Tag Archive | "Stress Management"

Best (and Worst!) Ways To Relieve Stress

What’s the best way to relieve stress? That answer may be slightly different for everyone, but there are stress relief techniques that are generally more effective than others–and some that tend to backfire. Here you’ll find strategies you can use to effectively relieve stress, and you’ll also see what you may want to avoid.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

  • Most Effective Stress Relief Strategies
    Here is a collection of the most effective techniques for relieving stress. Each one can be used as a main focus for stress relief, or as part of an overall stress management plan. What works best for you?
  • Best Ways For YOU To Relieve Stress
    What are the best ways to relive stress for you? This self-assessment tool will allow you to answer a few questions about your lifestyle and personality, and then direct you to stress relievers that may fit best for your particular situation. It’s a useful tool for those who want to begin with techniques that are most likely to work for them.
  • Worst Ways To Relieve Stress
    We all want to relieve stress in our lives, and there are many effective ways to do so. Certain stress relief strategies work better for certain people, and some are more effective in general. However, in the quest for stress relief, sometimes people stumble upon habits that actually cause more stress. The following are some of the least effective ways to relieve stress. Do any of them sound familiar?
  • Readers’ Favorite Ways To Relieve Stress
    Stress relievers are important in the midst of all the economic, job-related and relationship stresses people face. And because needs are complex, it’s important to know about a variety of effective stress relievers to use in the many stressful situations we all face. What are your best stress relievers? Share them here, and see what works for others! (Just no spam, please.)
  • Find Stress Relief On Facebook
    For more ongoing stress reduction resources delivered right to your wall, visit and “like” this page–About Stress Management. You’ll find inspirational quotes with articles that address the same concepts, with some great comments from other stress-relief fans. You can also follow me on Twitter for the same great stuff!

Another option for stress relief: Subscribe To The Free Weekly Newsletter!

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Stressed By School?

While my kids don’t start classes again for almost a month, many have already been back in school for weeks! And, with the (usually) earlier schedules, busier mornings and fuller days of the school year, there is more stress. Whenever the school year starts for you, here are some resources you can use to relieve the stress you experience this school year!:

Back-To-School Stress Relief
For many families, going back to school means going back to stress! While some stress from school may be inevitable, here are some tips to smooth the transition from summer to school.

How To Reduce Stress and Excel In School
Here are some tips that can help every student–from the very young to the college-aged–relieve stress and do better in school, which can relieve more stress!

Stress Relief For College Students
If you’re college-bound or a returning student, you probably already know the importance of stress management during this time in your life. Here are some strategies for keeping stress at bay!

What do you find stressful about the school year? What do you do to relieve the stress of school? Share your thoughts in the comments section–we love to hear from you!

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How Will You Celebrate Relaxation Day?

If you missed “National Lazy Day” last Saturday, relax: you have a second chance to celebrate doing nothing! Today, August 15th, is National Relaxation Day, a day to relax your body and mind, even if just for a few minutes. Why all the days of rest? It turns out that many people aren’t as good at relaxing as they would like to be, or as would be healthiest for them, and this lack of relaxation can lead to too much stress. (And too much stress can lead to other physical and psychological issues.) Relaxing your body can help you to reverse your stress response; relaxing your mind can help you to approach your problems from a clearer perspective because you’re not simply reacting from a place of stress. Add in the fact that relaxation feels good, and we really don’t need any more reasons to celebrate today, do we?

If you’re not sure what to do to celebrate this special holiday, the following articles can give you some ideas. I also encourage you to leave your best ideas in the “comments” section if you’d like, or check out what people are saying on Facebook. Enjoy your day!

How To Clear Your Mind
Relaxing your mind can help you to relax physically because mental relaxation cues your body’s stress response to take a break. Here is how to clear your mind and relax.

