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Table of Contents
Introduction……………………………………………....3 Stress Assessments...............................................4 Deep Breathing………………………………………….11 Meditation Mantras…………………………………....13 Mandala Coloring…………………………………… …15 Journaling…………………………………………..……16 Progressive Muscle Relaxation……………………..19 Mental Imagery…………………………………………21 Thought Stopping……………………………..……….25 References……………………………………………….26
health professionals increasingly link stress to disease and poor health. This guide provides basic instruction for a variety of different stress management techniques. Take time for yourself. Common college stressors include increased academic pressures. Stress is a leading risk factor for the number one cause of death. heart disease and is associated with many other health problems including mental illness. and have an open mind! You might just discover relaxation and a healthier happier YOU! Eckerd College Counseling Services 3 . long distance relationships. If you find one activity particularly helpful. stress is directly associated with quality of life. and even the common cold. Therefore. and financial constraints. everyone should learn to recognize the stressors in their life and practice stress management techniques. read through this manual.It is completely normal for college students to experience stress. While not all stress is considered “bad”. homesickness. More importantly. let a counselor know and he/she will provide you with more complete instruction. roommate conflicts. cancer.
In the last month.very often ____ 1. On these 4 questions.almost never 2 . In the last month. In the last month. how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly? _____ 2. Deep Breathing Exercises Perceived Stress Scale For each question choose from the following alternatives: 0 . how often have you felt nervous and stressed? _____ 4. In the last month. how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do? _____ 7. how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems? _____ 5. 5. In the last month. In the last month.STRESS SELF ASSESSMENTS Weber University One of the first steps in stress management is understanding the current level of stress you are experiencing and what parts of your life are contributing to your stress. how often have you felt that things were going your way? _____ 6. In the last month. In the last month. how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them? Figuring your PSS (perceived stress scale) score: You can determine your PSS score by following these directions: 4 First. In the last month. how often have you been able to control irritations in your life? _____ 8. & 8. how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life? _____ 3. reverse your scores for questions 4. 7.fairly often 4 .never 1 . change the scores like . In this section you will find many different stress assessment instruments to assist you. how often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control? _____ 10.sometimes 3 . how often have you felt that you were on top of things? _____ 9. In the last month.
you can practice sighing at will as a means of relaxing. . As you exhale.*Excerpt from “The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook” Breath Counting 1. and your mind calming as you practice this breathing meditation. Since a sigh actually does release a bit of this tension. count each exhalation: “Two. 3. A sigh is often accompanied by a sense that things are not quite as they should be. Don’t think about inhaling—just let the air come in naturally. Notice your breathing gradually slowing. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your arms and legs uncrossed and your spine strait. 4. Sit or stand up strait 2. Take eight to twelve of these relaxing sighs and let yourself experience the feeling of relaxation. count “one” to yourself. 2. Three. . your body relaxing. 1. Breathe in deeply into your abdomen. letting out a sound of deep release as the air rushes out of your lungs. Four. and a feeling of tension. Letting Go of Tension 5 . . Sigh deeply. The Relaxing Sigh During the day you probably catch yourself signing or yawning. 3. 5. Repeat whenever you feel the need for it. This is generally a sign that you are not getting enough oxygen. . As you continue to inhale and exhale.” 4. Continue counting your exhalations in sets of four for five to ten minutes. Let yourself pause before you exhale. Sighing and yawning are your body’s way of remedying the situation.
Pause before you inhale. 2. MEDITATION MANTRAS 6 . Let yourself pause before you exhale. Use each inhalation as a moment to become aware of any tension in your body. 4. 3. You may find it helpful to use your imagination to picture of feel the relaxation entering and the tension leaving your body. “Breath in Relaxation”. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor. Breath in deeply into your abdomen and say to yourself. “Breath out tension”. 5. 6. Use each exhalation as an opportunity to let go of tension.1. Breath out from your abdomen and say to yourself.
