Steps to wellness 20 practical stress management tips August 07 2018
Rachael Kable Rachael Kable Blogger

If you've ever wondered how to deal with stress, discover 20 simple stress management tips you can use regularly to help you deal with stress in positive ways.

Stress management is an important part of your wellbeing and can help you minimise or avoid health conditions impacted by ongoing stress. While a little bit of stress can be beneficial, by increasing motivation and helping you achieve your goals, it’s important to manage stress so it doesn’t become an ongoing problem. Below, you’ll find some practical ways to beat that overwhelming sense of pressure you might be feeling.

1. Do a body scan

Next time you notice stress starting to build, do a ‘body scan’ by bringing attention to your physical self. Start by focusing on your toes and slowly move your attention over your feet, lower legs, knees, uppers legs and so on, through your entire body. Try not to judge any parts of your body or label sensations as good or bad. Simply notice as much as you can about your body.

2. Minimise stressors

Notice which factors trigger your stress and find ways to minimise them. For example, if your stressor tends to be receiving work emails at home, turn on the automatic “out of office” reply and turn off your email notifications.

3. Use pet therapy

Cuddles with a dog may help to lower blood pressure and manage difficult times. Spending regular quality time with your pet is an easy and meaningful way to help relieve stress. Take your pet for a walk, snuggle on the couch or play in the backyard.

4. Set realistic goals

When you set your expectations too high, you may experience stress and disappointment if you don’t reach them. Instead, set goals that are realistic and push you but not to the point of burning out.

5. Exercise

Regular exercise can help improve your mood and reduce stress. If you need a little motivation, find fun ways to move your body each day, such as walking, swimming, cycling, dancing or yoga.
A woman swimming in the pool

6. Put your problem into perspective

Take a step back and ask yourself if your problem will still matter to you in a week, month or year. Problems can sometimes seem more important than they truly are and you can relieve stress by simply getting some perspective.

7. Ask for support

Reach out to a trusted friend or family member (or helplines such as Lifeline) for support. Having someone to talk to can help with stress management and make you feel heard and validated.

8. Engage in regular self-care

Take a bath, write in a journal, read a book, meditate or use self-massage regularly to give yourself proper breaks while doing nice things for yourself.

9. Prioritise sleep

Head to bed early, take naps or sleep in, if possible, to help you achieve the right amount of sleep for you. This is around 8 hours each night for most people.

10. Use a breathing technique

Breathing techniques can help with stress management in various ways by calming the fight/flight response and allowing you to take a break from stressful thoughts.

11. Go for mindful walks

As you walk, notice the different sensations in your body, from your slightly faster breathing to the solid ground underneath your feet. Allow your stressful thoughts to rest while you notice and appreciate the world around you.

12. Be assertive

Express your needs and wants calmly and clearly. By being more assertive, people around you will know how to help you and you’ll feel more able to have your needs met.

13. Use a meditation app or listen to relaxing music

Auditory tools can help encourage a sense of relaxation and relieve stress. Create a playlist or download a meditation app to use when you notice your stress levels building.

14. Mindfully acknowledge your worries

Try looking at your worries with an open-mind and without judgement. Notice what is worrying you and recognise that you’re experiencing stress. It may seem simple but giving yourself this validation can help you experience stress without adding layers of worry (e.g. Feeling stressed about being stressed).

15. Spend time in nature

Research has suggested that increasing your exposure to nature at work may help to reduce stress. Even simple actions like taking a break outside, using natural light or having indoor plants can help relieve stress.

16. Resolve problems early

Problems that continue for long periods of time can contribute to stress and may even lead to chronic stress. Wherever possible, resolve problems early so they don’t drag on.

17. Brainstorm solutions

Grab a pen and paper and identify all the options you have to move forward from your problem. This task can help you feel productive and solutions-focused rather than being lost in stressful thoughts.

18. Attend a yin yoga class

If you find it difficult to slow down, meditate and relax, you may enjoy yin yoga. This type of yoga is slow and the teacher will usually remind you to focus on your breathing to help reduce stress.

19. Avoid food and drinks with caffeine

Coffee, tea and chocolate contain caffeine and may add to feelings of stress. Try to avoid them or consume them in moderation, particularly during busy periods of your life.

20. Notice your senses

If you notice stress escalating, try this simple mindfulness practice: Notice 5 things you can see; 4 things you can feel; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; and 1 thing you can taste.
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Rachael Kable Rachael Kable Blogger Rachael is a mindfulness teacher, award-winning blogger and host of The Mindful Kind podcast. In 2015, Rachael decided to use her qualifications in psychology, coaching and counselling to help educate people about stress management and mindfulness. When she’s not writing or podcasting you’ll find Rachael exploring gardens, playing with her fun-loving pooches and reading as many books as she can get her hands on.