This blog presents various stress management activities that you can perform to deal with stress.
This page also displays common symptoms of stress to help you identify stress, but before we start with the stress management activities, let’s have a brief overview of stress and its effects on us.
What is Stress?
Stress is the reaction to any stimulus. It is our body’s response to a strain, pressure or tension causing life events, things or emotions.
We experience stress in many sages of our life. It is a part of life that helps us grow, encourages us to confront challenges and motivates us to achieve our tasks efficiently.
However, stress can affect us negatively if it becomes intense and chronic. It can affect our overall well-being including emotional, physical and psychological health.
Therefore, it is necessary to manage stress on time, to prevent its negative effects on us.
There are numerous ways of dealing with stress.
Not necessarily all ways work for one person and it is also not necessary that one stress management strategy that works for one person also works for the other person.
The effectiveness of the strategy used for managing stress depends upon some factors including the willingness of the person to work on his stress, his situation, the intensity of the stress and so forth.
Signs of Stress
Before we work on managing stress, it is important that we identify stress.
The following are some symptoms of stress that help determine if an individual is experiencing stress.
- Muscle sprain
- Neck or back pain
- Stomach upset
- Loss of appetite
- Overeating or comfort eating
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Insomnia or other sleeping problems
What is Stress Management Activities?
Stress management activities are the activities that we can perform to manage stressful feelings and prevent the negative effects of stress on us.
A number of things can trigger stress in us, such as a job interview, an exam, financial issues, marriage etcetera.
Therefore we should have a list of activities to help us cope with stress.
Following are some of the easiest, engaging and effective stress management activities that you can perform to prevent the adverse effects of stress on you and your life:
Try Guided Imagery
Guided imagery, as the name implies, is a way of forming imagery in your mind.
With guided imagery, you can visualize anything in your mind you want to. Guided imagery is one of the effective stress management activities.
Whenever you feel stressed out, strained or frustrated, sit in a quiet, calm place, close your eyes and think of a happy place.
It could be a beach, an island, thick forest, cool ocean etcetera. Practicing guided imagery for a while can help you manage your stressful feelings.
Once you calm down and feel peaceful, you can open your eyes and come back to the present moment.
Meditation is another effective stress management activity that helps to calm down and enables you to manage stress for a longer time.
The benefits of meditation are off the mark. While meditation, you may develop a mantra that you can repeat in your mind while you slow down your breathing.
Meditation also enhances self-awareness and mindfulness. It allows you to focus on the present moment, recognize the things in your surroundings, pay attention to what is around you using your five senses.
If practiced daily, meditation can do wonders.
Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
A progressive muscle relaxation technique is a muscle relaxation method used to relax the muscles one by one.
This technique involves deep breathing followed by contraction and relaxation of muscle groups one by one from head to toe.
Progressive muscle relaxation helps manage stress by relaxing your muscles which were in strain or tightened due to stress.
Take a Walk
As soon as you start to observe the symptoms of stress in you, go out for a walk.
Taking a walk is an effective stress management activity that can help you alter the picture in your mind by looking at different calming scenes while you are out at work.
Taking a walk also provides you with the benefits of exercise and can refresh your mind at the same time.
Light a Candle
Lighting a candle can help in coping with stress.
Burning a scented candle or using essential oils can aid in reducing the effects of stress and strain on you.
Researchers have proved that smelling some fragrances can help improve mood, reduce the effects of stress and eliminate anxiety.
The use of scents to manage discomforting emotions is called aromatherapy. There are various scents that can help in calming down. Some soothing scents include
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Orange or orange blossom
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Intake of caffeine in large quantities can prove to be harmful to your health.
Caffeine is found to increase the anxiety that may lead to stress and other unpleasant emotions.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks. The threshold for tolerating caffeine varies from person to person.
Thus, if you are consuming caffeine and you feel a change in your mood, emotions, and behaviors, instantly work on reducing caffeine intake.
Despite the research findings that coffee can be healthy in moderation, this statement does not hold true for each and every person.
On average, five to six cups of coffee is considered moderate. Instead of coffee, you can have a cup of tea.
Based on your sensitivity and threshold of caffeine toleration, you can determine intake of how much caffeine is harmless for you.
Write It Down
Journaling or writing down feelings proves to be one of the most effective stress management activities.
