Are life's stresses getting the best of you? These 25 ways to manage stress and avoid burn out will help you relieve stress naturally, quickly, and easily. When other people and situations threaten to knock you off kilter, give one or more of these stress strategies a try.
You may notice that most of the suggested ways to manage stress techniques are mindful and take place between your ears. That's because mental distress is an inside job (even though we often prefer to blame it on someone or something else). Some are physical because the body holds stress and has to deal with the effects of mental stress. And a few of these ways to manage stress work directly on an energetic level.
Bring your stress meter down with these 25 easy and pleasurable ways to manage stress. Some of these stress reduction strategies can be done anywhere, anytime, without anyone noticing. Others take a bit more time and effort or planning.
Choose a few that match you and your lifestyle. Practice and incorporate a few of these stress strategies into your daily routine so they are top of mind when needed. What matters most is that you interrupt the stress cycle so you calm down and respond to the situation instead of reacting.
1. Bring your mind and energy out of the past and future. Think about it. Most of what you stress over already happened and cannot be changed, or hasn't happened and might not ever happen. Yes, things from your past or impending future may have to be dealt with, but do it from a sense of conscious presence and empowerment. Fretting away your energy to a time that is gone or not yet here saps your well-being and ability to deal with issues creatively and wisely.
2. Practice a little defensive pessimism. One hallmark of distress is feeling fear over what may happen that is out of your control. This tip may appear counter-intuitive, especially in light of all the talk about positive thinking, but it helps. Before a presentation or any situation you are anticipating, prepare by asking yourself a few questions about what you hope goes right as well as what can go wrong. Ask: What is the best outcome? How can I help that happen? What is the worst thing that can really happen? How will I deal with that? What can I do or say to help things go smoothly? Align your thoughts, responses, and potential actions accordingly.
3. Embrace your loved ones.
This is a fun way to manage stress Sharing loving touches cause your brain and heart to release oxytocin, which helps you feel loved, nurtured, connected, and more relaxed. It is one of nature's most natural stress relievers. To enjoy a burst of this love hormone, share a 10 second or longer hug and/or kiss, have loving sex, snuggle with your child, pet the dog, or invite the cat to purr in your lap. Be fully present in these moments and feel the tension melt away.
4. Take a brain break. A few minutes of me-time throughout the day will relax and refresh you. Stand up, enjoy a big stretch, take a walk, or connect with co-workers or family. Brain breaks make you more productive and is good for your health. Some people like to use a pomodoro timer with a continuous cycle of 25 minutes of focused work time and 5 minutes of break time.
5. Take deep focused breaths and stretch your muscles. Stand up and stretch at least once an hour. Massage your shoulders, neck, forehead and hands. Tighten a group of muscles for a few seconds and release to ease tension. Follow with a few deep, slow relaxing breaths. Once in a while, treat yourself to a professional massage or energy healing session.
6. Focus your attention as you drink a glass of water. Feel the glass in your hand. Take a sip. Feel the water in your mouth and going down your throat. Take a deep breath and put the glass down. Imagine that you are drinking in peace and breathing out your anxious or stressful feeling. You can do this simple meditation with anything - eating, putting on your socks, sweeping - the idea is to interrupt your stressful thoughts by bringing them into the present moment.
7. Enjoy guilt-free stress remedies. Here are two natural stress relievers you can indulge in every day. Sip a cup or two of your favorite calming herbal tea paired with an ounce or two of delicious dark chocolate (60% or more) for a dose of tension soothing magnesium and an endorphin lift. If you need easy ways to manage stress long-term, adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha or rhodiola can help protect your body and mind from the effects of stress. However, they are not substitutes for taking care of yourself.
9. Relax your ever vigilant triple warmer meridian. Starting at the front of your ears, take your fingers and smooth your scalp to the end of your ear three times while saying, "I am safe." You can lightly tap or rub the area if you prefer. Experiment and see what works best for you. This is the area where your eyeglasses sit. It looks and feels like you are smoothing back your hair so no one will even notice.
10. Tap or rub your collar-bone point. To find these points, also known as K-27, put your fingers on your collar bone near your throat and drop down until you feel the soft spot above your first rib near your sternum. Stimulating these acu-points is said to realign your energy system, soothe anxiety, help you think more clearly, and feel more 'plugged in'. You can also tap your sternum.
11. Use releasing techniques to relieve stress naturally. They help you let go of old emotional garbage and zap new stress and anxiety on the spot. They can help you let go of energy-sapping anger and judgment toward others and yourself. A few minutes with these techniques can take the edge off and help you cope more effectively.
12. Take a long relaxing shower or bath.
Focus on the feeling of the warm water flowing over your body. Aim it at your tight muscles and feel them respond. Imagine that the water is cleansing your energy field and aura, making it fresh and bright. Imagine the water rinsing your troubles down the drain.
When you feel really stressed out and burned out, a nice hot therapeutic bath is even better.
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13. Protect yourself from Compassion Fatigue. This tip is for you dear ones who devote yourselves to caring for suffering animals or people. You are at particular risk of emotional exhaustion and stress burn out. The result is less empathy and greater health challenges. The world needs you so please don't let that happen to you. All these ways of managing stress will help you continue your good work with more joy and energy. Give yourself permission to have regular times, including extended breaks, just for what and who you really enjoy. Have a spiritual practice that uplifts and supports you. Give your energy and attention to creating and celebrating positive outcomes and less to focusing on the evils of the world (I know, that's a tough one.) Take advantage of the many resources on this page.