My Top 10 Stress Management Techniques – Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress is a major problem in modern life. I have put together my top 10 stress management techniques that will surely help you to reduce stress in your life.

Regardless of how old or how young you are, if you are reading this, I think you will get something from reading about my top 10 stress management techniques to reduce stress in life.

This article is concerned with 10 self-help ideas and suggestions which are my top 10 techniques to reduce stress. These self-help ideas and suggestions can be applied almost straight away, they are practical and in most cases, can be applied as soon as you read the ideas here.

I think that it is important to know about a number of different stress management techniques so that you can apply them as needed. Knowing one or two, may be enough until some event happens and there is nothing to fall back on.

So being aware and knowing how to use additional stress management techniques may help you to keep a problem small, rather than letting it become big. You do not want to make a mountain out of a molehill.
I am going to outline 10 different techniques here. Let’s get started.

Walking is a great stress management technique

Walking briskly for a while every day is a great stress management technique. If you do over 30 minutes of brisk walking every day or most days that should really help your stress levels.

From a stress management viewpoint, it is usually better when possible to walk in a natural environment rather than a concrete environment. By a natural environment, I mean a park or a green area where there are trees and grass. By a concrete environment, I mean a city area where there is little consideration given to trees and grass.

Walking in a natural environment away from the pressures of modern life and away from modern motorized traffic is much more relaxing than walking in a concrete environment keeping an eye out for modern motorized traffic in my opinion.

Asking yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?”

If something is stressing you out, if you ask yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?”, you might find that nearly always the answer is “No”. Then you can just say to yourself “Not important. Moving on with the rest of my life”.

If the answer is “Yes”, then ask yourself what can I do about this now? The answer for now, might be to note it down in a little notebook, with the intention of seriously looking at it later. If you say I have noted it down, and I will look at this notebook this coming Saturday or whatever works for you, to follow up on this. Just try not to keep putting it on the back-boiler.

Giving thanks for 3 things every day

If you get a small notebook and write down 3 things every night that you are grateful for, you will find that this technique helps. One reason why it helps is that it focus the brain to do a specific task and looking for the 3 things that you are grateful for means that you are not thinking in a ‘bad way’ during that process.

Whatever you do, do not put yourself under pressure to always come up with 3 things. Give yourself 5 minutes to do this every night. If you can’t think of 3 things to be thankful for, coming up with 2 things you are thankful is OK. If you can’t think of 2 things to be thankful for, coming up with 1 thing you are thankful is OK. If you can’t think of 1 thing to be thankful for, that is OK too. It is the searching for the things that you are thankful for that is important.

Note the date and the things you are thankful for in your small notebook. The added benefit of this, is that you can review the contents of this small notebook later and that helps to put you in a good mood and that helps to reduce stress levels.

Tell your body to relax

When you are alone, if you let out a loud sigh when breathing out that signals to your body to relax. You breathe in through your nose, and you breathe out through your mouth. When breathing out, let out a loud sigh. If you do this, 3 to 5 times, hopefully you will feel your body starting to relax.

If you are in company, you can do this without letting out the loud sigh. In which case, you let out a silent sigh while imagining letting out a loud sigh. Just be careful, that you do not let out a loud sigh, otherwise people will wonder what is going on. 🙂

Doing Meditation can help

First things first, what is meditation? Well in my opinion, meditation is a process that individuals do to try to calm the mind. The individual during meditation is trying to keep their attention focused on a main focal point. For example, how they are breathing. By focusing their attention on their main focal point, their attention is not drawn to other things. This of course, is easier said than done. When the individual realizes that their attention has drifted away from their main focal point, they are to return to their main focal point.

Meditation may be used to reduce stress which is why we are interested in it here. There are many different meditation techniques. Here, I will focus in on one extremely simple approach which you will be able to do yourself, seconds after reading this.

