How to Manage Stress


Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It can also be thought of as a type of psychological pain. In small amounts, it is tolerable, and can even be beneficial and health. In excessive amounts, however, it can lead to mental fatigue and pshycial problems. Too much stress can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and is know to trigger or exacerbate mental health problems such as depression.

Some of stress comes from a demanding environment, difficult challenges, or danger, but some of stress is based on our faulty perceptions and excessive worries which can managed with various techniques and preparation.

Factors that contribute to stress

  1. Lack of Control – uncontrollable and unpredictable events are more stressful than those we can predict and control.
  2. Suddenness – how fast it overtakes us, easier to cope with events if we foresee them coming.
  3. Ambiguity – forces us to spend resources depleting energy trying to figure out the nature of the stressor.

Tip 1: Grounding

One method to dealing with stress, is to remain grounded by focussing on our 5 senses:

Touch – What can you touch around you? How does the chair you are sitting on feel?

Sight – What can you see around you?

Smell – What can you smell?

Taste – Can you taste anything?

Sound – What can you hear?

With the senses exercise, it is important to say out loud what you are experiencing. This also helps the sound sense being brought into awareness due to hearing your own voice in the present time.

Tip 2: Square breathing

A simple but effective breathing technique is called Square Breathing. To begin visualise a square and follow these points:

– Breathe in for 4 seconds picturing one side of the square.

– Hold your breath for 4 seconds visualising the second side of the square.

– Breathe out over 4 seconds visualising the third side of the square.

– Hold your breath for 4 seconds visualising the fourth side of the square.

(This exercise should be completed as many times as required for the breathing to become calm and regular.)

Tip 3: The Four A’s

Avoid – The simplest way to reduce or limit stress is to avoid the stressors in your life as much as practically possible.

Alter – This may include altering your environment, managing time better, or communicating with others to change their behaviours.

Adapt – To adapt means to change your expectations and standards, or by reframing your perspective of a situation.

Accept – If the other methods cannot be employed or are not effective, then our final option is to willingly accept the stress that we feel.


“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“Calmness is the cradle of power.” ~ Josiah Gilbert Holland

“Don’t try to force anything. Let life be a deep let-go. God opens millions of flowers every day without forcing their buds.” ~ Osho

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.” ~ Brian Tracy

“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” ~ Ziggy Marley

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.'” ~ Eckhart Tolle


For additional help with anxiety and stress management:

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