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3 Tips for Managing Stress From Mental Health Professionals in Massachusetts

November 2, 2022

close up of hand squeezing a yellow stress ball, squishing it's smiling face

Amy Mauro

It seems like everyday we hear the words,

I’m so stressed out.

In honor of National Stress Awareness Day, recognized every first Wednesday in November, we want to prioritize three stress management techniques used in therapy. These effective strategies have been shared by our trained therapists at Handel Behavioral Health. 

We all experience stress from time to time, whether it’s our growing to-do list, our focus on clean eating, our obligations at work, or a major life change.

In some cases, stress can be beneficial. If we’re under attack or threat, our bodies’ fight-or-flight response will kick in to help us survive. If we’re preparing for a race or an interview, short-bursts of stress can help us succeed. When the stressful event is over, our stress response will go back down to its normal state. 

What does it mean when our body’s stress response becomes triggered over and over again, and negatively impacts our mental and physical health? 

Stress can become a chronic health condition when too many circumstances trigger our fight-or-flight reaction at one time. 

To learn more about stress management techniques used in therapy to improve your everyday mental and physical health, please read on!

What are 3 stress management techniques from our trained therapists at HBH?

Although it’s not always possible to change a situation, or prevent stress from occurring, there are effective ways to manage stress levels. Here are three stress management techniques from our trained therapists at HBH:

1. Stay organized and task-oriented

Cari-Chapderlane-Cox, LICSW recommends staying organized and task-oriented for stress management. 

Organization is especially helpful for:

  • Individuals who struggle with executive functioning issues, like ADHD
  • Individuals who have lives with built in chronic stressors, like parents of special needs children or college students
  • Individuals who struggle with depression or anxiety

Staying organized can improve your focus and reduce the feeling that you have no control over your situation. Organization can be highly empowering for those of us who suffer from stress. Staying organized alleviates many mental health symptoms that are a result of a lack of stress management and coping strategies.

2. Prioritize and manage your time

Greg Handel, PhD recommends prioritizing and managing your time to reduce stress. 

  • Create a To Do list. If you don’t take time to plan you will start one task but get distracted when another task presents itself. This can result in having a lot of tasks started but having difficulty completing any of them. A To-Do list is an investment of time which assures the most important tasks are completed first. 
  • Prioritize the items on the list into three categories: Essential, Important, and Good. Essential tasks need to be completed soon or there may be significant consequences. Important tasks might not need to get done right away, but they will need to be completed eventually. Good tasks will be good if they get done but there will not be significant consequences if they are not completed.
  • Get all “Essentials” out of the way first. Do not work on important tasks until all the essential tasks are completed first. Complete all the items on the important task list before moving onto the good items. 

Completing tasks in this way reduces stress because it avoids significant consequences for not getting essential items done. It enhances your sense of empowerment because you complete the essential items on your list. 

3. Get outside everyday and change your surroundings

Sarah Presson, LICSW recommends getting outside everyday and changing your surroundings. 

You can enjoy a 10-20 minute walk outside and take in the sights and sounds that surround you. Spending time in nature can alleviate symptoms of stress and depression in your life. Getting outside can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and help you feel more relaxed. The other benefits of getting outside include meeting new people and connecting with your community.

How to find a therapist for stress management in Massachusetts?

If you recognize the symptoms of excessive stress in your life, please schedule an appointment with one of our mental health professionals at HBH. These physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional effects of stress can quickly get worse and cause more severe health consequences. 

It might feel overwhelming to find a therapist for stress management, when you are already struggling with stress. The good news is that Handel Behavioral Health proudly offers support for stress management for people of all ages. We serve the entire Massachusetts community from our offices in Amherst, Franklin, West Springfield, and Wilbraham Massachusetts. We also offer online teletherapy services to accommodate your schedule and preferences. 

If you are struggling with excessive stress, and want to learn effective stress management techniques, please contact one of our experienced therapists today. 

Our trained therapists at HBH will help you:

  • Identify your triggers
  • Deal effectively with concerns underlying stress
  • Develop an action plan to manage stress

You will learn how to create positive changes in your life and implement effective strategies to manage your stress.

About The Author

Nettie Hoagland Headshot

Nettie Hoagland is a writer with experience in local news reporting, nonprofit communications, and community development. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Nettie believes in the healing power of the arts to create connection and community. She is passionate about using writing as an instrument for personal and social growth in the field of mental health. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

Cari Chapderlane-Cox Headshot

Cari has worked in school social work, community mental health outreach, and mild/intensive therapeutic programming. She has assisted individuals experiencing a wide range of behavioral health symptoms, including but not limited to, processing through severe and complex behaviors related to trauma to dealing with adjustment issues related to life stage transitions. More About Author →

Greg Handel Headshot

Greg has more than 35 years of experience providing positive life supports for individuals, couples and families. He has worked in several different environments including inpatient and outpatient mental health centers, rehabilitation facilities, congregate residential settings and in private practice. More About Author →

Sarah Presson Headshot

Sarah has extensive experience working as a clinician, and has been in the field for nearly two decades. She has worked in community mental health settings providing support to local communities and families. Sarah has also worked as a Social Worker in multiple levels of care, both in outpatient, inpatient and crisis settings. More About Author →