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Stress Management

Stress is our natural biological and psychological response to any perceived threat or demand. It is universal and unavoidable. Without stress we would not be motivated, challenged, productive, and creative or accomplish those things that are of greatest importance to us.


While our bodies are designed to be highly effective at detecting and addressing a perceived threat in the short term; the types of demands that most of us face today – stress regarding money, relationships, work, etc. - are often not as immediate, visible or easily resolved.  FEAP provides confidential, face to face consultations for employees wanting to address and manage the impact of stress on their daily lives.At some point all of us experience periods where life stressors can feel overwhelming and unmanageable. 

FEAP interventions are designed to identify current coping, expand and increase healthy coping, provide education and information on the most recent stress research, and link individuals to resources to help improve overall health and well-being.

Stress Basics

Stress Relief

Information on Latest Stress Research

How to Make Stress Your Friend


Resources for Coping with Stress

Diet: How to Manage Stress with the Right Foods

 Exercise and Stress Relief

 Quick Calm Deep Breathing Video

Mindfulnessor the practice of maintaining a present awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences, without judgment, has been proven very effective in not only managing stress, but actually increasing overall health and well-being.  Below is information on mindfulness from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, including brief videos by John Kabat-Zinn, who has been integral in bringing an understanding of the benefits of mindfulness into the mainstream. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition

 The attached link for UVA School of Medicine’s Mindfulness Center includes information on mindfulness, events and programs, as well as free mindfulness recordings:  https://med.virginia.edu/mindfulness-center/

 FEAP consultants are versed in happiness research/strategies and can work with you to learn effective ways to increase happiness in your life.  FEAP also provides a seminar related to this topic entitled:  Wired for Happiness.  To learn more about happiness and ways to increase it in your life, contact 434-243-2643 and ask for a free, confidential appointment with a FEAP consultant. 



Positive Psychology is a growing field that explores human flourishing and how to help achieve that in one’s life through scientific research and real world application.  The field in part studies happiness (please link to my part on happiness), but also encompasses exploring strengths and virtues that allow people and communities to thrive.  Meaning and purpose play an important successfully navigating that journey.

FEAP has a consultant who has her Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology who can meet with you to share information on the field of Positive Psychology and how you can learn to thrive more in your life.  FEAP also provides seminars on Positive Psychology:  Cultivating a Positive Mindset and Wired for Happiness.  To learn more about Positive Psychology, contact 434-243-2643 and ask for a free, confidential appointment with a FEAP consultant.

Want to Learn More?

TED Talks Related to Positive Psychology

Grit:  The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth

Flow, the Secret to Happiness by Mihly Csikszetmihalyi

The New Era of Positive Psychology by Martin Seligman

Websites related to Positive Psychology:

Positive Psychology Center  Dr. Martin Seligman’s program at University of Pennsylvania with information on the field of study, research, and programs focused on the field of Positive Psychology

Tal Ben-Shahar  Harvard professor and author of Positive Psychology who also created a certificate in Positive Psychology program

Mindset Carol Dweck, Ph.D.’s website where she shares information on the power of mindset

Self-Compassion Dr. Kristin Neff’s website where she shares information about self-compassion along with self-compassion practices to try



In our culture, it is clearly understood that in order to embark on a cross country journey by car, it is imperative to attend to all that the car requires in order to run effectively. We need to pause and pull over in order to refuel, and we need to monitor the oil, temperature, tires and overall mechanics. If something is going wrong we need to address it OR we will be stuck on the side of the road. It’s astounding to me how we don’t embrace and understand the wisdom in doing the same things for ourselves and our bodies.

What if we had our own internal energy gage that monitored our physical energy, our emotional energy, our mental energy and even our spiritual energy? What if we really understood how much energy was required 

from each of these realms for the challenges and tasks we face throughout our day?  What if we understood and practiced ways to effectively refuel and nourish ourselves in order to prevent an empty tank? To use a well-known cliché, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.’ 

Good self-care is one of the best ways you can set yourself up for success.  Self-care helps us respond with skillful communication and develop healthy respectful relationships.   Self-care helps prevent burnout. Knowing what nourishes and refuels you is powerful wisdom especially if you incorporate daily practices to rest and refuel even as you attend to your other responsibilities. 

In today’s fast paced world, we recognize this is not always easily accomplished.  So many of our valued team members expend energy at their full time job and return home to additional responsibilities. Effective refueling may require some creative problem solving, but we encourage you not to give up on attending to your own needs and ensuring YOU have a place at the TOP of your to do list.

Dean Becker of the Hay Group defines resiliency as “A wise deployment of limited resources”.  With this definition in mind, this section on stress explores strategies to wisely attend to your own mental, physical and emotional energy resources in the midst of challenging situations.


Focusing on what is out of your control is like using a bucket

with a hole in the bottom to carry precious limited drinking water.                                    


 Focusing on what is within your control to make the most out of your opportunities to rest and refuel as well as choosing optimal responses and utilizing skillful strategies when facing challenges IS wise deployment of your limited energy resources.  FEAP, in conjunction with many resources at UVA, and within our community offer resources and additional information to help you develop strategies to rest and refuel.  


 Make sleep your top priority

Pause every 90 seconds to briefly stretch and take deep, noticed breaths.  While you are breathing in, know you are breathing in and while you are breathing out, know you are breathing out

Pause work for your lunch break

  • Make time for activities that nourish you and help you refuel regularly
  • Get a massage
  • Play a game
  • Dance
  • Yoga, meditation, mind/body actives
  • Write in a journal
  • Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you
  • Rest by water
  • Take a weekend away to a place you love
  • Spend time in nature
  • Join a support group
  • Lay in the grass and watch the clouds
  • Enjoy a favorite hobby
  • Playful exercise
  • Socialize with people who encourage and support you
  • Express yourself creatively, (Draw, paint, sing, bake, sew, build something, write poetry
  • Cuddle with pets
  • Listen to music