We all go through seasons of life when we’re more stressed. More internally-focused. Seemingly more out of control of our surroundings.
And in those moments, how we respond and how we use stress management activities will either help us or lead us down a road to anxiety. Whether you’re dealing with stress at work, at home, or internally, know that you’re not alone and that there are healthy ways to help manage and cope with the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing.
A great stress management definition is “The effort of being mindful and using relaxation techniques, time-management, counseling, exercise, and healthy habits to reduce physical and mental stress and anxiety.”
You can take control of how you feel and lead your mind back to relaxation, finding health and happiness along the way.
Stress Management Activities to Help You Live a Healthy Life
If you don’t keep your stress under control, you may notice unwanted physical symptoms like increased blood pressure and heart rate, an intense fight or flight response (whether needed or not), often feeling stressed and struggling with anxiety and depression.
There are many activities to keep your mind and body at peace with the world and whatever comes your way! From eating well to doing yoga — even doing the breathing exercises on your smartphone — these are all stress management activities that can help. But if you believe that you have uncontrollable anxiety or another mental health disorder that impacts your daily life, please see a qualified mental health professional to help you cope with stress.
If you occasionally feel overwhelmed and just need to reduce stress response, here are a few ways to help you be healthier and feel less tension.
What is the first step in managing stress?
The first step is mindfulness.
When you allow your mind to go off on its own to explore the possibilities that can happen throughout the day, you aren’t helping yourself. Your stress level rises as you allow yourself to imagine what might happen. Mindfulness is the ability to calm your mind and stay in the present moment.
You can accept your thoughts and feelings, giving you power over how your body responds to your physical nervous system.
Some choose to practice mindfulness through the simple physical act of stopping, breathing, and relaxing. Others see it as a spiritual or elemental practice. With prayer, you are giving your thoughts to God — if you are a Christian, you may meditate or consider and ponder on a verse of the Bible, letting the Word of God fill you with peace.
With meditation, you are acknowledging the thoughts and feelings you have while accepting them and releasing them.
These are both simplified versions of how you can recenter your thoughts that can begin to help you manage how you feel throughout the day.
Stress management activities
If you need more stress relievers to help you throughout the day, set realistic goals and commit to practicing them regularly. Here are some of the best ways to find relief from overthinking about what’s happening and what you can’t control. Take 2-3 of these practices and implement them in your life to see results!
Practicing thankfulness. When you’re intentionally grateful for the blessings in your life, it’s harder to think about the potential bad. If you need inspiration, pick up an encouraging book — but it may be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal to jot down the good things throughout your day.
Take a minute to breathe. Breathing apps do help you remember to center your body and take a moment to relax. If you need other breathing exercises, this resource may be helpful!
Listen to music. Find something peaceful on your favorite music app to help you tune into joy and rest. Whether you’re cooking dinner or driving home, this can help you reframe your mindset and enjoy what you’re doing.
Get physical activity, even if it’s just a walk. Walking 30 minutes a day can help your body destress with intentional movement, breathing deeply, and finding quiet moments. Yoga is another great way to couple physicality and intention. Pick a time that’s easy for you to commit to daily for the best results.
Enjoy aromatherapy from natural sources. While some essential oils have lots of fillers, when you find pure 100% therapeutic grade essential oils, using a diffuser, infusing them into candles, or using essential oil-based products can help you focus on scent and recenter your emotions.
Tap into creativity. Looking for something fun to try? Sign up for a local community art or cooking class or find a creative class online. Something as simple as coloring can help you leave your thoughts behind and concentrate on creating something unique.
Find an app or blog to help you unwind. Some of the best experts are just a click away, with moral support for your relaxation and intentions! Simply choose one to listen to for a few days before committing to it long-term.
Put your screens down. Technology may bring good to our world, but often we use it too much. Setting boundaries and limits on screen time can help you explore other healthier options like reading or exercising.
Eat well. We know that eating whole food impacts our health, but it can impact our happiness too! Sometimes, we are eating inflammatory foods that can affect our mental stress levels. Try to eliminate unhealthy foods or inflammatory foods to see if you feel better.
Get your vitamins. If you’re working on eating better, you may be wondering what nutritional supplement is recommended for stress management. Be sure you’ve got enough Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin D, Omega 3s, and Magnesium.
Speak with a coach or counselor. If you’ve tried a few of these and are still struggling, a life coach or a certified mental health professional can give you the guidance you need to find relief from daily stressors!
If you’re struggling with stress reduction, know that you CAN change the way you feel! Set realistic stress management goals, and you’ll soon find that your stress management activities become second nature and that you feel less consumed by your feelings, and find yourself more in control of your thoughts and actions.