Work pressure: This often comes from tight deadlines, heavy workloads, or conflicts with colleagues. People may feel pressure to perform well or fear losing their job.
  • Financial stress: Struggling to make ends meet can cause a lot of stress, and uncertainty about the future can create even more anxiety.

Relationship issues: This includes misunderstandings, disagreements, or feeling unappreciated by family, friends, or partners. 

Stress management techniques can help people identify personal triggers. After identifying triggers, it’s important to pay attention to symptoms of stress. They may manifest in various ways, such as:

Physical Symptoms

Physically, stress often causes tension in the muscles. This can lead to headaches, back pain, or neck pain. People might also experience changes in appetite, either eating more or less than usual. Some people have stomach issues, like nausea or diarrhea, when they are stressed.4
Additionally, stress can disrupt sleep patterns, making it hard to fall asleep or causing people to wake up frequently during the night.

Emotional Symptoms

Emotionally, stress can make people feel:
  • Irritable, anxious, or depressed
  • Overwhelmed or unable to control their emotions
  • Sadness or hopelessness, affecting their mood and outlook 

Behavioral Symptoms

Behaviorally, stress can change how people act. They might:
  • Withdraw from social activities
  • Avoid responsibilities
  • Have difficulty concentrating on tasks
Some people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like smoking, drinking, or overeating, to manage their stress.

The Importance of Self-Awareness in Identifying Personal Stress Triggers

Understanding personal stress triggers helps people address the root causes of stress. At AM Behavioral Health, we focus on developing self-awareness as a key step in mastering stress management techniques.
Being self-aware means recognizing the specific situations, people, or tasks that cause stress. For example, if you know that tight deadlines cause you stress, you can improve your time management skills or communicate with your team about realistic timelines.

Effective Stress Management Techniques

Stress management is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to adapt evidence-based stress management techniques to your unique needs and situation.
We encourage the use of stress management techniques that align with personal stress triggers and symptoms. Techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and exercise can be tailored to address each person’s specific needs, helping you manage stress more effectively.
These may include:

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques are a cornerstone of stress management. They help slow down the body’s stress response, making people feel calm and composed.
Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can lower a person’s heart rate and reduce muscle tension. By practicing these regularly, people can train their bodies to respond to stress more calmly.5

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Techniques like meditation encourage people to observe their thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they are, without judgment.
This practice can help people recognize stress triggers and respond to them more thoughtfully, reducing the impact of stress on daily life.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a dynamic stress reliever. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Activities like walking, running, swimming, or cycling can help clear the mind and reduce the intensity of stress.

Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies

Cognitive-behavioral strategies help people change how they think and act in stressful situations. As stress management techniques, these can include:

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is about changing negative thought patterns. Often, stress is amplified by the way we think. Someone might assume the worst or overestimate the dangers in a situation. This may lead to someone developing anxiety or depression over long periods of stress.

Cognitive restructuring teaches people to identify these negative thoughts and challenge them. The goal is to replace irrational or harmful thoughts with more balanced and realistic ones. This shift in thinking can reduce stress and improve reactions to difficult situations.

Problem-Solving Skills

Developing problem-solving skills involves:
  • Identifying a problem
  • Generating potential solutions
  • Evaluating these solutions
  • Implementing the best one
By systematically working through issues that cause stress, people can reduce the feelings of helplessness and take control of the situation. This proactive approach helps in managing current stress and preventing future stress by building confidence in one’s ability to cope.

Lifestyle Changes

Building a healthy foundation in stress management techniques can start with small changes in a person’s daily habits. Some lifestyle changes that can help people better cope with stress include:

Nutritious Eating

A diet rich in nutritious foods can help the body better cope with stress. Foods that are high in sugar, caffeine, and processed ingredients can actually increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
On the other hand, a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help boost mood and energy levels.

Quality Sleep

While people sleep, the brain and body recover from the day’s activities. Lack of sleep can make people more susceptible to stress and can affect their mood and judgment.
Striving for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night can enhance one’s ability to deal with stress, keeping the mind clear and focused.

