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Coping with HIV/AIDS: Stress

for Veterans and the Public

Stress

If you are HIV positive, you and your loved ones constantly have to deal with stress. Stress is unique and personal to each of us. When stress does occur, it is important to recognize and deal with it. Some ways to handle stress are discussed below. As you gain more understanding about how stress affects you, you will come up with your own ideas for coping with stress.

  • Try physical activity. When you are nervous, angry, or upset, try exercise or some other kind of physical activity. Walking, yoga, and gardening are just some of the activities you might try to release your tension.
  • Take care of yourself. Be sure you get enough rest and eat well. If you are irritable from lack of sleep or if you are not eating right, you will have less energy to deal with stressful situations. If stress keeps you from sleeping, you should ask your doctor for help.
  • Talk about it. It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. You can talk to a friend, family member, counselor, or VA health provider.
  • Let it out. A good cry can bring relief to your anxiety, and it might even prevent a headache or other physical problem. Taking some deep breaths also releases tension.