3. Recognizing Your Stress & Anxiety
It’s important to learn how to recognize your stress and anxiety levels. The most risky part of
stress and anxiety is how easily increasing levels can sneak up on you.
You get used to it and it starts to feel familiar, even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s
The signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety excess can easily be missed. The states of
stress and anxiety affect your mind/body system, your reactions, and not everyone
experiences it in the same way.
4. Signs & Symptoms of Stress & Anxiety Excess
Cognitive Symptoms Emotional Symptoms Physical Symptoms Behavioral Symptoms
Inability to concentrate
Seeing only negative
Irritability or short temper
Agitation, inability to relax
Sense of loneliness/isolation
Aches & pains
Diarrhea or constipation
Chest pain, rapid heartrate
Loss of sex drive
-Sleeping too much/too little
-using alcohol/drugs to relax
-nervous habits (nail biting,
5. Some common causes of Stress & Anxiety
• Some kind of challenging event or
situation often triggers the stress
and anxiety excess. A trigger often
acts as a ‘last straw,’ since in most
cases the stress and anxiety has
been accumulating over some
6. A Significant Personal
A Significant Life
Anxious Self Talk Withheld Feelings
Loss of a significant
death/breakup, loss of
job/loss of physical
Getting married/ a
baby/ going to
jobs/ a big move
Too much caffeine, heavy
drug use (meth/cocaine/
amphetamines, lsd) or
What you say to
yourself on your
own. An internal
Holding in feelings of
sadness, or even
excitement can add to
Lack of Assertiveness Absence of Self Care
Fast Paced Lifestyle Lack of Meaning or a Sense of
Need to have an
speaking about your
Underlying sense of
brought on from
Is it rushed? Fast paced? Or slow
? A self-care practice for managing
your stress will help slow down
Not having a real feeling of
purpose in our everyday life.
7. 0-OK-ness: Feeling of well being and peace
1-Very Early Stress & Anxiety: Passing glimmer of stress & anxiety; feeling slightly
2- Early stress & Anxiety: Butterflies in gut; muscle tension; feeling moderately
3- Low Stress & Anxiety: Feeling awkward but still in control; heart starting to beat
more rapidly; slightly sweaty skin
4- Moderate Stress & Anxiety: Feeling uncomfortable or beginning to zone out; heart
beating rapidly; muscles tightening; worry about
5- High Stress & Anxiety: Heart pounding/irregular beating; constricted breathing;
feeling dizzy/zoned out; feeling compelled to escape.
6- Major Stress & Anxiety: Great difficulty breathing; palpitations; dissociation;
increasing fear in response/losing control
7-10- Extreme Stress & Anxiety: Symptoms of stress & anxiety magnified; fear of going
crazy/dying; terror; obsession w/ escape
8. Depth Relaxation
1. Lowering of heart rate
2. Lowering of respiratory
3. Lowing of blood pressure
4. Greater alpha-wave brain activity
5. Lessening of analytical thinking
6. Lessening of muscle tension
7. Lowering of metabolic rate
8. Lowering of oxygen consumption
5-minute visualization guided meditation on manifesting the
life we want…
A Practice of creating in your
“minds eye” a fully detailed
mental image of a calm and
peaceful place. With eyes shut
you may begin with visualizing
small details and work up to a
whole picture from top to bottom.
10. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic Breathing, as discussed in Module 4, involves breathing fully from your visceral cavity or from the
bottom of your lungs. It is the inverse of the way you breathe when you experience stress and anxiety, which is
usually rather shallow and high in your chest. This requires becoming more conscious of the act of breathing.
Place one hand on your stomach right beneath your ribcage.
Inhale slowly and breathe deeply through your nostrils into the lowest point down in your lungs you can reach.
Your chest will move up a little while your stomach area lifts up, forcing your hand up.
As you have inhaled fully, count to three and then exhale fully through your nose. As you exhale, let go and
imagine your entire body getting limber, relaxed, and resilient.
Remind yourself that all you need to do is give and take, breathe in and breathe out. Repeat depth breathing
in this way for 10 breaths. Concentrate on keeping your breaths smooth, avoiding sudden inhaling or exhaling.
11. Physical Exercise
1. Begin exercising slowly. Start by spending only 5-10 minutes every other day for the first week. Add 5
minutes to your workout time each successive week until you reach 30 minutes. Doing too much too
fast causes the greatest exercise attrition rate.
2. Expect some initial discomfort such as aches and pains when you start out. These will disappear as you
gain improved physical condition allowing your body to recover sufficiently.
3. Warm up before exercising by doing some very light stretches, sit ups, and/or push ups to get the blood
flowing to your muscles. Follow with a 2-3 minute cool down at the end too.
4. Make a commitment to an exercise practice for a minimum of 30 days and then re evaluate. You may
find exercise to be sufficiently rewarding so that you will choose to continue.
5. Quit exercising right away if you experience any sudden, unexplainable body pains or other symptoms.
12. Organization &
Time management tips in video above.
• List Jobs & their priorities- list everything in it’s
importance to being accomplished.
• Organize your finances & mail- keeping your
paperwork organized helps reduce stress/anxiety.
• Keep a journal- Best to write it down to help you get
it out of your head and be open to what is stressing
• Organize and label your belongings- Can help us feel
more in control in our everyday life.
• Use driving time wisely- When you can, make your
lists/chores to be accomplished etc… try to get set up
13. Social Support
Getting support from friends, coworkers, or family is a very good way
to help manage stress & anxiety.
Withdrawal from High-Stress & Anxiety Situations
Withdrawal from High-Stress and Anxiety is appropriate when it is excessive. To
remain in a situation when stress & anxiety get too high can sensitize you to a
particular situation, the excessive level automatically returns.
14. Redirecting Attention
Talk to someone in
Talking out the
help us to process
and work it out
some of the stress
Get some exercise.
Go for a walk, ride
an exercise bike,
do some dance
steps or other
sewing, or playing
angry feelings by
pounding a pillow
or hitting your
bed. But do not
vent at the
source of your
activities, get a
hug, have sex,
Have a healthy
snack, such as a
with a low fat
milk as a soothing
15. Don’t Fight Stress and Anxiety
It’s important to avoid fighting against your stress and anxiety, for example, by tensing up against stress and
anxiety symptoms or trying to ’force’ them to go away. This only creates more muscle tension, which is one of
the contributing causes of stress and anxiety in the first place.
Face Stress and
Accept what your
body is going
Float with the
‘wave’ of Stress &
anxiety, instead of
forcing your way
Allow time to
16. Coping Statements
This feeling isn’t
pleasant, but I can
I can be anxious &
still deal with this
This is not an
emergency. It’s okay
to think slowly about
what I need to do.
This is not the worst
thing that could
I’m going to go with
this and wait for my
stress and anxiety to
This is an opportunity
for me to learn to
cope with my fears.
I’ll just let my body do
its thing. This will
I’ll ride this through –
I don’t need to let this
get to me.
I deserve to feel okay
I can take all the time
I need to let go and
I can always leave if I
I’ve survived this
before and I’ll survive
this time, too.
This is not dangerous. So what?
17. How to get the most out of coping statements
It is not required that you concentrate on the messages or make any special effort. However, to
improve its effectiveness, we suggest that you play soft music, and read the affirmations at least
once each day.
Letting Go Focusing on the present moment is the secret for letting go. Instead of worrying about
everything in your life, you can zero in on the task at hand.
• Taking one day at a time.
• Practicing Gratitude.
• Forgetting the Grass-Is-Greener Illusion
Homework: Anger Log