Tame the Tiger with Tension Time-Outs

  1. Is stress a big deal for you? I’d be surprised if it isn’t in this crazy busy world we live in. Need to apply the Brakes and take a Break? Here’s a tool from my good friend and health education specialist Richard A. Detert Ph.D. author of Break Time: A Personal Guide to Reduce Your Daily Stress who granted permission to share.

    Tame the Tiger with Tension Time-Outs

    Is stress a big deal for you? Of course it is! I'd be surprised if it isn't in this crazy busy world we live in. Need to apply the Brakes and take a Break? Here's a tool from my good friend and health education specialist Richard A. Detert Ph.D. author of Break Time: A Personal Guide to Reduce Your Daily Stress who granted permission to share.

    BreakTime Awareness Questions

    Directions: Respond as honestly as you can to each of the following items.

    • Are you consciously aware of tension levels in your physical body?
    • Are you able to reduce unwanted and unproductive tension in your body mind?
    • Are you consciously aware of irritations, negative thoughts, or little physical symptoms from daily hassles?
    • Are you effective using little strategies at any time or in any situation during your day to manage the stress and pressure you feel?
    • Are you usually effective in responding to hassles or pressures in a calm, effective manner?
    • Are you usually able to clear the cobwebs from your mind when getting bogged down in a project or many aspects of your life or work?
    • Are you able to become energized or uplifted periodically in your day?
    • Do you take time during the day to establish any meaning and purpose to what you're frantically trying to accomplish?
    • Do you begin your day "sharp" but finish mentally "dull" or physically fatigued?
    • Do you feel the need to reduce hassles or stress in your daily life?
    • What peaked your interest once you completed this tool?
    • Any breakthroughs?
    • Looking for ways to apply the brakes?


    There are lots of strategies to support your efforts in managing the crazy busy lifestyle you are experiencing. But not all work for all people. I remember teaching nurses a stress management technique that focused on deep breathing, and even though most felt the benefit of relaxation, there were a few that hated it. They couldn't remain in a calm state and got restless. They might be more of a candidate for running off their stress than mellowing out.

    It is important to do some experimenting with stress management techniques to find the ones that get the results you desire. For instance, I use Jazzercise as a stress management tool, even though it is classified as a physical workout. But for me, it reduces my stress level by allowing me to burn off pent-up energy. But I can also benefit from calming activities as well.

    Here are some Tension-Time-Outs, and of course there are many more to help you reduce stress.
    Several of these ideas are actually over-looked when it comes to reducing stress. Especially the new information on tapping into your unique strengths. Yes, when you identify the brilliance of you, those characteristics can help you out once you give them credit due. So when you read them, appreciate the power they would have to help you tame that stress tiger within you. Check the ones you would like to explore and commit to making that happen by adding to your daily to-do list.

    1. Reframe a stressful situation in a positive or neutral way.
    2. Improve planning using daily checklists or a weekly planner.
    3. Practice relaxation strategies such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, clinical hypnosis, or biofeedback.
    4. Affirm your personal values before a stressful event to ground yourself.
    5. Use one of your unique strengths in a new way. Here are some examples of strengths.

    o Wisdom and knowledge
    o Creativity
    o Curiosity
    o Judgment
    o Love of learning
    o Perspective

    Check out this link for more on strengths.1 New Strategies for Stress Management | Psychology Today

    6. Keep all your strengths in balance
    7. Practice forgiveness
    8. Practice mindfulness
    9. Practice gratitude
    10. Use positive self-affirmations or write about something you enjoy

    So what do you think? Are you ready to put one or two strategies in place?

    Please share the Tension-Time-Outs you use and the benefits you receive.
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    2 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    Sorry Carol, don't get mad at me, but it stresses me out reading about how to reduce stress...the multitudes of "whats?" and "do you's" and "you should's,"...it makes my eyes glaze over.

    I know it's an old cliche...but if you can't stand the heat - get out of the kitchen.
  4. by   BeenThere2012
    Most of my stress is at work. I try to mentally prepare myself before going in. Sometimes prayer, sometimes just an affirmation, sometimes I just take a deep breath and dive in. When I tell myself..."I will remain calm and focused no matter what happens on my shift tonight"...I inevitably fail at some point. But I recognize that I did. The problem is that there is no time to do these exercises while in the midst of it all at work. Once in awhile I steel away 2 minutes in the bathroom to deep breathe. Not sure what else to do????

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