14 Things I Can Do to Help Manage My Stress
Everyone must deal with stress at some point in their lives. You can take steps to help handle stress in a positive way.
1. Take deep breaths.
This forces you to breathe slower and helps your muscles relax. The extra oxygen sends a message to your brain to calm and relax the body.
Stretching can also help relax your muscles and make you feel less tense.
3. Write out your thoughts.
Keeping a journal or simply writing down the things you are thankful for can help you handle stress.
4. Take time for yourself.
It could be listening to music, reading a good book, or going to a movie.
Studies show that meditation, a set time of stillness to focus the mind on a positive or neutral thought, can help lower stress.23
In addition to traditional medical treatments, meditation also may help improve anxiety, some menopause symptoms, and side effects from cancer treatments and may lower blood pressure.24
Meditation is generally safe for everyone, and free meditation guides are widely available online.
6. Get enough sleep.
Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.
7. Eat right.
Caffeine or high-sugar snack foods give you jolts of energy that wear off quickly. Instead, eat foods with B vitamins, such as bananas, fish, avocados, chicken, and dark green, leafy vegetables.
Studies show that B vitamins can help relieve stress by regulating nerves and brain cells.25 You can also take a vitamin B supplement if your doctor or nurse says it is OK.
9. Get moving.
Physical activity can relax your muscles and improve your mood. Physical activity also may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.26 Physical activity boosts the levels of “feel-good” chemicals in your body called endorphins. Endorphins can help improve your mood.
10. Try not to deal with Stress in Unhealthy Ways.
This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating.
These coping mechanisms may help you feel better in the moment but can add to your stress levels in the long term.
Try substituting healthier ways to cope, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or finding a new hobby.
11. Talk to friends or family members.
They might help you see your problems in new ways and suggest solutions. Or just being able to talk to a family member or friend about a source of stress may help you feel better.
12. Get help from a professional if you need it.
Your doctor or nurse may suggest counseling or prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants or sleep aids. You can also find a therapist in your area using the mental health services locator on the top left side (desktop view) or bottom (mobile view) of this page. If important relationships with family or friends are a source of stress, a counselor can help you learn new emotional and relationship skills.
13. Get Organized.
Being disorganized is a sign of stress, but it can also cause stress. To-do lists help organize both your work and home life. Figure out what is most important to do at home and at work and do those things first.
14. Help Others.
Volunteering in your community can help you make new friends and feel good about helping others.