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“World peace begins with inner peace.”

–Dalai Lama


  • Explain the stress response

  • Identify types of stress

  • Explore causes of stress

  • Describe holistic stress management

  • Learn how to perform diaphragmatic breathing

  • Find out how to use mental imagery

  • Learn the steps for meditation

  • Discover the benefits of progressive muscular relaxation

Stress is one of the leading causes of anger, aggression, and violence. It’s also a major contributing factor in depression and resultant suicide. Stress triggers negative emotions that increase the risk of danger to self or others. Stress research indicates that at least 20% of Americans experience high levels of hostile anger (Seaward, 2012).

Stress is a driving force of healthcare violence (The Joint Commission, 2018; Lown & Setnik, 2018). Stress is omnipresent in healthcare facilities. Patients experience stress from long waits, crowding, and fear of pain associated with invasive procedures and tests. They may also suffer from the stress of coping with a major or even life-threatening medical condition. This may cause patients to feel as though they are no longer able to cope. This may increase the risk of verbal or physical violence. This creates a significant risk for healthcare violence (Arnetz et al., 2015; Gillespie, Gates, Miller, & Howard, 2010; The Joint Commission, 2018).

Patients aren’t the only ones who experience stress in a healthcare environment. Their family members also suffer from stress—for example, stress associated with caregiver responsibilities or grief. And nurses and other healthcare staff suffer from the stress associated with long hours of providing care—sometimes with only minor support in their duties from colleagues and interdisciplinary staff and little emotional support offered.

Healthcare environments are a toxic soup of stress-related triggers to aggression and violence. As stress mounts, the risk of healthcare violence rises. In one research study on healthcare violence, more than 36% of emergency department nurses reported being assaulted during the previous 12 months. Violence and stress are some of the major reasons nurses leave the workforce (International Council of Nurses, 2007). Educating nurses on stress management for self-care as well as how to educate patients and family members on these beneficial techniques is a formidable de-escalation intervention to prevent healthcare violence (Bronk, 2019).


Psychologist Carl Jung (1964) once wrote, “Modern man is sick because he is not whole.” I would argue that in fact, modern man is sick because he suffers from stress, and stress destroys holistic wellness.

All human beings are made up of many complex elements:

  • Our physical bodies. We have physical bodies, but we are not just our physical bodies.

  • Emotions. We can feel, recognize, and control our own emotions.

  • Intellect. Our intellect or mental capacities enable us to perceive and know things and to communicate with each other.

  • Spirit. As spiritual beings, ...

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