Peace. Universe." You may say simply "I am". TRANSFORMATION Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya .com Mantra Meditation is the technique of using SOUND to open the heart and mind.Truth So Ham . Shanti. You can use whatever sounds you like.I am that I am Shanti. but you do not need to be "a religious" person to experience the gifts Mantra Meditation has to offer. Mantras (sounds) can be whatever you choose . achieving a state of universal consciousness.I surrender to/join with the divine will Aham Brahmasmi . peace. a deeply spiritual and sacred practice for many meditators. A Mantra is a sound repeated over and over until it integrates into your consciousness . Shanti .I am the creative force Tat Tuan Asmi . peace Some common Mantras in English I am I surrender to Your will (God. What IS) Love Peace to all I am open to What IS ALL IS WELL HOW-TO 7 .*Excerpt from Focalpointyoga. light/shadow. During an inhalation you may say "I am" and during your exhalation "at peace. used frequently in Yoga). inhalation/exhalation . honoring both the light and the shadow) Om Namah Shivaya . and elevates you to an altered state of awareness.Life/Death. creation born of change.the phoenix rising. Goddess. In this state. you can connect with your soul at its most profound level. Commonly used Mantras in Sanskrit OM .they do not need to be Sanskrit Mantras (Sanskrit is an Ancient Language of India.frees the mind from its constant DOING. Mantra is often taught using Sanskrit phrases.the sound of the Universe (vibration of all living things) Sat Nam . This is the Meditation Technique of Devotion.the yin and yang the integration of opposites (this is a beautiful and powerful mantra.
or 13 or higher.] Find the method that resonates with you. Enjoy the practice of this mantra technique. Observe the sound integrating into your consciousness.org Mandala Coloring 8 . The idea is that the mind should go to the number 10 and be willing to start over again. Inhale OM. Sometimes. As you exhale. just go back to the number one on the next exhalation. Begin with deep. As you inhale. without the need to achieve anything. If you are using a 1-syllable Mantra (such as OM).clearing the mind of all thought but the Mantra. Visualize the inhalation as life force energy moving into your body and down your spine. you will notice your whole being beginning to respond to the vibrations of the sound of the mantra. and so forth until you count up to the number 10 and then start over again. If you notice this.calming the mind and body. count. [Saying Mantras out loud is akin to the technique of CHANTING. mentally repeat HUM d.Mantras may be said silently to yourself. begin by concentrating on the rhythm of your breath. say to yourself OM. relaxed breathing .deeply connected to the rhythm. you will go up to the number 12.this Meditation technique is about THE PROCESS . and the exhalation as energy flowing up the spine. Exhale 1 (one). Begin to be absorbed with the rhythm of the breath . whispered. 1. On the Exhalation. with your own inner voice. Enjoy the process. For longer Mantras such as the Mantra So Hum use the following technique: a. e. b. mentally repeat So c. In time. or out loud. your breath and Mantra will become ONE. Begin to flow with the rhythm of silent sound and breath. This is called Japa *Taken from www. Exhale 2.mandalaproject. There is no destination here . On the Inhalation. Soon. Inhale OM. 2.
Stage 3 – Manage the Inner Dialogue As you color and progress through the stages of attaining longer durations of suspended inner dialogue. Recognize that coloring doesn’t need inner dialogue and that you can color without it.The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. family.com) Stage 1 – Discern the Inner Dialogue Begin Mandala coloring. sun. www.com Journaling 9 . and community. your inner dialogue may try to sneak or steal some of your attention from time-to-time. and moon. Describing both material and non-material realities. and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite.about. you will have noticed small periods of suspended inner dialogue growing. So now that you know a little more. a mandala is far more than a simple shape. Loosely translated to mean "circle”. grace. the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth. but return to your Mandala coloring. Elizabeth Scott. Your Inner dialogue may forcefully try to manipulate you into paying attention to it and you may succumb. Notice that. STAGES OF MANDALA DRAWING FOR STRESS RELIEF By Brent Belchamber (www. Continue to practice stage 1 and watch your moments of suspended inner dialogue become longer and more frequent throughout your coloring sessions. as well as conceptual circles of friends. you will likely access feelings of greater awareness and find an attendant phenomena like synchronicity. Stage 2 – Suspend the Inner Dialogue After one or several Mandala coloring sessions. begin to manage the inner dialogue to be better suited to your highest needs and interests! Continue to gradually suspend the inner dialogue more and more often throughout your day and night. It represents wholeness. psychic and/or telepathic sensitivity in your life and on the rise.colortherapy. while coloring. Return to Mandala coloring.