  • Sit comfortably
  • Breathe naturally
  • Follow the sensation associated with breathing in and breathing out
  • Let tension out with every out breathe
  • When your notice your mind wandering and it will, return to your breathe

The main idea is to do this for a set period of time, starting with two minutes and performing a few times every day. You can use the timer function within your smartphone to set the amount of time that you decide to do this. You can increase the amount of time from two minutes over time to longer periods. Increasing it by one minute per week is one approach, until you have got it up to your target amount of time.

With meditation, doing 5 minutes consistently every day is better than doing 15 minutes for 4 days every week. The primary idea is to build up a daily habit that you do every day. Some time back, I knew nothing about meditation, and my brother suggested that I give it a go. I found an online meditation beginners course and I did that online course and from a meditation viewpoint I have not looked back since. I now enjoy meditation every day. I wrote about this in a recent post over here. This course covers 5 different meditation techniques, so you see which techniques you prefer based on your own real life experience. Practicing meditation is a great skill to do, and is a great stress management skill.

If you know little or nothing about meditation, Click here to read my review of a course I did and which I recommend from personal experience. The course shows you how to do meditation every day. This course shows you 5 different meditation techniques, so that you can continue with the meditation techniques that you like best. This will allow you to enjoy the many benefits of Meditation.

Go to the seaside

I remember growing up, and every so often, you hear that someone’s doctor recommended that they go to the seaside and I would wonder why. It turns out that being by the seaside may help to reduce stress levels. This is for a number of reasons.

People say that “sea air is good for you”. Well, any time I have been to the seaside I would have to agree with this. I have noticed that it also tends to be “fresher”. Then there is also the sound of the waves against the beach. This is usually relaxing, and is the same sound again and again. This helps to reduce stress.

I also find that if I go for a walk along the beach, that I would end up walking for longer than I had initially planned. Being at the seaside may be less stressful because there is hopefully this ‘blue’ natural stuff; the color of the sea and the color of the sky. The sea is a natural environment, there is a great feeling of open space, and there is that fresh air. The sound of the waves against the beach is also a sound that helps to reduce stress.

I also suggest taking some photographs of what you see at the seaside taking in all this wonder, so that you can relive your visit to the seaside by looking at your photographs.

Do regular “brain-dumps”

A while back when I mentioned to a medical professional that I could not sleep due to stress, she suggested that rather than taking a sleeping pill to do what she called a “brain-dump”. The way that she suggested is that if I can not sleep, grab some paper and a pen, and write down all the things going through my mind in no order and to just get it down to paper. The very act of doing this releases some stress. I have been lucky, I have been able to sleep since she told me this, so never tried it out in the real world.

In the course, of doing a stress management course, this idea comes up in a different way. The idea there is to perform regular “brain-dumps” on a proactive basis, so that the stress levels do not get too high in the first place. This I much prefer to the sleep problem. As well as that, some suggestions and supporting materials are provided in that course. I wrote a review that stress management course, although I do not specifically mention this particular stress management technique in that review, it is part of the course materials.

Click here to read my review of that course. This course covers a number of stress management techniques designed to show you how to reduce your stress levels.

Use a worry-box

A slightly different approach to the previous suggestion is to use a worry-box. The idea is that the worry-box is there, and when you have any worries, you simply note it down in a piece of paper and throw that piece of paper in the worry-box. Once it is in the worry-box, you move on with the rest of your life. If this worry comes up again, you simply note to yourself “I have already added this worry to the worry-box and will be looking at it in more detail next Saturday” or whenever.

Then at a later planned scheduled time, you simply go through these slips of paper and process them. Some of them, will be worries that did not happen. A lot of worries are usually things that do not happen, so bear that in mind, when you are worrying about something. It may not happen and you are ‘wasting valuable time’ worrying.

Others will be worries that you may need to do something about. That is up to you. Just be aware that consistently putting that worry on a long finger might not be healthy for you long term. Also if you write things down that you do not want other people to see, you may need to secure your worry-box, and to physically destroying those slips of paper at the appropriate time. There is great satisfaction in throwing those slips of paper into a burning fire and watching those slips of paper burn away.

