- Mental Health
Stress Management Techniques: Journey to a Healthier You
Helpful Ways to Manage Stress
Let’s face it, we all have stress in our lives. Today’s families are busier than ever. Many parents work more than one job and still have to cook, clean, and tend to finances and other family business. Our kids are involved in sports, dance, challenging school classes, other clubs and social engagements. The American economy is in turmoil and unemployment has been at an all time high. Many families have faced major issues such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, health crises, juvenile delinquency and more. And somehow, we still have to serve as positive role models for our children, put on a brave face at work, and treat others with respect and dignity at all times. We all strive to treat others in such a manner, but hey, who doesn’t feel the impulse to tell off a telemarketer sometimes? Who doesn’t want to lip off to the unreasonable boss once in awhile? But these types of outbursts may feel good at the time, however they rarely yield positive outcomes in the end.
In order to be able to manage the stress that we face on a daily basis, we need to have healthy outlets. The challenge can be in finding successful methods of stress reduction when we are mired in the midst of such stressors. Sometimes we become so busy that we forget to pay attention to what our bodies and minds are trying to tell us and we miss the signs of our own stress. Those signs might include crying unexpectedly or uncontrollably; being quick to anger over seemingly inconsequential things; fidgeting; racing heart rate; feeling nervous or anxious; inability to prioritize tasks and feelings of being overwhelmed; inability to concentrate for long periods of time; general irritability or feelings of malaise and more. The key to managing stress is to be in tune with what your body is trying to tell you. Know what causes you stress and make reasonable attempts to minimize stressful situations. When that is not possible, have regular plans to engage in stress reduction techniques. By taking a proactive approach to stress management, you’ll have fewer outbursts and feel happier in general. This means not waiting to manage stress until you feel overwhelmed, but rather, engaging in healthy habits and “me time” on a regular basis.
In order to help facilitate the process of stress reduction, I have put together a list of things that one can do in order to help minimize their stress levels. While not all things will appeal to all people, it is likely that you will find a few things on this list that do appeal to you and are definitely worth a try.
- Listen to your favorite music while lighting candles and enjoying a glass of wine or other favorite beverage.
- Take a walk outside
- Engage in your favorite hobby
- Get a massage. If you can’t afford one, get a free one from your partner
- Take a bubble bath
- Carve out at least 20 to 30 minutes a day for yourself
- Take a kickboxing class, aerobics, Pilates or yoga
- Go for a run
- Talk to someone you trust
- Seek counseling
- Smile at a stranger
- Give someone an unsolicited compliment
- Pick flowers and make your own centerpiece
- Paint a picture
- Write a frank letter to the person that has made you angry, but do not send it. Just getting your feelings out can be cathartic. Sending it would be damaging, but writing it is not a waste of time.
- Buy a new hat
- Go for a drive
- See a movie
- Go out to dinner
- Test drive a fancy sports car
- Go for a swim
- Take a picnic lunch to the park
- Get a manicure
- Get a pedicure
- Write in your journal
- Pet your cat or dog
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or retirement home. Sometimes seeing others less fortunate helps us to appreciate what we’ve got. It is also a great way to give back to the community.
- Read to your child
- Read a good book to yourself
- Plant flowers. Digging in the dirt can feel good and you’ll be creating something lasting and beautiful.
- Walk barefoot in the grass or on the beach
- Take a nap
- Bake cookies
- Hug your child
- Make love
- Wear sexy underwear
- Buy a latte and relax at the bookstore
- Plan a vacation. Even if you can’t afford one, the act of planning and setting a goal is cathartic. It also allows you to lose yourself in pictures and fantasies about far off, romantic places
- Go fishing
- Go kayaking or canoeing
- Lie on the beach and get a tan
- Blow bubbles
- Enjoy a bonfire
- Go stargazing
- Wash the car yourself
- Visit the aquarium
- Talk to your company’s Employee Assistance Representative
- Unplug or turn off the phone
- Play a board game
- Ask someone to tell you a good joke
- Watch your favorite comedy
- Play like a kid (e.g. jump in a pile of leaves, go sledding, ride a roller coaster)
- Ride a bicycle
- Have a campout in your backyard
- Roast marshmallows
- Get a foot rub
- Go to the driving range or shoot a round of golf
- Remind yourself of at least one good thing that has happened during the course of every day.
- Name at least one thing that you are thankful for everyday.
- Keep things in perspective. There is always someone who has worse circumstances than you.
- Make a homemade pizza
- Play with a Koosh ball
- Sing out loud
- LOVE YOURSELF!
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© 2010 Jaynie2000