Because in my previous article, ‘Joker: Mental Health Review‘, I talked a lot about stressors, I thought I’d write about how to manage stress. Thus, here are my tips for how to avoid stress getting the better of us.
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What Is Stress?
Stress is simply your body’s response to mental/emotional pressure. Sometimes stress can be good, other times it can be bad. Good stress can help motivate you to perform better or to overcome an obstacle: rising to the challenge. It can also allow us to have the energy to keep us going by keeping us alert (Gross, 1992).
However, if, for whatever reason, we’re not able to manage the stress, then it can become a problem. Especially if the stress starts to get the better of us. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to stress is detrimental to our health, which can manifest itself in many different ways. It can damage our relationships, affect our ability to meet our obligations (e.g. work), affect our mood (e.g. make us feel depressed), and it can even cause physical manifestations (e.g. upset stomach and insomnia).
In short, stress can be seen as a mismatch between a stressful situation and an individual’s ability to manage it, and thus reduce stress (Hewstone, Fincham, and Foster, 2005).
Everyone experiences stress, no exception. Each person will be affected and respond differently to the stress and stressors they encounter: that’s just the rule of individual differences. Thus, the sooner we learn to recognise our warning signs of stress, especially stress that is starting to overwhelm us, the better. Knowing these signs will allow you to tackle your stress earlier before it becomes a problem. The sooner you tackle it, the better off you will be.
Although everyone is affected by stress differently, there are common signs which you can use to help you better identify your warning signs (see the next section).
Signs Of Stress
There are many signs of stress you should be on the lookout for. The following is a list of signs you should be aware of, although the list itself might not be complete (if you know of any I’ve missed, please tell us about them in the comments section at the end of the post).
- Sleeping problems like insomnia.
- Gaining or losing weight.
- Upset stomach and stomach pains.
- Lack of energy.
- Teeth grinding.
- Sweaty hands or feet.
- Heartburn and acid reflux.
- Loss of sex drive.
- Diarrhoea and constipation.
- Aches, pains, and muscle tension.
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Feeling anxious or constantly worried and scared.
- Panic attacks.
- Racing thoughts.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Mood swings.
- Loss of self-confidence.
- Low self-esteem.
- Low self-wroth.
- Obsessive or compulsive behaviours like biting your nails.
- Social avoidance and social isolation.
- Eating, drinking, smoking, etc. more than usual or using illegal drugs.
Why Is It Important To Manage Stress?
As stated above, failure to manage stress appropriately will have a negative effect on ourselves and those around us, one way or another. Stress can make it difficult to think clearly, function normally, or even enjoy life.
Knowing how to properly manage your stress will allow you to be happier, keep your levels of production at your optimal level, be healthier, be better mentally, and allow you to build up resilience to dealing with pressure.
Thus, it’s important to find out what works for you as an individual to help you manage your stress levels. Because what might work for one person might not work for the next person. Take time to experiment with as many strategies as you can, so you can develop your primary coping strategy, as well as several fallback options. That way, when the time comes to implement them, you’ll be able to right off the bat.
17 Stress Management Strategies
Accept that there are events that you cannot control
One way to manage stress is to realise that not every situation is within your control. For those events that aren’t within your control, try your best to stop stressing over them, because there’s nothing you can do.
For situations where it is possible to take control, then you should seek to do so. One of the main causes of stress is the feeling of a lack of control. Thus, by taking control, you’re reducing your stress and improving your wellbeing.
Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation
Even though this one is obvious, it still needs to be said, because people will still forget to use it as a way to cope. So, make time to do the things you enjoy, whatever they are. If you don’t have any hobbies or interests, then look into finding something you can enjoy doing as a way to destress.
There are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of relaxation techniques out there you could try. All you need to do is type in ‘Relaxation Techniques’ into the search engine of your choice, and pow, a million or more sites with relaxation technique suggestions. All you need to do is find the ones that work for you and make a note of them.
Have some ‘me time’
Sometimes you just need to be by yourself, free from all obligations to other people. Even making sure your partner is having a good time if you do something together can add extra stress. Thus, sometimes you just need to do your thing solo, whatever that thing may be.
Identify your stress sources
If you want to get proactive about managing your stress, then identify your sources of stress. Then work out plans for how to manage them.
This one seems a lot hard to do nowadays, given the hours we work. Especially as people often have to have more than one job, family commitments, and a commute that just takes forever. But even so, try your best to find a balance between your work and family commitments, and enjoying life. We only live once, after all.
Work smarter, not harder
When we’ve got a lot on our plates, prioritise the ones that need to be done first, and/or the ones that’ll benefit you the most. Learning more about time management will also help with this, as well as following the next suggestions strategy.
Split up big tasks
One of the things I picked up whilst working for a substance abuse charity was SMART goals. Basically, you should break down your goals/tasks into smaller, more manageable, bite-size pieces. This will allow you to make progress and see results at every stage as you work towards the larger destination.