Counting slowly to 10

The idea of counting slowly to 10 is something that has been around a while. Something happens, and people react straight away without thinking. If something happens, and you then count slowly to 10, you may be in a better place mentally to respond to the situation, rather than reacting.
The primary idea is to get some control back, stop for a few seconds (assuming it is safe to do so), take a few deep breaths and then count silently to yourself, very slowly and very much on purpose from 1 to 10, and if necessary to keep counting if you still feel the need to until you get to 100.

The idea is to use this time to bring your emotional feelings down a few notches. Internally there is an adrenaline rush going on, counting gives you some time so counteract the adrenaline, hopefully giving you the time and space so that you can response is a considered one rather than a reaction.

You might have heard that Thomas Jefferson said “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred”. So the idea has been around a while.

Look at your sleep routine

Make no mistake about it. Getting the correct amount of high end quality sleep is important. Getting too little or too much is problematic. There are some ideas to help that when you go to bed, that you fall asleep in a relatively quick and effective manner:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night is a great help
  • To get up at the same time is a great help
  • Before going to bed, for 2 to 3 hours beforehand, do not use computers or smart phones (you may have to look at accepting incoming voice calls however do not use the smart phone as a computing device)
  • Before going to bed, for 2 to 3 hours beforehand, do not do social media
  • Before going to bed, for 2 to 3 hours beforehand, do not listen to news, as news tends to be ‘bad’ and thinking about ‘bad’ things when going to bed is not going to make going asleep any easier
  • Do not drink coffee for a number of hours before going to bed – You need to determine the amount of coffee you can drink before it interferes with your sleep before going to bed (I do not drink coffee after 6 pm, but I believe everyone is different)
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of soft drinks before going to bed – I find that I can drink 1 can of Coca Cola before bed without interfering with my sleep, if I drink 2 cans, I do not get any sleep (Everyone is different)
  • Do not eat excessive amounts of specific foods before going to bed – Some foods make it harder to sleep – Everyone is different, so this is something you need to monitor yourself
  • Make sure that when you go to bed, that social media such as Facebook responses from your Facebook friends do not beep and disturb your resting time
  • Make sure that only real emergency high priority stuff can only reach you – You want a phone call from a brother to come through telling you know that your sister is seriously sick but you do not want a Facebook comment that is not important to beep and wake you up, or more likely to beep and prevent you from going to sleep
  • If there is something on your mind, write it down in a little notebook by your bed before you go to bed – That way you are signaling to your brain, it is written down, I will not forget and I will attend to it later – This also applies if you wake during the night and can not get back to sleep and there is something on your mind, write it down

Conclusion

As you can see there are quite a number of stress management techniques out there. My list of the top 10 Stress Management Techniques just outlines 10 different stress management techniques out of the many different techniques out there. I hope that a number of my top 10 Stress Management Techniques can help you in your management of stress in your life.
As you can see I have some experience on stress management directly from my personal experiences and indirectly from obtaining practical knowledge from different sources over the course of my life. I have come across a lot of information out there that has not been put together well and would be difficult to apply in what I call the real world.

There is no way that I want to read a 1,000 page book full of academic theory that contains very little practical knowledge that can be applied to my real world straight away. I prefer to read a few paragraphs about some technique that provides all the required information and practical knowledge to apply to the real world straight away. I don’t mind if that acts as an introduction to that technique which can be followed up with more detailed practical knowledge that can be applied to my real world almost straight away.

I am sure that you too would also prefer this. With that in mind, I came across on online stress management course that ticks a lot of the boxes for me, full of practical ideas and suggestions on different stress management techniques which I am sure will also interest you. I purchased the course myself to see if it was any good. It is. I wrote about this in a recent post. Click here to read my review of this course.

Let me know if you have any applicable thoughts on this great subject by leaving your applicable thoughts below. Many thanks. 🙂

I like to hear from my readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions. Thank you.

 

 

About David

David is the founder of LetsTalkManagingStress.com and is a stress expert who helps people manage stress better to live happier and more contented lives. For a number of effective strategies to manage stress, click here to read his Detailed Article Detailing A Number Of Effective Strategies To Manage Stress. You can Read More About David Here.