Time Management

Feeling overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list is a common cause of stress. Managing one’s time effectively can help people feel more in control and reduce stress levels.
This could involve:
  • Creating a schedule
  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Setting achievable goals

Support and Resources for Stress Management Techniques

At AM Behavioral Health, we believe in the power of community and education in managing stress. Support groups, workshops, and educational programs are essential parts of our stress management techniques. These programs provide knowledge and camaraderie in your journey to better mental health.

Support Groups

Support groups bring together people facing similar stress-related challenges. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, offer and receive advice, and gain emotional support.
Taking part in a support group can make people feel less isolated, empower them with new coping strategies, and boost morale.

Education About Coping Strategies

We provide education for coping strategies that are designed to equip clients with practical stress management techniques.
Led by experts, these sessions cover various topics, such as:
  • Identifying stress triggers
  • Practicing relaxation methods
  • Implementing lifestyle changes that reduce stress

Support and Reintegration

To complement our programs, AM Behavioral Health provides a range of support so that individuals can successfully integrate their stress management strategies into their daily lives.
These resources are designed to seamlessly fit into daily life, allowing people to practice and refine stress management skills at their own pace.

Seeking Professional Help for Stress

Getting professional help is a proactive move for improved mental health. Professionals, like our knowledgeable and compassionate AM Behavioral Health team, can provide new insights and strategies for lasting well-being. This guidance is vital for mastering stress management techniques.

Professionals can help with:

  • Identifying underlying causes of stress
  • Developing a personalized stress management plan
  • Providing therapy or counseling services to address stress-related challenges
  • Monitoring progress and providing ongoing support
Seeking professional help is a sign of strength and self-care. It’s an investment in your mental health and well-being.

Complementary Therapies at AM Behavioral Health

There are various therapies that our team at AM Behavioral Health will utilize alongside stress management techniques to allow you to heal fully. These often include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and PTSD therapy.

These are highly regarded complementary therapies for stress management, each offering distinct yet effective approaches to alleviate symptoms and enhance coping mechanisms.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with stress, replacing them with more constructive alternatives.

By addressing cognitive distortions and maladaptive behaviors, CBT helps individuals develop healthier coping strategies and resilience against stressors. CBT is used for a myriad of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT, originally developed to treat the intense emotions that one feels from borderline personality disorder, incorporates mindfulness techniques alongside CBT principles.
It emphasizes skills training in emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. This provides a comprehensive toolkit for managing stress and improving overall emotional well-being.

PTSD Therapy

PTSD therapy, often including elements of CBT and exposure therapy, targets symptoms specific to post-traumatic stress disorder. It helps individuals process traumatic experiences, reduce hyperarousal, and regain a sense of safety and control.

Prioritizing Your Mental Health

By integrating these complementary therapies into a tailored treatment plan, individuals can cultivate resilience and effectively manage stressors, ultimately fostering greater psychological well-being and quality of life.
We encourage you to prioritize your mental health and seek support for stress management. AM Behavioral Health is here to support you with effective stress management techniques and resources.
Stress Management Techniques

Your Path to Wellness and Healing at AM Behavioral Health

At AM Behavioral Health, we are committed to providing high-quality care that includes effective stress management techniques. Our approach is comprehensive, focusing on both the mind and body to ensure comprehensive well-being.
We understand that managing stress is about both dealing with current symptoms and building resilience for the future. Our approach combines evidence-based practices with personalized care to ensure you receive the support you need to navigate life’s challenges.
We encourage you to explore and adopt stress management techniques that resonate with your lifestyle and needs. We’ll meet you wherever you are on your journey, providing support and guidance every step of the way.

Contact Our Team at AM Behavioral Health Today

Ready to take the next step in mastering your stress? Contact us to learn more about our services, schedule an appointment, or access our support services. We are here to help you on your journey to better mental health.