Allow yourself some positivity
If you’ve read my article about Positive Psychology, then you could engage in Counting Blessing. You can either do this each week or try to do it each day. The point is to try to reflect on your positivity to help block out and manage the stress. You could also use some of the other Positive Psychology interventions I listed in that post to help manage your stress (e.g. Acts of Kindness, Participate in Enjoyable and Meaningful Activities, and Positive Affirmations).
Modify negative self-statements
Challenge all your unhelpful thoughts, because the way you think will make your stress worse or better.
This one gets brought out a lot as a way to help. It’s basically a cliché. But like all clichés, they became that way due to there being truth to them. Being active will help you burn off your nervous energy and allow you to sleep better if you’re having sleeping problems. It’ll also help you feel better when the endorphins kick in.
Talk to someone and invest in a support network
Talk to someone, friends, your partner, family, co-workers, a professional, or even someone from one of the organisations I listed on my Global Crisis Lines And Support and UK Crisis Lines And Support page. Having a good support network you can rely on can make a really big difference.
If you have an event coming up that is going to be stressful, then plan ahead. The more planning you can do ahead of time, the less stressful the event should be. So make those to-do lists and SMART goals as far in advance as you can. You’ll appreciate doing it once the event comes around. But remember, not everything will go according to plan, and that’s ok too.
Avoid relying on unhealthy habits
Don’t rely on unhealthy habits to help you cope with stress, because this is a one-way addiction can be formed. It might be an easy short-term fix, but you’ll pay for it in the long run. So don’t turn to drink, drugs, etc, to help you cope. Pick healthy coping options.
Help other people
As I’ve already suggested in a previous strategy, and in my previous article ‘Positive Psychology‘, engage in the Positive Psychology intervention of doing something for others, through such things as Acts of Kindness. Helping others can make us feel good by doing a good deed.
Sense of humour
I think this is why memes are taking over the world because they allow us to have a quick hit of humour. Humour, is what makes life bearable. So find a way to laugh at the stressful situation if you can. But if not, just find some time to have a good laugh at something else. Maybe find some good memes to look through, watch a funny film, watch a standup show, or even do something childish and let your inner child out.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with stress and effective coping strategies in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time,
Unwanted Life readers.
Gross, R. D. (1992). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour (2nd ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Hewstone, M., Fincham, F. D., & Foster, J. (2005). Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
83 thoughts on “17 Ways To Manage Stress”
Thank you for this post! I’ve been really stressed recently and I don’t know why I didn’t look for relaxation techniques or for information about how to cope with it, I was just waiting for the stressful situation to pass (I knew exactly what was causing it).
But, well… next time I’ll get back to this one 🙂 I like the one about devoting time to hobbys and acceptance 🙂
I hope the tips help you manage your stress better in the future ?
Awesome advice, though I’m still having trouble with the “accepting the things you can not change,” part. Surely I can control everything? Ugh. Great post!
I know what you mean, it’s hard to accept the things you can’t change, I know I can’t
Great read. I will definitely use these tips in the future
Taking control is a huge way to help tackle my stress! This post is so helpful and informative so I’m super glad I read it. 🙂
Soph – https://girlvsworldblog.com x
I’m glad you found it informative ?
My fave tips you incorporated were relaxation techniques and exercise. Yoga is a sweet combination of both. It has helped me get through some very stressful times.
It’s great when you can find a technique that works for you
These are some great tips, thank you so much for sharing.
Awesome post.. You covered so much. Take control is one of the most difficult task but I try.
Great article! Fantastic advice. I am learning how important laughing, “me time,” and allowing play in my life really is. Allowing those things, for me, makes all the crap so much easier to address. Thanks for this wonderful article!
Thanks for reading ?
It is really incredible how something that many people view as a little hitch can do so much to effect a person! Small little things to think of ourselves and bring a smile to our life do so much against stress. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading. I hope you picked up a few new tips to help you manage stress better
I most certainly have! An identifying mark is ever so helpful.
Great post! We all need to be reminded there are lots of ways to destress.
Indeed there are ?
Stress is something that we all go through and unless we incorporate some of the techniques you wrote about we might jus go crazy! Great post! I personally love working out to release stress and tension, definitely works for me
I wish I could exercise to deal with mine, but I’m unable to at the moment
Great advice. I always have a hard time accepting the things I cannot change. It’s been really hard to give up control and let it be. It’s something that I’ve been working on and managing your stress is something that I’m aware of and working on on a daily basis.
Accepting what you can’t change is really hard
I remember back in 2002-2003 when I was misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (before doctors in Panama even knew Celiac Disease existed!)… and they told me to manage my stress. I was convinced I was ill (which I was) and that none of it was stress related (a lie I told myself frequently!)
Now, I’ve finally had to tune it down, to accept the limitations and start to enjoy life, because otherwise my body responds in not-nice ways!
But, some great reminders of HOW to work out the stress.
Sorry to hear about your celiac disease diagnosis
It is what it is. With the anxiety, depression and other symptoms it causes … The gut-brain connection is intense.
But, if the gut produces 80% of our seratonin, it isn’t surprising it affects our moods so heavily.
