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17 Practical Ways to Manage and Reduce Stress

by | Mental Health

May 14, 2022

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with stress? Stress is a common and even healthy feeling. But it’s important to deal with it positively. Many health problems can result from too much stress.

Stress causes great damage to your emotional stability, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life.

Living with high levels of stress can put your entire well-being at risk. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. But you have a lot more control than you might think.

Stress can also be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. It can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently and can even boost memory.

Here are practical tips that can help you manage and reduce stress.

1. Know what stresses you

Recognize what stresses you, and take note of your response. Note your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and actions whenever you feel stressed. 

Better still, write them down. Becoming more aware of your reaction to stressful situations may help you to be able to deal with them more effectively. 

Think of ways to put an end to stressful things in your life. If that is unrealistic, look for ways to reduce their impact, perhaps by more efficiently managing your tasks or time.

2. Live one day at a time

Living one day at a time can literally mean: Focusing on getting out of bed in the morning and then making it to bed at night. 

It also helps you focus on where you are, what you are doing, and what is happening here and now. Stop dwelling so much about the mistakes of the past—the future—and things you have no control of. 

For example, think of it as a ladder. You have to take one step at a time until you reach the very top. Thinking so much about your previous steps and the top of the ladder at the same time could make you trip off the ladder, which can be devastating. 

Living for the moment can be the most effective and quickest way of overcoming stress and anxiety.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Surrounding yourself with positive people is important to manage and eliminate stress. It will help you maintain a positive frame of mind. 

Surrounding yourself with negative people will make your experience more negative too. It could eventually color the whole way you see the world and your place in it.

4. Fill your mind with positive thoughts

Positive thinking will help you approach unpleasantness more positively and productively. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst. 

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist. 

Be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something. That is positive thinking. 

5. Create a routine for the day and try to stick with it

Routine can aid our mental health. It can help us cope with change, form healthy habits, and manage and reduce our stress levels. 

Developing a daily routine can help you feel more in control of everything and help to make room for all that’s important.

6. Be nice to other people

Stress-related health problems improve after doing “kind acts” to people. Being nice to people also helps us to reduce stress. 

It boosts your immune system and helps reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression

It enhances the release of oxytocin in interactions where two or more people are engaged in kind behavior.

7. Always express gratitude

When you express gratitude, you feel better about yourself, and others, in turn, feel better about you. 

Psychologist Robert Emmons defines gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life. 

Start showing gratitude. Gratitude allows you to detach from a stressful period and savor a positive memory or experience. 

Also, it pulls you out of your negative mindset. It helps to manage and relieve stress.

8. Assume responsibility

Taking responsibility for stressful situations helps you gain control. Responses to situations become conscious decisions rather than emotional or reactive ones.

It also gives you the power to do what is needed. Therefore, accepting that these stressors will be brought back into balance only through personal change.

9. Divide projects into manageable tasks

When faced with so many tasks, break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts. This will help you manage and relieve stress. 

It will help you avoid procrastination. People who procrastinate often comment that they feel overwhelmed when they wait until the last minute, and the task seems insurmountable. 

Instead of trying to do everything all at the same time, break them down and do them one at a time.

10. Take breaks

Sometimes, when you are so busy working, you may forget to take some time off for yourself. That can contribute to having much stress. Because working for an extended period can make you feel sluggish and irritated.

Taking a break for at least 15-30 minutes can go a long way to re-energize you and motivate you to continue your work. 

Always give yourself time to refuel, and you’ll be sure to end the day on a better note. 

11. Do something that excites you

Doing something that makes you happy is key to managing and reducing stress. Think of what you like. For example:

  • Do you enjoy blogging? 
  • Do you like reading? 
  • Do you have fun cooking?
  • Do you enjoy going out with friends? 

It could be something of a hobby. When you do what you like, you are happy and satisfied. 

That can go a long way to relieve your stress, especially after working for a long day, or maybe when someone disappoints you, instead of thinking too much about it. 

Engage yourself in something that makes you happy. I do it all the time, and it works absolutely well for me. You can give it a try too. You relieve stress when you do the things you enjoy.

12. Delegate tasks

Delegation involves assigning responsibility to another person for a task you are still ultimately accountable for. 

This is very important, especially if you are working as a leader or manager in an organization. Instead of doing most of the tasks by yourself, delegate them to others. 

Delegate a task or share the workload. That way, so much workload can be reduced. Therefore, enabling you to be able to manage and relieve stress effectively. Ask for help.

13. Set reasonable standards

Be modest, set reasonable standards, and know both your limitations and those of others. You will eliminate stress and even encourage tremendous success when you do this. 

Also, keep a sense of humor. Try to laugh or smile, even when something goes wrong. That will help you relieve tension and brighten your mood.

14. Pursue a Balanced Lifestyle

Living a balanced lifestyle involves all aspects of your life—relationships, work, fitness and health, and emotional well-being. 

We all get bogged down with work and family responsibilities from time to time, but making time for yourself is necessary so that you can keep up with all your responsibilities. That way, we can be able to manage stress successfully.

Make time to relax. Keep technology in its place. Avoid constantly checking emails, texts, or social media sites. Do not check work-related email outside of working hours unless circumstances require it.

15. Take care of your health

Taking care of your health cannot be overemphasized—when it comes to managing and reducing stress. This can be done by developing healthy habits. 

Doing physical activities can lift your mood and improve your body’s response to stress. In addition, eat healthy and nutritious food and avoid skipping meals. Be sure to get enough rest.

16. Set Priorities

Setting priorities help you stay on track. You’ll be able to manage your workload and hit deadlines. 

List your tasks in order of importance. This will help you focus on the more important jobs, and it will reveal which ones you can put off, delegate, or even eliminate. 

17. Get support

Talk things over with an understanding person. A confidant may help you see things differently or even see a solution you may have overlooked. 

Telling someone how you feel can lift up an enormous burden. Thus, making you feel a lot better. 

Be open to their advice and help. They may have faced similar situations and have information that can be of benefit to you.

Wrapping Up

The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun—and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head-on. 

But remember, everyone is not the same. What stresses me may not stress you, and what stresses you may not stress me. 

It’s best to experiment with the different ways outlined above and determine which one is right for you.

Most importantly, remember that some things that cause us stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. 

In cases like this, the best way to manage and reduce stress is to accept things as they are. Accepting it as it is may not be easy. Still, it’s easier than dwelling on a situation you’re powerless to control or influence in the long run.

By Aleksandra Nico

Dr. Aleksandra Nico is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is in private practice in Brunswick and has experience in a wide variety of areas, including mood-related difficulties, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, addictions, personality disorders, and anger management. Dr. Nico completed a Ph.D. at the University of Nevada.

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