Use The Body Scan Meditation To Relax Your Body
Relaxing your body can also help you to relax your mind–when you are physically more relaxed, your thinking becomes less distracted and your creativity can come out more easily. This effective physical relaxation tool has been used by many, many people as a quick and easy route to relaxation. Give it a try!

When And How To Take A Mental Health Day
You may not have time to take a “mental health day” today, but today is a day to consider whether you might benefit from one, and plan when and how you would take it. This article can give you motivation and inspiration.

Again, you can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own tips for embracing laziness in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

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Happy Best Friends Day!

One of the best-feeling ways to manage stress is to do so with the support of your best friends. Whether it’s a single “best friend” like you may have had growing up, or a group of friends who are your go-to buddies, friends help us shoulder the burden of stress when things get tough, and they intensify the celebrations when things go well. Today, August 15th, is the day that we celebrate our best friends: Happy Best Friends Day!

How can you celebrate Best Friends Day? There are an unlimited number of ways, but I have a few recommendations that can enhance your relationships and help you to build resilience toward stress. If you have your own ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments section or in a comment on Facebook. Here are mine so far:

  • Give A Gift This seems to be one of the more traditional ways to celebrate a special occasion: with a gift. But this can be a gift with a twist. Give a gift that reminds your friend of a happy memory you had together, like a framed picture of the two of you having fun, an item that represents a shared interest (such as yarn, a sports jersey, or a coffee card), or even just an e-card with a nice note attached. Because of the positive effects of giving, you’ll be getting something great out of it, too! (Guys, feel free to simply give a high-five if you think giving a skein of yarn or sachet of handmade potpourri might bring more of a puzzled look than a big hug. Or just skip to the next idea. It’s okay.)
  • Play A Game Whether you’re a sporty type who likes physical games, a techie type who plays video games, a board game fan who throws a great game night, or a Facebooker who loves the fun games you can play with friends there, there’s no shortage of games at your disposal. Let your inner child come out, and play with your friends! Having fun is an enjoyable and effective way to combat stress. (If you’re on the fence about this, read up on the importance of having fun and get motivated to play.)
  • Write A Gratitude Letter One of the best tools that Positive Psychology has identified as a route to good feelings is the gratitude letter, a letter that you write and give to someone that outlines what you appreciate about the positive things they’ve done in your life. (Here is a positive psychology-based guideline for creating a gratitude letter.) People don’t always write gratitude letters outside of a course in positive psychology or a therapy or coaching session, but I really believe that the would would be a better place if people did this regularly. Why not take this opportunity to create a version of this experience? While it is recommended that you write a full letter and read it in front of the person, you can send it in an email, casually share a quicker version of what you might write in a letter, or find other ways to express your gratitude that feel right for you. The point is that you can show your appreciation for your friends today, and specifically mention what you love about them.
  • Hang Out With Your Friends This is probably the best way to celebrate, if you can swing it. Not everyone has time to get together on a Thursday, so you may just want to make plans to spend time together (in person, if you can, or via Skype or the phone if distance and scheduling are an issue). Spending time with your friends and just having fun can strengthen the relationships, and help you to blow off steam and manage stress as well. Have fun!

For more on the importance of social support, read the following articles. I also encourage you to leave your best ideas for celebrating in the “comments” section if you’d like, or check out what people are saying on Facebook. Enjoy your day!

Social Support: The Hows and Whys of Cultivating a Circle of Friends
Why are friends so great, and how can you find more of them? This article clues you in.

How To Maintain Social Support
Friendships don’t always come easily. Here are some skills you need to maintain these important relationships.

About.com Friendship
I love About.com’s Friendship site–there are some fantastic resources here on creating and maintaining a supportive circle of friends. Whether you’re working on creating stronger friendships, helping your kids get the hang of it, or working through a challenging issue with a friend, this site can be very helpful.

Again, you can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own tips for embracing laziness in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

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“National Lazy Day” is August 10: How Will You Celebrate?