It’s important to block off about twenty minutes each day to write.) Relive events emotionally. If you really need some help getting started. Begin Writing Don’t think about what to say. and inner dialogue that may be causing stress onto paper. but finding time to write. Using both aspects of yourself helps you process the event and find solutions to problems. Set Aside Time One of the most difficult aspects of journaling is not the journaling itself. Write About Thoughts and Feelings As you write. 10 . questions. don’t just vent negative emotions or catalog events. and the words should come. write about your feelings. here are some topics to begin the process: o Your dreams o Your possible purpose in life o Your childhood memories and surrounding feelings o Where you’d like to be in two years o The best and worst days of your life o If you could have three wishes… o What was important to you five years ago.Sometimes the best way to relax is to get the thoughts. but also your thoughts surrounding emotional events. and what’s important to you now o What are you grateful for? 3. and try to construct solutions and ‘find the lesson’. Many people prefer to write in the morning as a way to start their day. However. take the time whenever you can get it! 2. (Research shows much greater benefits from journaling when participants write about emotional issues from a mental and emotional framework. if your lunch break or some other time is the only window you have. HOW TO JOURNAL 1. just begin writing. as a way to reflect upon and process the day’s events. or before bed.
you can password-protect your journal so you’ll feel safe when you write. Try not to self-censor. and you won’t achieve the same benefits from writing. Try to write each day. 2. Tips: 1. but if you only have 5 minutes. If you skip a day or 3. just keep writing when you can. To prevent the worry and maximize journaling effectiveness. Journaling Exercise: Gratitude Journal 11 . let go of ‘shoulds’. and just write what comes. you’re much more likely to self-censor. If using a computer.4. Just getting your thoughts and feelings on paper is more important than perfection. 5. write for 5. Keep Your Journal Private If you’re worried that someone else may read your journal. 4. 3. Don’t worry about neatness or even grammar. you can either get a book that locks or keep your book in a locked or very hidden place. Writing for at least 20 minutes is ideal.
seeing a pretty flower.) _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Did someone or something make you laugh today? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Is there someone special in your life who has made you a better person? How? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ What opportunities do feel you lucky you have had? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _____ Progressive Muscle Relaxation 12 . tasting a delicious cookie etc.What are you thankful for? Include simple moments that you may have experienced today (hearing the laughter of children.
relaxed. Get as comfortable as possible--no tight clothes. The biceps are tensed (make a muscle--but shake your hands to make sure not tensing them into a fist). as far as you can. until you feel you are able to control your muscle tensions. Bring it back in your throat as far as possible. relax them. The fingers are extended. Bed is okay too. 5. relax. Do the entire sequence once a day if you can. Hands. Concentrate on the feel of the muscles. The fists are tensed. let it out slowly. relaxed (drop them). Each tensing is for 10 seconds. The mouth is opened as far as possible. The lips are brought together or pursed as tightly as possible. relax. What you'll be doing is alternately tensing and relaxing specific groups of muscles. Tongue (extended and retracted). 13 . 6. consult your doctor first. or squint! Breathe slowly and evenly and think only about the tension-relaxation contrast. or any medical contraindication for physical activities. you will recognize tension in any specific muscle and be able to reduce that tension. Pull them back (careful with this one). specifically the contrast between tension and relaxation. Count "1. Be careful: If you have problems with pulled muscles. With mouth open. each relaxing is for 10 or 15 seconds.. The triceps are tensed (try to bend your arms the wrong way). (bringing the head back is not recommended--you could break your neck). Dig your chin into your chest. After tension.000. relax. 2. 1. Turn to the left. grit your teeth. relaxed (drop your arm to the chair--really drop them). relaxed. Neck (forward). extend the tongue as far as possible. broken bones. a muscle will be more relaxed than prior to the tensing. don't cross your legs. Biceps and triceps. Note that each step is really two steps--one cycle of tension-relaxation for each set of opposing muscles. Neck (lateral). Mouth. Again. relaxed. With the shoulders straight and relaxed. relax. Don't tense muscles other than the specific group at each step. Take a deep breath. 7. Shoulders.George Boeree Sit in a comfortable chair--reclining arm chairs are ideal. relax (let it sit in the bottom of your mouth). relaxed. 4. Push the shoulders forward (hunch)." until you have a feel for the time span. no shoes.000 2. relax. Don't hold your breath. 3.. the head is turned slowly to the right. In time.
