63 Ideas for Stress Reduction

For the most part, stress isn’t something outside of us – it’s between our ears. And that’s good because it means we can usually do something about it.

Here are some ideas to help you reduce stress in your life. Take the ones that appeal to you to develop your coping strategy.

  1. Sing a favorite song.
  2. Be careful of falling into an “I want it now” mentality. Computers and microwave ovens can produce instantaneously – people work slower.
  3. Buy clothes that are (1) comfortable. (2) easy to maintain, and (3) easy to pair with other clothes that you have. Shun “dry-clean only” labels.
  4. The more expensive something is, the more stress you’ll feel if you lose it or it breaks.
  5. Give yourself time to get used to the big change before you take on another big change.
  6. Remind yourself that you aren’t responsible for other people’s moods or feelings.
  7. Don’t pin negative labels on yourself. (Instead of thinking, “I’m scatterbrained and inconsiderate,” think, “I forgot an appointment.”)
  8. Look out the window and “go on safari.” Study sauntering cats, busy squirrels, wandering dogs, and birds.
  9. Take a moment to relive a happy time in your life.
  10. Listen to your favorite music.
  11. Set a timer for 15 minutes – put your feet up and relax.
  12. Take a long drive in a new direction on the road you’ve never traveled before.
  13. Get together with an upbeat friend who has a good sense of humor – and laugh.
  14. Less is more. You don’t have to own everything you admire, and you enrich your life simply by living.
  15. Eliminate or restrict the amount of caffeine and alcohol in your diet.
  16. See “failures” as stepping stones instead of roadblocks.
  17. Do something nice for somebody else.
  18. Carry two cash-machine cards with you. If one becomes scratched or damaged, you can use the other one to get weekend or after-hours cash.
  19. Talk less.
  20. Listen more.
  21. Shop on off-hours and off-days to avoid crowds and traffic.
  22. Buy a pair of tickets to a special event, (sports, theater, etc.) every month so you have something to look forward to.
  23. Join a support group.
  24. Take a class.
  25. Limit your number of evenings out to two or fewer a week.
  26. Write your problems down on paper or talk about them with a good listener; don’t keep them inside.
  27. Pace yourself. Try to spread out people, appointments, difficult projects, and big changes over the week. Month, or year so you don’t have to deal with everything at once.
  28. Say no! Saying no to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don’t have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs quiet time to relax and to be alone.
  29. Make up a marvelous fantasy about yourself and live it for five minutes.
  30. Choose hobbies and social activities that are different from your work. If you work with your hands, choose a hobby that involves your whole body. If you work with a lot of people, choose a hobby you can do alone, etc.
  31. Hit some tennis or golf balls or shoot some basketballs.
  32. Avoid the company of those who “pull you down.”
  33. Be willing to learn new things and to unlearn things you have learned.
  34. How much is certain hassle worth in terms of money? Is fighting a $5 parking ticket in court really worth the elevated blood pressure, and the time and aggravation?
  35. Watch fish in an aquarium.
  36. Take a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
  37. Cry. Scientists have found that there are stress chemicals in emotional tears; crying is a way of ridding your body of these chemicals.
  38. Ask yourself What’s the worst that could happen and what you’d do if the “terrible” thing you’re worrying about actually occurred. This will remind you that life will go on even if the worst does happen, and that you’ll be able to cope – probably quite well.
  39. During the day, stop what you’re doing and ask yourself, “Is there a better way right now for me to take good care of myself?” The answer to this question may be to have someone help lift something, to relax your shoulders, to take a walk, to switch projects, to throw away a leaky ballpoint pen, to tackle something you’ve been putting off, or to break for lunch.
  40. Get organized. Not being organized is too much work.
  41. Take one day at a time, and try to live in the present moment.
  42. Ask yourself, “Is this a worry or a concern?” If you can’t do anything about a situations, it’s a worry – forget it If you can do something, it’s a concern – do what you can and let go of the anxiety. If that doesn’t work, ask yourself, “In 150 years, what difference is this going to make?”
  43. Listen to tapes while driving.
  44. Carry a book so waiting in lines or for appointments is less stressful.
  45. Try K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut) before saying anything. Ask yourself if what you’re about to say is true, kind, and necessary.
  46. On Friday afternoons (or the last day of your workweek), take a few minutes to really clean up your work area – sharpen pencils, restock supplies, dust, file, etc.). On Monday morning, you’ll be organized.
  47. Get up and stretch periodically if you sit for extended periods.
  48. If you get tied up in traffic, stop at a phone booth and notify someone that you’ll be late. This will allow you to relax and drive safely.
  49. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.
  50. No matter how busy you are take a lunch break. Get away from your work area in body and mind – if just for 15-20 minutes.
  51. Take your work seriously but don’t take yourself seriously. Keep cartoon and inspirational books for whenever you need a quick lift.
  52. Have backups – computer disks, extra car keys, house key, extra check, extra book of stamps, extra parking meter change.
  53. Play the piano.
  54. Pet a purring cat.
  55. Look through an old photo album that you love.
  56. Watch an old movie (TV or VCR tape) with the phone unplugged and bowl or popcorn in your lap.
  57. Put a pillow over your mouth and scream.
  58. Work in your garden.
  59. Put a favorite houseplant in a new spot.
  60. Take a hot shower or bath.
  61. Prepare the night before – clothes, lunches, school items, and straightening up before bed – so the morning is not rushed.
  62. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to go over the days’ events to see where you did well and where you could have done better in reducing stress.
  63. Before going to sleep, visualize tomorrow as a successful day with reduced stress. Let your subconscious work through the night preparing