Writing down feelings help you express yourself completely, without any fears, without any restriction and without thinking about any consequences.
On one hand, writing down feelings helps manage your stress and on the other hand, it saves you from bursting out and doing or saying things that you would regret later on.
You can make a stress diary for yourself.
Laugh, Even if it’s Forced.
It is a true saying that laughter is the best medicine. Whenever you feel stressed out, laugh, no matter if you have to laugh forcefully, but laugh.
Laughing stimulates blood circulation and relaxes your body.
It also helps decrease the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine etcetera.
So think of a joke or any past humorous memory that would make you laugh out loud.
Treat Yourself to Some Dark Chocolate.
You can also go buy you some chocolates for relieving from stress.
Empirical studies prove that dark chocolates helps reduce stress level by inhibiting the release of stress hormone, glucocorticoid.
So stand up, get yourself some chocolates and enjoy them while watching your favorite tv show or movie to manage your stress.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.
Dancing like nobody’s watching is another amazing, interesting and effective stress management activity.
You can ask your family members to join you. Turn up the volume of the song and dance like you never danced before.
It will help you distract your mind from the stressful event and make you feel relaxed, tension-free and calm.
You can also read poems on stress for relief.
Give Someone a Big Bear Hug
Giving someone a big bear hug is also a way of managing stress.
Reach out to your loved ones either your siblings or parents and give them a tight hug.
This would release oxytocin hormone, also known as the bonding hormone, in your blood, which will pacify the effect of stress hormones and help you calm down.
Gratitude is a positive emotion that gives out positive vibes only. Practicing gratitude can help manage stress.
When you think of the blessings in your life, you would get tired and still the list won’t end.
Thinking of the things that you are grateful for helps you feel good, lucky and relieved.
You can also take up Stress management courses to learn more effective ways of coping with it.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Some of the books that can help you increase your knowledge about stress management activities, skills and strategies are as follow:
- Teaching Stress Management: Activities for Children and Young Adults by Nanette Tummers – 2011
- Feeling Better: CBT Workbook for Teens: Essential Skills and Activities to Help You Manage Moods, Boost Self-Esteem, and Conquer Anxiety Workbook by PhD Rachel Hutt
- The Everything Stress Management Book: Practical Ways to Relax, Be Healthy, and Maintain Your Sanity (Everything) Kindle Edition by Eve Adamson
- Stress Management and Prevention: Applications to Daily Life – Page xiii by Jeffrey Kottler, David Chen – 2007
- Stress Management: A Wellness Approach by Nanette Tummers – 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
Question. What are the five stress management techniques?
Answer. The five stress management techniques include taking a ten minutes walk to help reduce stress-causing hormones such as endorphins, practicing mindfulness by doing specific breathing exercises, exercising, writing down your feelings in a journal and organizing yourself.
Question. What activities help with stress?
Answer. There are numerous activities that can help relieve stress.
Some of these activities include walking, dancing, rock climbing and yoga.
These activities involve the movement of muscles that are good for relaxing tightened muscles that helps in managing stress.
Question. What is stress and stress management?
Answer. Stress management is the application of various techniques and psychotherapies to help reduce the level of stress to enable an individual to function optimally in his daily life chores.
Question. What are the 4 A’s of stress management?
Answer. The four A’s of stress management include avoid, alter, adapt or accept.
These are the four options that you can choose to deal with your stressors.
The option needs to be chosen on the basis of the situation and the intensity of stress.
Question. Which exercise is best for stress?
Answer. High energy activities are the best for dealing with stress.
These activities include running, dancing, swimming,spinning etcetera.
These activities increase the heart rate as a result of which the body releases endorphins and natural opiates that make you feel good and relieved.
Question. What type of stress is good stress?
Answer. Good stress also referred to as the eustress, is a type of stress which is experienced by us when we feel excited.
The excitement increases our pulse rate and release of hormones but there is no threat of fear.
This type of stress is felt by us when we ride a roller coaster, compete for a promotion, or go on a first date.
This blog explained in detail some of the most effective stress management activities that you can perform to deal with stressful feelings and prevent the negative effects of stress on you.
We hope this article helped you identify effective stress management activities.
Let us know through your comments how you like the blog.
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