relax. Eyes. Dig your tongue into the roof of your mouth. Thighs. Dig it into the bottom of your mouth. and you will be able to "tense-relax" it away or even simply wish it away. Point the feet up as far as possible (beware of cramps-if you get them or feel them coming on. or don't do it at all. Push out the stomach or tense it as if you were preparing for a punch in the gut. relax. push your body forward so that your back is arched. dig your toes into the floor. Take as deep a breath as possible--and then take a little more. you may wish to skip the steps that do not appear to be a problem for you. Bend the toes up as far as possible. Be very careful with this one. relax. Tongue (roof and floor). With shoulders resting on the back of the chair. Point the toes (without raising the legs). you can concern yourself only with those. Pull in the stomach as far as possible. Toes. Let all the breath in your lungs out--and then a little more. Back. Now just relax for a while.wellnesscheckpoint. relax. relax. relax completely. Open them as wide as possible (furrow your brow). relax. and nose after each of the tensing--this is actually tough. but when it arises. 10. After you've become an expert on your tension areas (after a few weeks). These exercises will not eliminate tension. Stomach.com Mental Imagery 14 . relax. 9. American Institute of Preventive Medicine www. Butt. With legs relaxed.8. relax. let it out and breathe normally for 15 seconds. Dig buttocks into chair. 14. relax. 13. Extend legs and raise them about 6" off the floor or the foot rest-but don't tense the stomach' relax. you will know it immediately. Make sure you completely relax the eyes. 15. Calves and feet. 16. Breathing. Dig your feet (heels) into the floor or foot rest. Tense the butt tightly and raise pelvis slightly off chair. forehead. relax. As your days of practice progress. shake them loose). 11. Close your eyes tightly (squint). relax. relax. 12. relax. inhale and breathe normally for 15 seconds.
Introduction • • • Sit back into the chair. taking the air in through your nose. the tastes. Taking the air in and letting the air out. making yourself as comfortable as possible. noting which parts of your body are feeling tense and those that are more relaxed. The Sea By developing soothing pictures in the mind. Begin by becoming very familiar with this script until mental pictures are formed. the tastes and the touches. but the sounds. Allowing yourself to relax…relax…relax…. Now take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes and become very much aware of how your body presently feels. but it is getting low on the horizon. The sky a brilliant blue. Relaxation is more complete when all five senses are involved in picturing the scene. the smells. 15 . holding it momentarily. more and more completely. the smells. and then slowly letting the air out your mouth. With each exhale finding yourself relaxing more and more deeply. allow for 10 minutes of uninterrupted time in a quiet place. To practice this exercise. very warm outside…it’s late in the day. but the sounds. • • The sun has not yet begun to set.Experience not only the sights. Begin You are walking along the ocean beach… it is midJuly…it is very. The sun is a golden blazing yellow. and the touches. You are experiencing not only the sights. the body can experience physical relaxation.
You can taste the salt as you lick your lips. firm. Sitting down. methodical motion of the waves. back and forth of the water against the shore. wet. Far off in the distance. you gaze out at the sea. finding yourself feeling more and more relaxed.swooping down into the sea and then flying off once again. Feeling very soothed by their rhythmic lapping to and fro. As you walk further along the shore.. With each motion of the wave as it glides in and as it glides out. more and more calm…more and more serene… And the waves are gliding in…the waves are gliding out…The waves are gliding in…and the waves are gliding out…The waves are gliding in…and the saves are gliding out – feeling more and more relaxed…more and more calm…with each rhythmic. Watching the sun as it sinks 16 . the sun is beginning to make its way down into the horizon.• • • • • The sand a dazzling. Feeling very relaxed and soothed. Hear the beating of the waves…. you suddenly come to a sand dune – a mound of pure white sand. methodical motion of the waves as they roll into shore – breaking against the coast –rising slowly upward along the beach leaving an aura of white foam and then slowly retreating back out to the sea. Watching as they glide through the sky…. Feel the cool. Smell the salt in the air. The sun is starting to sink into the sea and you feel more and more relaxed as you see its movement going down… down…down…The sky is turning brilliant colors of red… orange…yellow…green…blue…and purple…as the sun sets. you can hear the cries of sea gulls. sinking down…down…down…into the sea. glistening white in the sunlight. Only to be replaced by another wave that crashes against the shore – works its way up the beach…and slowly retreats back out to the sea. The waves are gliding in…the waves are gliding out… Now staring off into the distance.the rhythmic lapping to and fro. hard-packed sand beneath your feet. staring very intently at the rhythmic.
