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Health Care > Managing Your Stress

How to Manage Your Stress

Knowing which stress triggers affect you most can help you find ways to handle or avoid them, which may help improve your health. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce and manage the stressors in your life. Each of us is unique, so try several techniques, both long and short term, to determine the best combination for you.

  • Writing Down What Makes You Feel Stressed May Help Ease Your Mind

    Try creating a journal or diary.

    If restless thoughts keep you up at night, have a journal or writing pad by your nightstand. Writing down what makes you feel stressed may give you perspective and may help ease your mind.

  • Write a To-Do List and Decide Which Tasks Are Most Important

    Managing your time may help.

    Try writing a to-do list for yourself and decide which tasks are most important. Got a big project? Feel your stress level rising? Break it down into smaller tasks and start checking them off. This may help you get more done in your day—with less stress.

  • Family Members, Friends, or a Counselor May Help With Stress

    Family members, friends, or a counselor may help.

    They may give you love, support, and advice. Sometimes talking about your concerns or giving yourself some “down time” to share with friends may ease your stress.

  • Try to Find Time for a Healthy Activity

    Find time to be physically active.

    For many people, it can help relax tense muscles and provide time to think. Activity is a way to release all that stored-up energy in your body. Try to find time for a healthy activity. Some people aim for 30 minutes a day, but go with whatever may work for you.

  • You May Be Expecting Too Much From Yourself, Which Can Add to Your Stress Level

    Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    You may be expecting too much from yourself, which can add to your stress level.

  • A New Hobby Can Help Manage Your Stress

    A new hobby may help.

    Gardening, woodworking, an art or music class, or other fun activities may give you a welcome break, even if you just do it once a week.

  • A Few Minutes of Time for Yourself May Help You Feel Less Stressed

    Everyone needs a break.

    A few minutes of time for yourself may help you feel less stressed. Put down your phone, step away from your computer, disconnect from the stressors.

  • Engage Your Senses to Help Manage Your Stress

    Engage your senses.

    • Sights: Keep pictures of your favorite people around
    • Sound: Listen to your favorite music or relaxing nature sounds
    • Smell: Light a scented candle; some people find the smell of lavender relaxing
    • Touch: Wear comfortable clothing or give yourself a neck or hand massage
    • Taste: Dark chocolate may lift your mood or black tea may help you de-stress

Start taking control of your stress with these suggestions. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning or increasing your activity. And remember, when you’re under stress, you’re not alone.