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14 Comments on “My Top 10 Stress Management Techniques – Reduce Stress in Your Life”

  1. Evan says:

    Great advice! Meditation has really helped me mannage stress in my life. Your explanation of meditation is spot on. Its really not as complicated as some people might think. I also try and get out for a walk every day, I always feel more grounded. Thanks for the article! Keep up the good work, we could all benifit from being a little less stressed.

    1. David says:

      Hi Evan,

      I am thrilled to hear that you find meditation really helps you to manage stress in your life. Thanks for agreeing with me that my explanation is spot on. You are right, it is nowhere near as complicated as people think. I am also thrilled to hear that you try to go out walking every day. That walk has a number of benefits, one of which when you get back, you are ready to go on to your next task. Yes, indeed, everyone including you and I could really benefit from being less stressed.

      Peace,
      David

  2. Your worry box reminded me of a gift someone gave me once, They were called worry dolls. Basically there were 5 or 6 tiny wool dolls. They would live in a small pouch. Each night before you go to bed you can tell a doll what is bothering you. When you go to sleep they will discuss among themselves and come up with a solution. When you woke up all your problems would be solved!

    1. David says:

      Hi CJ,

      Wow. That is some idea.

      Peace,
      David

  3. David! I love this article! Managing stress is highly important to my health due to the migraines I get, thank you so much for these tips. The ones I like are giving thanks for 3 things in your life, the brain dump, and certainly going to the ocean since I live in South Florida now! That by far is the best one. What do you think? Ever since I was a kid I was hooked on the salty air and the sound of the waves and the sand in my toes.

    Awesome article, cannot say enough David.

    Kris

    1. David says:

      Hi Kris,

      Thanks for letting me know that you love this article. That makes my day. Migraines are the worst and are horrible. I know, because I suffer from them too. The idea of going to the seaside is a great one, because of a number of reasons. Being out in nature, and the fact that the sea is so big. Walking along in the sand is relaxing and the fact that time seems to stand still. I like the seaside too.

      Peace,
      David

  4. Stella says:

    Hey David;

    I use several of the techniques that you mention here, but my all time favorite is walking. I’ve incorporated mindful walking into my daily routine for several years now. I go out each morning with my dog and vary the routes around our neighborhood and the surrounding area. I’m lucky that it is a quiet, green environment, and it is near the coast. So that’s a big plus. It really helps me to start the day from a good place.

    One thing you mentioned that I have heard about but not tried yet is to do brain dumps. Your post has inspired me to try that method out as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it works.

    Thanks for the great detailed list to reduce stress! Stella 🙂

    1. David says:

      Hey Stella,

      That is great that you are already using a number of these techniques. Although I do both mindful meditation and walking, I do not do mindful walking on a regular basis. I find that I repeat silently to myself affirmations when I walk helpful, although the trick here is do these affirmations gently and in no hurry, ensuring that the intensity is not too intensive as I am trying to reduce stress, not increase it. 

      If you can see the sea when you walk, the blue sea and the blue sky (assuming that it is a nice day), and feel the sea fresh air, that is a brilliant bonus for you. Lucky for you and your dog.

      You might also enjoy my detailed list of stress management techniques at the following link:
      https://letstalkmanagingstress.com/stress-management-techniques/

      Peace,

      David

  5. tim says:

    Very sound advice in effective managing stress.  I couldn’t agree with your more that the first step is to be aware that stress exists.  Whether challenges or things are “real” or not isn’t the issue.  Those stress factors add up and need an outlet.

    I think your tip on being thankful everyday is a fantastic way to put your mind on a positive wavelength.  Being grateful brings inner peace and contentment…which leave less room for stress to grow.  i do this several times a day…especially in the morning and before bed.

    Love the brain-dump idea too.  I think keeping a journal…even if its random thoughts is like a purge of sorts.

    1. David says:

      Hi Tim,

      The “being thankful” one is a great one. There are so many ways that this can be done. 