Begin to think about your favorite relaxation. very relaxed. 4. Gently close your eyes. Relax…Relax…Relax…. Imagine this peaceful situation using the following 9 steps: 9 Steps 1. Then take an imaginary visit there and relax in the process.. very serene. 5. 17 .down…down…down…down…down. At conclusion Slowly open your eyes and ease back into your activities. If the beach scene does not seem relaxing. all leaves you feeling very soothed. Picture all the colors… Hear the sounds…Smell the aromas…Taste… Touch your surroundings as if you are really there…Enjoy…Relax… 6. the warmth against your body. Feel the calm and peace…Allow yourself to feel good…Let your whole body relax and enjoy the moment. the salt. the smell and taste of the sea. the cries of distant gulls.The beating of the waves. A Personal Mental Imagery can even be a place of fantasy. Notice nothing but your own gentle breathing pattern. Find yourself a comfortable sitting or reclining position. Pretend that you are really there in your special relaxing environment. Picture where you are and what you do when your mind and body are so very. very calm. 2. Pause to create and capture the image of your quiet place.. choose another scene like a forest or a peaceful sunrise. 3.
Allow the relaxation to re-energize your body and mind. THOUGHT STOPPING WebMD www.webmd.7.com Thought-stopping to relieve stress 18 . 9. feeling totally refreshed. if even for a moment. slowly open your eyes. Escape to your special place anytime you wish to relax. 8. Pause for 5 to 10 minutes and become filled with relaxation. As you feel comfortable.
" Eventually you can just imagine hearing "Stop" inside your mind.After practicing steps 1 through 3 on a thought until the thought goes away on command. Try one of these two techniques.edu/molpin/healthclasses/1110/1110syllabus. This is your cue to stop thinking about anything. Retrieved September 20. after your normal voice interrupts the thought effectively.Thought-stopping is a process of concentrating on an unwanted thought and then suddenly stopping and clearing your mind. 5. try whispering the word "Stop. 3. Startling yourself is a good way to interrupt the thought. shout "Stop!" You may accompany the shout with an action. and try to keep it empty for about 30 seconds. Imagine a situation in which you might have this stressful thought. shout "Stop!" again. References Stress Assessment Olpin. Proceed in the same way as with the timer. 4. over time the unwanted thought occurs less often. Stress assessment. such as raising your hand or standing up. When the timer or alarm goes off. try the process again. Identify your most stressful thoughts. 1. Hearing your own voice commanding you to stop helps strengthen your commitment to getting rid of the unwanted thought. Then start thinking as explained in step 2. from Weber University: Health 1110 Stress Management http://faculty. empty your mind. but they keep occurring. You wish you could stop having these thoughts. Eventually the thought may not occur at all or will be easy to dismiss immediately. you may tape-record yourself loudly shouting "Stop!" at intervals of 3 minutes. 2 minutes. o Instead of using a timer. At this point.weber. interrupt it as soon as you recognize it.Finally. Whenever the unwanted thought occurs. and 1 minute. Michael. 2. (2006). you can interrupt the thought whenever and wherever it occurs. If the upsetting thought comes back during that time. Imagine the thought. Close your eyes. Interrupt the thought. 2006. When you practice this process repeatedly on an unwanted thought.html 19 . o Set a timer or alarm clock for 3 minutes. Then allow yourself to think and even concentrate on the thought. those that interfere with other activities. This time interrupt the thought with the word "Stop!" in a normal voice.
htm Thought Stopping Anonymous. Retrieved September 20. from The Mandala Project http://www.asp 20 .org/ Belchamber. (2006). 2006. (2006). from Systematic Stress Management http://aipm. from About.about.htm Mandala Coloring The Mandala Project. (2006). Thought stopping to relive stress.com/od/generaltechniques/ht/howtojournal. Brent.com/mantra_meditation. Retrieved September 20. from Focal Point Yoga http://www.com http://stress. from Coloring Therapy http://www. Meditation Mantras Anonymous.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/ta4818.mandalaproject. Author First Name.. George. Mantra meditation.htm Progressive Muscle Relaxation Boree. Inc. Martha et al. 2006. (2006). The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook.coloringtherapy. Progressive muscle relaxation.com/library/banner_main. (2006).html Mental Imagery Anonymous. Oakland. Retrieved September 20. Retrieved Septmeber 20. The mandala project .Deep Breathing Exercise Davis. (2005).asp?P=14885AASMAD Journaling Scott. 2006. Elizabeth.edu/ %7Ecgboeree/musclerelaxation. from Progressive Muscle Relaxation http://www. How to: the benefits of journaling. CA: New Harbinger Publication.webmd. 2000.com/t_on_coloring_therapy. (2006). Retrieved September 20. Mental imagery. Retrieved September 26.focalpointyoga. 2006.wellnesscheckpoint. how to get started. Why coloring and what's the therapy?. 2006.ship. 2006. 2006. Retrieved September 20. from WebMD http://www.
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