Manage Stress

What is mindfulness?

Practicing mindfulness is one way to change your relationship to stress, and improve your overall health and well-being.

Employees are our most valuable asset. It’s because of your hard work and dedication that MaineHealth ranks high as one of the leading health care organizations in the country. This page provides you with links to stress management and mindfulness education. It includes relaxation practices and additional resources that can help you understand stress and what you can do to increase your ability to live a happier and healthier life – even in the face of adversity.

Stress is something that we all experience at times – it’s the body’s hard wired response to difficult or challenging situations. There are two types of stress: acute stress and chronic stress. These simple suggestions are designed to increase resiliency and lessen the stress related to the complex and challenging environment of working in health care. Spending only a few minutes each day can bring about noticeable positive results in both your personal and professional life.

Recommended Stress Reduction and Management Programs

  • Stress Free Now - Cleveland Clinic's clinically proven, 6-week online course teaches you how to practice relaxation techniques and gives you real-life strategies for managing your body's reaction to stress. This $50 program offers lifetime access and is eligible for $50 in Healthy Paybacks.
  • Additional resources available through our Employee Assistance Program.

Stress reduction resources

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness is a quality that everyone already possesses. It’s not something you have to conjure up; you just have to learn how to access it. When we are mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others well-being.

Ideally, it’s nice to participate in a live class with a qualified teacher when first learning about mindfulness, but that’s not always possible. Below you will find credible websites with excellent resources that we can recommend. These FREE resources can help you explore the ways that Mindfulness practice may fit into your life:

Helpful mindfulness practices

STOP is a simple one minute practice that provides a way to step out of “automatic pilot” into the present moment:

  • S –stop
  • T – take a breath
  • 0 – observe what’s going on with you – physically, emotionally, and mentally
  • P - proceed

View video

RAIN is another simple practice that is helpful when working with cravings:

  • R – recognize/relax into what’s arising
  • A – accept/allow it to be there
  • I – investigate bodily sensations and thoughts
  • N – note what is happening from moment to moment

Regular meditation practice can help you to feel calm and grounded even when there is chaos around you. Studies have shown that just 25 minutes of meditation, three times per week can make a difference in our mental and physical health.

Meditation trains the mind to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. Anyone can do it. It just takes consistency and practice.

Tips on How to Meditate

  • Take a stable and comfortable seated position.
  • Not leaning back in a chair may help you be more alert.
  • Having both feet flat on the floor feel may help you feel more grounded.
  • If you are comfortable, close your eyes (or focus on a spot on the floor in front of you).
  • Use an effortless breath and observe your bodily sensations.
  • Pay attention to the in breath, the out breath and the pauses between.
  • You may notice how your breath changes spontaneously from breath to breath.
  • You may notice a brief still point at the end of an out breath and the beginning of an in breath.
  • Each time you are breathing in, notice you are breathing in.
  • Each time you are breathing out, notice you are breathing out.
  • When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your full attention back to your breathing.
  • Repeat for several minutes- Increase as tolerated.

Recommended Guided Meditations

Engage in some form of movement daily. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.

  • MBSR Yoga 1 (20 minutes) 
  • Mindful Yoga 2 (36 minutes) with chair modifications
  • Yoga for Beginners with Adriene -Yoga with Adriene provides high quality yoga and mindfulness at no cost to inspire people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
  • Dedicate, 30 Day Yoga Journey with Adriene - This is a 30 day journey focused to uncover your authentic self. Dedicate this time to tone muscle, improve mobility, clear your mind, and focus inward.
  • Qigong: Qigong is an ancient practice, born out of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to quiet the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase quality of sleep. See how you can incorporate this mindful practice.

Stress is something that we all experience at times. It’s the body’s response to difficult or challenging situations. There are two types of stress:

  • Acute stress: Acute stress is when we are in immediate danger or have an urgent concern. At times like this, the body secretes certain hormones that can help us.
  • Chronic stress: Chronic stress is when we constantly worry about past or future events that are out of our control. In the long term, the on-going release of these stress hormones and the chemical changes that they produce in the body can contribute to serious health risks. These risks can include: heart disease, a weakened immune system, weight gain, increased anxiety and depression, the inability to focus and concentrate and sleep difficulties.

Assessing your stress

There are many tools that can help you measure the stress you are experiencing in life, and help you know if it is a problem that is impacting your overall health and well-being. Below are a few of these resources:

Learn more about the role of food and nutrition in stress management:


You can search and request books online through the MaineHealth Lending Library.

  • Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn 
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn 
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • 10% Happier by Dan Harris
  • Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Includes CD) by Jan Chozen Bays
  • Eat What You Love. Love What You Eat 
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food
  • Why Mindfulness? – Mathieu Ricard
  • When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
  • Living Well With Pain and Illness – Vidyamala Burch
  • You are Not Your Pain – Vidyamala Burch
  • Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity – Ron Epstein
  • Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics – Dan Harris
  • Resilient – Rick Hanson
  • The Craving Mind – Judson Brewer
  • The Mindfulness Based Eating Solution – Lynn Rossy, Ph.D.
  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself – Kristen Neff
  • 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food – Susan Albers
  • Mindfulness: How to Live Well by Paying Attention- Ed Halliwell
  • The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

Online Newsletters, Articles and Websites

Access mediation wherever and whenever you want with these easy to use apps:

  • Headspace - offers guided meditation and mindfulness exercises.
  • Insight Timer - Browse a free library of over 30,000 recorded meditations for sleep, anxiety, stress, mindfulness, self-compassion, calming music, for kids, etc.
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Buddhiffy
  • Cleveland Clinic Stress Free Now - practice clinically proven relaxation techniques that will help you reduce and control your feelings of stress.
  • Sanvello Stress Reduction App -This free self-management tool can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. It includes daily mood tracking, coping tools for specific concerns, and virtual peer support.
  • Calm app - for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation
  • UCLA Mindfulness
  • 10% Happier - This web-page includes: guided meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks focused on managing coronavirus-related stress and anxiety.
  • Woebot is a free and confidential chatbot that guides users through practical, tested techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
  • Happify - Whether you’re feeling sad, anxious, or stressed, Happify brings you engaging activities and games to help you take control of your feelings and thoughts.
  • Pixel Thoughts is a free, 60-second meditation tool to help clear your mind
  • MoodMission is an evidence-based app designed to empower you to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety by learning new evidence-based coping skills.



Smiling woman in a pink shirt laying on grass

Stress Free Now

Reversing stress and its effects is easy with the Stress Free Now Program, brought to you by Cleveland Clinic, ranked a nation’s top hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Their experts will give you medically backed guidance and show you simple ways to help send stress out of your life…and bring new positive energy in!