Stress Relief

Getting relief from stress is a struggle at times for all of us. The tools and resources listed below can help you identify specific strategies to reduce your stress and the impact it has on your life.

Continuing the Conversation

Continue thinking about topics raised in your local WoVeN group, or join a discussion with other women Veterans through our National Social Network.

Questions for Reflection

  • Are you always aware when you’re feeling stressed? What do you notice that cues you in (physical sensations, emotions, how you interact with others)?
  • In what ways are the things that stress you out today similar and different from the stress you faced when you were younger?
  • What were you taught about stress and/or stress relief in the military? How were you expected to manage stress? Are those same strategies helpful in your civilian life?
  • What strategies have you found helpful for managing stress? Are there things you do when you’re stressed that probably aren’t that helpful or healthy?
  • Do different strategies work better or worse for different stressors in your life? How do you decide which strategies to use first?

Toolbox

Dive deeper into this theme with these self help tools.

This questionnaire can help you measure the amount of stress you experience on a daily basis.

Identify stress relief strategies you may already be using and get ideas for new strategies to continue to decrease stress in your life.

Improve different areas of your life (ex: mind, body, relationships, work) by creating a self-care plan.

Cool Stuff We Found

Check out these recent articles, podcasts, and book recommendations handpicked by the WoVeN team.

Check out this short NPR podcast discussing the health benefits of expressing gratitude.

Viewed over 14 million times, this TED Talk by Dr. Kelly McGonigal discusses the connection between how we think about stress and how stress impacts our health.

What the Science Says

Learn about important research that relates to the lives of women Veterans.

A survey of 1,801 American adults that was completed in August 2013 examined whether use of social media, cellphones, email, and internet was associated with more stress in women and men.

Study Findings:

    • Overall, use of the internet and social media was not associated with more stress!
    • In fact, when patterns of social media use and stress were examined in women, use of digital technology that led to connections with others (ex: emailing, sharing photos) was associated with less stress.
    • However, social media may also make people more aware of stressful things going on in other people’s lives.
    • The study found that when women were more aware of other people’s stressful life events, they reported experiencing more stress themselves. This was termed “the cost of caring.”

We Conclude:

  • Social media and digital technologies are not always related to stress and may sometimes reduce stress by allowing us to connect with others. However, learning about other people’s difficult experiences through social media may lead to increased stress. It can be helpful to take a break from social media if you start to notice yourself feeling stress or other negative emotions.

Citation:

Hampton, K., Rainie, L., Lu, W., Shin, I., & Purcell, K. (2015). Social media and the cost of caring. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

This study examined the effects of a 10-week yoga program on the physical and mental health of 53 Veterans with chronic back pain.

Study Findings:

    • In general, women found the yoga program to be more helpful than men did
    • Specifically, as comparted to men, women in the program had greater improvement in their pain, energy levels, depression, and general quality of life.

We Conclude:

    • Yoga may be a helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle! Though this paper focused on the benefits of yoga, other forms of exercise (ex: running, dancing, team sports) can also have a positive impact on your mood and stress level.

Citation:

Groessl, E. J., Weingart, K. R., Johnson, N., & Baxi, S. (2012). The benefits of yoga for women Veterans with chronic low back pain. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18, 832-838.

Find More Info

Follow these links to find additional information about related topic areas.

The APA provides additional information on recognizing stress in yourself and others, discusses common myths associated with stress, and provides tips for improving how you handle stress.

Check out this article discussing common sources of stress at work and suggestions for managing it

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