October 14, 2011

Stress Management Strategies

Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace. ~Joan Borysenko

Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you brings things back into balance. 

Generally, to deal with any type of stressful situation you have 2 choices:

1st Choice: Change the situation -
  • Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Stress management strategy #2: Alter the stressor
2nd Choice: Change your reaction -
  • Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor
  • Stress management strategy #4: Accept the stressor

Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.
You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate. 
We highly recommend reading:
Stress Management:
Finding the relaxation that work for you
  1. Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you are close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surfier recipe for stress.
    Learn to Say NO nicely “N.I.C.E” to say NO
    N: Say No”. Not “maybe” or “later”.
    I: Follow with an “I” statement: “I’m not going to .... , it is not part of my life plan”
    C:If pressure continues, “Change”. Change the topic. Change your conversation partner. Change the location.
    E:If these strategies do not help, you need “Exit “plan. Leave a bad situation immediately.
  2. Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.

  3. Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

  4. Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

  5. Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’. Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation

We highly recommend reading:
How to handle difficult people-
It's Your Choice

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future.

Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
  1. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.

  2. Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behaviour, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you will have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.

  3. Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you are got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.

  4. Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you are stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you are under.

Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
We highly recommend reading:
Coping with change and
transition in life
  1. Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favourite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.

  2. Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.

  3. Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a majour source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with ‘good enough’.

  4. Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude
How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as ‘always’, ‘never’, should’ and ‘must’. These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.

Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change

Some sources of 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 such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
We highly recommend reading:
Self-compassion as a coping strategy
during stressful life events
  1. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control – particularly the behaviour of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

  2. Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”. When facing majour challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.

  3. Share your feelings: Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you are doing through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.

  4. Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negativity energy by forgiving and moving on.


  1. Thanks for providing this great information on stress management. I think there are a lot o people in the world that have this problem.

  2. Thanks. The above information about Stress is very useful.

  3. I had difficulty with stress too. But over a long period of time of trying different things, I discovered a number of ways that really helped. I have much more info about this on my site www.stressmanagement.youaccomplish.com.

  4. Stress disturbs your wellness and can damage your life. It affects your family, friends...
    I know coz my wife was so stressed, about work, home, even me. Every single day we were fighting and negative atmosphere was in our bedroom too. To be honest 'the bad time' is in the past now. Finally we live in harmony. I just want to share with you guys what i have researched: http://stressmanagement.danielgreat.com
    My wife Joanna had to look at things from different angle.
    Good luck