Great post – very thorough. Love your ideas for managing stress. I think we could all benefit from this advice esp this time of year.
-Morgan @ http://www.mommyaboveall.com
I need to get back to the gym! It helps me more than anything at relieving stress! I have anxiety from time to time and working it out is the best use of “me time.” Thank you for the reminder! Good post.
Me time is very important
This is such a detailed and helpful post, loads of practical advice and tips. Thank you so much!
Thanks, I hope some of the tips are useful to you ?
I find art, humour, and exercise to be my best stress-busting techniques. Bundling up on the couch in a blanket and putting on a light movie is good in a pinch, though.
I’m glad you’ve found what works for you
Great ways to reset your life’s system.
Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses. Heart disease, depression and obesity are most common. Do people manage stress as it occurs? Healthy and positive ways reduce many of the consequences of poor health? Like in business, everyone is different, and so are the ways they choose to manage their stress. Thank you for this detailed article.
Anyone using any piece of technology should read this blog. Let us all strive to stop our bodies from functioning on alert mode.
Great post! This is a very informative and inclusive guide that is definitely for anyone who encounters stress—as we all do. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading, I hope you picked up some new tips for yourself
I think everyone struggles with stress from one time to another! Love this post, keep writing x
Indeed they do
Me. I’m beat right now. Plenty of tasks to do.
I hope some of the tips here will help you to better manage those tasks and your wellbeing
Relaxation tips resonated with me. I started meditating about a year ago and it has really helped me reduce stress and my reaction to it. Nice Post!
I’m glad meditation works for you ?
thanks for this post! It is a very helpful guide.
accepting things that you can’t control is easily one of the toughest ones for me! great tips
If you have time, please do check out my latest post ✨☕
Thank you for such an insightful post! I love all of your advice on how to manage stress. I always try to find time for myself, by working on my hobbies.
What a great, comprehensive article -you’ve covered all the bases. Great read; great information
amazing tips and informative post, we definitely need to take of ourselves and try not to stress so much. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for reading
This was such a great and thorough post on how to manage stress and what the signs are! And you hit the nail on the head with all the signs of stress- I was counting off all of the ones I have, haha. It’s amazing how stress can physically affect your body, but you have some great ideas on how to manage stress that I’m definitely going to use to ease my stress. Thank you so much for writing this post!
Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com
I’m glad you’ve found some useful stress management tips from my post
Thank you for sharing these tips on managing stress. It’s crazy how many physical and physiological effects stress can have.
Good post. These are the 16 things I do to manage stress, especially spending time doing my hobbies and all the things that makes me happy.
I’m glad so many of my tips work for you ?
This is so helpful, I think it is so important on focusing on your physical wellbeing to aid in reducing stress.
Very good post! Unfortunately, it’s always easier to say, as to do.. I am struggling with stress already many years. I had panic attacks, couldn’t sleep and everything like that… but without doing it will not get better, right?! My challange for 2020 is to understand what I can and what I can’t control, because I totally want to control everything 😀
It sounds like your stress might be partly linked to anxiety condition, have you been diagnosed with one?
Yes, firstly with vegetative dystonia, and then with depression, because the first doctor was treating me wrong…… and I wasn’t able to fight with it alone.
I’m not familiar with vegetative dystonia, but are you getting better care from a different doctor now?
Yes, everything needs to be good, it just takes a long time.
The one stress symptom that drove me nuts was an eye twitch what wouldn’t go away for weeks! This is such an important reminder right now and great tips. Thank you for sharing it.
Having a stress related eye twitch would be annoying, but also sounds like a warning sign for some seriously heavy duty stress. I hope you managed to de-stress before you burnt out
This is a great post with loads of helpful tips to manage stress. Thank you!
Thank you ?
Great advices. Stress is one of ours main life problems.
Indeed it is
This was a great list. Avoiding unhealthy habits really stood out to me, because I have been doing this a lot with my eating habits and sometimes lack of eating habits. I needed this today, Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading ?
Thank you for sharing your stress management tips. Knowing your work life-balance is important in stress management.
Too many people have terrible work-life balance, which just leaves them stressed and depressed
Great post I really enjoyed reading it. I think it is super important to really recognize what stresses us and how it effects us so that we can. Then learn to cope better. Look forward to future posts.
Thank you ?
Great post! Stress is something that always hits me at the worst times, so these tips will help me a lot.
Every little tip helps in the fight against stress
I love the phrase, work smarter, not harder. I tried to drum this into the bosses at my old job, who’s answer for everything was everyone needs to work harder. That’s why I don’t work there anyway, it was like the epicentre of stress.
Some bosses can be really bad, my partner’s manager is one of the worst which justs causes so much unnecessary stress
This is so well thought out and written!! I like how you listed the symptoms and came up with unique and varied methods, this could apply to so many different situations
Thank you ?
This is a super important post! I completely agree with everything you have mentioned here. Thank you for sharing!
Amber – https://theunpredictedpage.com
Thanks for reading ?
A wonderful and helpful article about managing the unwanted stress. I liked the idea of work smart not harder besides others! ??
I’m glad you liked it