How was your week? For me, it was particularly overwhelming. Today I’m including information and tips on equipping ourselves when feelings of stress and anxiety arise.

Even though these emotions aren’t desirable or comfortable, they are normal.

When we are stressed or anxious,

We are likely to feel:

  • Fear
  • Irritability
  • Guilt
  • Loss of control
  • Sadness


The behaviors we exhibit are likely:

  • Withdrawing from others
  • Startled reactions
  • Easily crying


Our brains/thought can:

  • Be preoccupied with the possibility of catastrophes
  • Be indecisive
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Have memory issues


Physically we can feel:

  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep and appetite changes


To focus on relaxation, we can:

  • Control our breathing: This is an incredibly effective method. There are many ways to do so, but the most important aspects are to slow the rate of breath (much slower than what you are accustomed to) and use your diaphragm for belly breathing.
  • Confront worry: “What is the worst that could happen”?
    This allows your mind to jump to catastrophic assumptions, meeting your fears instead of pushing them away.

    • “If my worst-case scenario should occur, how will I cope?” List all that you can do, this leads to peaceful acceptance.
    • “What can I do today to avert the worst chain of events, or to balance choices made in the past, good or bad?” Panic, idle rumination, and sedation are not healthy responses here.
  • Accomplishment: Let your values direct you in making SMART goals to lead to success. Whether it’s relationships, community, exercise, religion/spirituality, study, arts, or whatever value you hold high, it is important to keep anxiety from guiding you away from them.

Click here to watch Kevin Wood, Veteran Treatment Court Mentoring and Wellness Coordinator, at Mental Health America of Greater Houston speak about SMART goals.

I hope this helps with improvement of your wellness regime. Today is a new day. Try something new that enables you to feel well.

By Kara Hill, Director, Integrated Health Care Initiative at Mental Health America of Greater Houston