If you’re feeling the need for a break, you can get excited about today: not only is it a Saturday, it’s “National Lazy Day,” a day where you celebrate by doing nothing–or at least nothing you have to do! Leisure time is important for stress management, lifestyle balance, and even productivity, so I really encourage you to celebrate this observance to the fullest. (And if you are reading this after the day has passed, don’t worry, we have “National Relaxation Day” coming up on the 15th–you can make your plans for then, or just figure you have a right to be a little bit lazy every day!)

If you’re not sure what to do to celebrate this special holiday, the following articles can give you some ideas. I also encourage you to leave your best ideas in the “comments” section if you’d like, or check out what people are saying on Facebook. Enjoy your day!

Why It’s Important To Take A Break
If you’re not completely convinced (or if you’d like to feel even better about relaxing today and every day), here is the case for being a bit lazy in the name of stress relief. You’ll also find good ideas of how to accomplish this important state of being.

Meditations for Relaxation
Meditation is such a fantastically effective activity for stress relief, I have to give it another plug today. If you’re not already practicing meditation, I encourage you to pick a meditation technique and give it a try today. It goes along beautifully with the whole “be lazy” theme of today, and does so in a way that can enhance your brain!

More Tips For Taking A Break
Here are some ways to take a break from it all, including taking a staycation, a “playcation,” and other -cations. It’s not too late to enjoy a day of rest or play!

Again, you can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own tips for embracing laziness in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

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Happiness Happens Today! (And Every Day!)

I’ve blogged about the Secret Society of Happy People before for a few reasons:

  • Happiness makes stress management easier
  • I love what the Secret Society For Happy People has to offer
  • I love celebrating observances like Happiness Happens Month and Hunt For Happiness Week, and many of you do, too!

There’s a new SoHP event today that might put a smile on your face: Happiness Happens Day. There are several ways to celebrate, some officially suggested by Pamela Gail at SoHP, some suggested by me, and some created by you and other readers. (In other words, you can celebrate by doing anything that makes you happy, but we have some ideas for you here!) Below are some suggestions to get you started. I also recommend getting in touch with the Secret Society’s Facebook Page if you like lots of Facebook updates that might make you smile throughout the day. (And don’t forget to “like” the About.com Stress Management page for stress management quotes, articles, and inspiration from yours truly; I post about once every day or two, and would love to “see” you there!)

Ways to make Happiness Happen:

  • Visit the Secret Society of Happy People’s website and find out about Happiness Happens Day, their “31 Types of Happiness,” and more.
  • Reach out to friends. Strong friendships and social support make us happier, and can relieve stress as well. (Here’s some research on how this works.)
  • Partake in life’s little pleasures; the little things that can lighten our mood can bring about an “upward spiral” of positive feelings.
  • Listen to music. Music can strongly affect mood (and even physiology!) and can be a quick route to stress relief and a better mood. (Read more about the benefits of music.)
  • Look at pictures of puppies, babies, and other cute things, if that makes you happy. (It makes me happy, so I do this on a regular basis. I’m not ashamed to admit it, either.)
  • Tackle a goal that you’ve had for a while. Even if you don’t completely meet your desired goal, taking the first steps and having a plan that can take you to completion can bring a lasting lift for your mood. (Here’s more on the power of goals, and tips on how to reach them more easily.)
  • Express gratitude. It makes others feel good and it can make you feel even better! (Read more about gratitude here, and see how to make it a bigger part of your life.)
  • Read up on positive psychology and all the various research-proven ways you can make yourself happier on a daily basis.
  • You can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

    Please feel free to add your own happiness tips in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

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College Stress 101

With school starting soon, there are tons of stressed and excited college students out there. The partying is something to look forward to for sure, but there are a slew of new stressors waiting, some anticipated and some that may come as a surprise. For example, students may already be stressing about leaving home for the first time or being fully responsible for themselves, but have they even thought about the stress of an obnoxious roommate or that detested Freshman 15? Because coming into your own can be exhilarating as well as stressful, as with any change, I have the following resources to help college students (and those who love them) feel less stressed:

  • College Stress Causes
    Where’s all this college stress coming from, and how does it impact students? Here’s the 411 on causes of college stress.
  • Reducing Stress in College Life
    Now that you know about the main causes of college stress (or if you’ve just decided to accept it and skip to the chase), get tips and resources for managing that college stress here. It’s a great way to start lifelong healthy habits and become adept at handling all the stress you’ll face for the rest of your life.
  • What Causes the Freshman 15?Yes, it’s real. And yes, it can happen to you, even after your first year! Learn about that dreaded weight gain that many people face, and find out where it comes from.
  • How to Avoid the Freshman 15
    Wanna stay svelte? Here are tricks for dodging that pesky college weight gain. Again, here are some tips that can serve you well in future years, too.
  • Discuss Stress and School In The Forum
    Yes, if you didn’t already know, there’s a Stress Management Forum! The topic of school and stress has already been brought up, so stop on in and join the conversation! (Or you can add your own vent, rant, stress tip or plea for advice!)

If you’re looking for more resources on college life, you’ll be happy to know that we have a whole site devoted to it, here on About.com. It’s at http://collegelife.about.com!

Like this post? Want to use it to start a discussion with your friends? Pass it on!

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Meditate With Deepak, Oprah, Me, and Thousands of Others!

I’ve recommended the Chopra Meditation Challenge before because it’s a wonderful free resource that can help you to get started with an amazingly helpful stress management technique. Today marks the beginning of a special Meditation Challenge that includes Oprah and many others, and is being called “the largest meditation community in the history of humanity!” I wanted to be sure you knew about it so you could join in. I’ll be participating, as will thousands of others. (Note: I’m not professionally connected with the Chopra Center; I just like recommending good resources to my readers when I see them.) I encourage you to try to participate every day for three weeks and see how much of a difference it makes in your life. (If you miss a day or two, or even ten, don’t give up; just participate as much as you can.)

It starts today, but you can join late as well (in case you’re reading this blog after the start date). You may want to get friends involved as well; you can sign-up through Facebook and keep each other motivated to keep going. The link below will provide more details, and the articles further down provide important information on meditation for stress management. Enjoy!

Register For The 21-Day Chopra Meditation Challenge

You can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts and tips for practicing meditation in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

  • The Many Benefits of Meditation
    Meditation carries many benefits, both physical and psychological. Learn more about all that you can gain by this practice, and get motivated to start practicing it regularly in your life.
  • Meditation Menu: A Collection of Meditation Techniques
    There are many ways to practice meditation. Each technique might appeal to different types of people. See what works best for you with this collection of proven techniques.
  • Can’t Meditate? Here Are Some Tips For Those Who Find Meditation Challenging
    If you’ve tried meditation and felt it wasn’t for you (or if you’ve been reluctant to even try, for the same reason) this can help. Read on!

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How Will You Celebrate “Exercise With Your Child Week” This Week?

I’m sure most of you read this headline and realized that you’d made no special plans for celebrating “Exercise With Your Child Week,” possibly because you’re hearing about it for the first time. You may have just as quickly decided that you might let this observance slide by unnoticed, as you have a full list of activities in your schedule already. You may even be wondering why this is a stress management topic. I encourage you to read on and consider making a plan to celebrate Exercise With Your Child Week, even if your “child” is a pet. It turns out that doing so can not only create a little fun in your life and enhance your health, but can help you to manage stress as well (which can give you a boost in patience and energy for dealing with that full list of activities we were just talking about).

Exercise brings a host of benefits for your body and mind, and many of them can not only help you to relieve stress in the moment, but can actually help you to build resilience toward stress so that you can meet the challenges you face in the future with greater energy and peace of mind! The only thing better than getting these benefits for yourself is helping your child to attain them as well, and starting a habit that gets you and yours active on a regular basis. This week is about taking those first steps. (And if you’re thinking you can handle a week of added family exercise but aren’t ready to make it a lasting habit, let’s just go with the week of exercise for now; even one week can make a difference, and if you are inspired to keep going with it, great!)