      Writing down things sometimes is a way of making the thought more solid in your mind. When you are finding the “right words” it also makes the idea more solid in your mind. You actually engage different areas of your brain, when you are writing things down and this can engage the logical part of your brain to engage. Engaging the logical part of your brain to engage is usually better than engaging the emotional part of your brain. 

      Many thanks indeed for your comment. 🙂

      Peace,
      David

  6. Trish says:

    Hey David,

    You’re so right, walking does help to alleviate stress. My favourite walks are with my dog through the park across the road from me. It takes about an hour… sometimes longer if we meet other dog owners along our way.

    Sleeping with my dog makes it possible for me to relax enough to sleep through nights especially through stressful situations.

    Giving Thanks for as many things as I could think of throughout my day certainly worked wonders when going through a very stressful episode (it took 3 whole years!) of my life. This truly helped me to keep things in a proper perspective too.

    Brain-dumping could also be having a friend you could literally vent (or dump) out too without expecting any response, wouldn’t it? I would find writing down things that are stressing me out to be far too difficult for me to handle during times of stress.

    What I found that worked best for me was helping others in any way that I can. This helps me to not focus so much on whatever is stressing me out.

    1. David says:

      Hi Trish,

      Walking has so many health related benefits. I wrote another post here, that contains an info graphic that explains 20 health related benefits of walking. Looking after a dog or two, is also another stress management technique, for people who have the facilities to have a dog or two. I don’t and as I don’t, I think it would be cruel for me to have a dog. They need their space.

      You also raise an interesting point which gets me from time to time. Some stress management techniques by their nature can raise stress, which I find counter-productive. One argument I hear for this, is that it is better to identify and deal with the stress. However I am not convinced of this myself. 

      I have listened to people who say “think of an experience that caused you to feel stressed”. So my mind, goes to kind of a really bad stressful situation and I have gone down that rabbit hole again. Not good. 

      Someone much more kinder rephrased that phase to be “think of an experience that caused you to feel stressed, not a really bad stressful situation, just something mild” and that is much easier to deal with. This is also in line with the “may I be kind to myself” Loving-Kindness meditation. 

      The “brain dumping” I am referring to is just writing it down in no order and as it comes when you can not sleep. This was suggested to me by a medical professional. I have never actually used this idea when I can not sleep. Let me explain. 

      A few nights in the last year or so, when I found myself not falling asleep as quickly as I would like, I find that doing an unguided Loving-Kindness Meditation session in bed allowed me to sleep. I had the choice of doing a brain dump then or doing an unguided Loving-Kindness Meditation session in bed.

      I was too lazy to get out of bed and do the brain dump. I did the unguided Loving-Kindness Meditation session in bed, and was then able to fall asleep after doing it. I reached my primary goal of falling asleep which was the goal.

      Personally I would find it very difficult to “vent out my stress” unto a close friend. That is just me. If you find that that works for you and your close friend is ok with it, then continue using it. I would not suggest discontinuing an approach that you already find works for you. We are all individuals, what works for one, may not work for another.

      Peace,
      David

  7. Otis Dube says:

    Yes stress management technique is basically you when you get overwhelmed point simply  i call it a trick or rather a technique one of best things is take a long distance walk yeah a walk not a car, train, bus, ship, plane, bike, neither bicycle …loud clear a walk to top it up if you are using your Walkman or headphones take them with you. Relaxing yourself very essential or yes important and also you can meditate helps too or serenade yourself by the ocean or seaside.

    Indeed this is a perfect balance to become stress less all the best everyone 

    1. David says:

      Hi Otis,

      Thank you for your comment. Everyone have their favourite ways to unwind stress. I hope that this article and this website points you to additional techniques that you enjoy and find effective.

      Personally, I would not take a Walkman or headphones with me when I walk as I want to “disconnect” with the modern world during my walk and I want to be able to hear what is going on around me.

      Of course, I know other people would listen to affirmations, or smoothing music or something that they find enjoyable during their walk. That is also good, however they need in my view to be still aware of their surroundings.

      It is all a balancing act for sure.

      Peace,
      David

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