101 stress management techniques: the easiest ways to lower your stress levels

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  • It's totally normal to be feeling a little uptight right now.

    If you’re searching for the best stress management techniques, chances are, you’re feeling overstretched.

    According to the Mind website, mentally, stress is ‘our reaction to being placed under pressure, the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with, and situations or events that put pressure on us, for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don’t have much control over what happens.’

    While it’s not the easiest feeling to define, it’s fairly easy to recognise in yourself. Stress can show itself emotionally and mentally in a myriad of ways. Think irritability, anxiety, low mood, or inability to switch off.

    Similarly, your body will present stress physically, too; it’ll be different for everyone, but you might develop digestive issues, have difficulty breathing, or develop difficulty sleeping. Day-to-day, you might pick your skin or nails, snap unnecessarily, or just hunch your shoulders; you might feel overwhelmed, panicked, or just a little plagued.

    Sound like you or someone you know? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s only normal to experience high-stress levels during a global pandemic. Juggling home-schooling, work, lockdown, and adjusting to this ‘new normal’ is anxiety-inducing enough, and that’s before you factor in the UK having the highest death toll in the world.

    So, we thought it about time to re-share this powerful viral list, put together by a Californian psychology teacher and shared by one of his student’s online.

    Alina Ramirez tweeted a copy of a handout from her teacher, Brett Phillips, who had penned 101 ways for his students – or anyone, for that matter – to cope with stress.

    Not all of the suggestions will be for you – everyone is different, and copes with stress in different ways, after all – but there are some pretty useful self care ideas on the list which might just help you unwind. Keep reading.

    101 stress management techniques 

    As above, if you’re feeling on edge, this list of stress management techniques from a psychology teacher could help.

    We’re particularly in for number 34 – that’s believing in yourself. As per the Mind website, there are a whole host of ways you can handle being put under pressure. “It’s important to remember that different things work for different people,” share their experts.

    Your best stress-relieving methods will be totally different from another person’s, so ‘only try what you feel comfortable with,’ advise the team. Let the below serve as a solid reminder of some simple, free ways to manage your stress short-term, if nothing else.

    1. Get up 15 minutes earlier (read how to smash a pre-work power hour, here)
    2. Prepare for the morning the night before
    3. Opt for clothes that make you feel good (and comfortable)
    4. Avoid relying on chemical aids, like painkillers and more
    5. Set appointments and meetings ahead of time
    6. Don’t rely on your memory – write it down
    7. Practice preventative maintenance
    8. Make duplicate keys (the more, the merrier)
    9. Say ‘no’ more often
    10. Set priorities in your life
    11. Avoid negative people
    12. Use your time wisely
    13. Simplify your meal times – healthy doesn’t need to include 20+ ingredients
    14. Always make copies of important papers
    15. Anticipate your needs
    16. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly
    17. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike, or feel you can’t do
    18. Break large tasks into bite-size portions
    19. Look at problems as challenges
    20. Look at challenges differently
    21. Unclutter your life
    22. Smile, smile, smile
    23. Be prepared for rain
    24. Tickle a baby (if you’re part of a support bubble with a child, or have your own)
    25. Pet a friendly dog or cat (if their owner permits)
    26. Don’t think you need to know all the answers
    27. Always look for a silver lining
    28. Say something nice to someone
    29. Teach a kid to fly a kite (if you’re part of a support bubble with a child, or have your own)
    30. Walk in the rain
    31. Schedule playtime into every day
    32. Take a bubble bath
    33. Be aware of the decisions you make every day
    34. Believe in yourself
    35. Stop saying negative things to yourself
    36. Visualize yourself winning
    37. Develop your sense of humour
    38. Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better today – today is a good day to have a better day, too
    39. Have goals for yourself and write them down. Our guide to how to set goals for 2021 may help
    40. Dance a jig. Dancing always helps
    41. Say ‘hello’ to a stranger (virtually, or at a safe social distance)
    42. Spend time with a friend virtually
    43. Look up at the stars
    44. Practice breathing slowly
    45. Learn to whistle a tune
    46. Read a poem
    47. Listen to a symphony
    48. Watch a ballet
    49. Read a story curled up in bed
    50. Try a brand new thing
    51. Begin to ease yourself away from a bad habit
    52. Buy yourself some flowers
    53. Take time to smell the flowers
    54. Find support from others
    55. Ask someone to be your ‘vent-partner’
    56. Do it today
    57. Work at being cheerful and optimistic
    58. Put safety first
    59. Remember: everything in moderation
    60. Pay attention to your appearance. Looking good will make you feel good
    61. Strive for excellence, not perfection
    62. Stretch your limits a little each day
    63. Admire at a work of art
    64. Hum a jingle, or sing your favourite song
    65. Eat healthy foods that nourish your body and also fill your soul with joy
    66. Plant a tree
    67. Feed the birds
    68. Practice grace under pressure
    69. Stand up and stretch
    70. Always have a plan ‘B’
    71. Learn a new doodle
    72. Memorise a joke
    73. Be responsible for your feelings
    74. Learn to meet your own needs
    75. Become a better listener
    76. Know your limitations and let others know them too
    77. Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin
    78. Throw a paper airplane
    79. Move more every day – even a ten minute walk is good for the soul and your body
    80. Learn the words to a new song
    81. Get to work early (far easier, now ‘work’ is your living room..)
    82. Clean out the wardrobe or cupboard you’ve been meaning to sort since, well, ever
    83. Play a virtual game with a friend
    84. Go on a picnic
    85. Try a different route on your daily walk
    86. Leave work early (with permission)
    87. Put air freshener in your car
    88. Watch a movie and eat popcorn
    89. Write a note to a faraway friend
    90. Watch a football game and scream
    91. Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight
    92. Recognize the importance of unconditional love
    93. Remember that stress is an attitude
    94. Keep a journal
    95. Practice a monster smile
    96. Remember that you always have options
    97. Have a support network of people, places, and things
    98. Quit trying to fix other people
    99. Get enough sleep
    100. Talk less and listen more
    101. Freely praise other people

    Bonus: Relax and take each day at a time. You have the rest of your life to live.

    Do, of course, book an appointment with your GP if you feel like stress behaviours are impacting your day-to-day behaviour. And remember: this too shall pass.

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