This week, I encourage you to choose an activity that gets you and your child moving, whether it’s an active game, a family walk in the neighborhood, or even just some push-ups and sit-ups (followed by high-fives) as you watch t.v. in the evenings. You may find that you enjoy additional benefits such as great conversations during your walks, belly laughs as you play tag, or bonding experiences as you root for both of you in endurance challenges. (All of these can work toward stress management as well, as laughter and close relationships are great for stress relief.) Whatever your activity of choice, even if you just try it once, you’ll likely both be glad you did.

The following exercise resources can get you started in both understanding the role of exercise in your health and happiness levels, and in getting started with a new activity. You can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own tips for celebrating life in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

  • Work Away Stress With Exercise
    As I mentioned, exercise carries some heavy stress management benefits. Learn more about the specific ways in which exercise soothes stress, and find resources for making exercise a more regular part of your life.
  • How To Encourage (And NOT DIScourage) Fitness In Your Kids
    Exercise should be fun, whether for you or for your kids. Here are some important tips for keeping things enjoyable, from Catherine Holecko, About.com’s Guide to Family Fitness.
  • 22 Playful, Physical Outdoor Activities for Kids
    If you’d like to get active with your kids but you’re not sure how, here are some great ideas to try!

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Celebrate Today!

I recently celebrated an anniversary with my husband–we got married on our third anniversary of dating, so each year we celebrate a wedding anniversary, it’s also an anniversary of our entire relationship–definitely something to celebrate! We used to celebrate weekly anniversaries, then monthly anniversaries, until the months turned into years and the years turned into milestones. We celebrate in somewhat different ways each time, but one common thread remains: we look back on the best times in our relationship, focus on what we love about each other and our life together, and really savor the day. This not only allows us to enjoy the day, but it strengthens our relationship. And although our relationship is unique, I know that these aspects of how we celebrate our anniversaries are somewhat universal.

Celebrations like these don’t need to be restricted to anniversaries, and they shouldn’t be! Just as the act of savoring an anniversary can strengthen our positive emotions, savoring other things in life can give us an emotional lift, increase our feelings of gratitude, and just make life more enjoyable–all things that can help relieve stress. You can celebrate many anniversaries in life: the anniversary of working at your job, the anniversary of accomplishing a goal, or the anniversary of moving to your current home (we celebrate this, too, by doing something to enhance the house a little each year). You can also celebrate non-anniversaries, such as any day that feels special to you, but I love anniversaries because they can recur, and each time they do, they remind you of the positive role that the thing you are celebrating has had in your life.

If you don’t want to wait for an anniversary, or if you want to make an anniversary special, here are some ways to celebrate today and savor the moment. I encourage you to move beyond mere reading, and actually take at least one of the actions suggested here. You’ll be glad you did!

You can find more stress management resources on Facebook–find our page and be sure to “like” for regular updates and discussions.

Please feel free to add your own tips for celebrating life in the comments section, sign up for the free stress management newsletter for ongoing updates, and have a wonderful week!

  • Learn To Savor The Moment: Here’s How!
    Learning to savor each moment (or at least the moments that matter a little more) can really enhance your happiness, which can lead to a less stressful and healthier life! Here are some guidelines to making the most of the moments you have.
  • Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
    Celebrating an anniversary is all about gratitude, in being grateful for what you have in your life. Anniversaries work particularly well for reminding us what we have to be grateful for, but we can do that every day in many ways because there are so many things we have to appreciate. Here are some ways to bring gratitude to the fore.
  • More Tips on Savoring And Enjoying Life
    Here are a few more things to keep in mind when celebrating what is special in your life. It’s part of a larger piece on enjoying life–which is what we should all be doing! See what you’re doing right, and get more ideas to put into action.

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