Top 14 Stress Management Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018


Person noting ideasMy name is David and I suffer from stress/anxiety. I also suffer panic attacks and migraine headaches. I have a keen interest in learning how to manage stress/anxiety and am fiercely interested in any practical effective stress management techniques.

If you are looking for my Top 14 Stress Management Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018 (Most Are Immediately Actionable), than you are in the right place.

These stress management techniques are not in any particular order and there may be some duplication as not all of these are clearly separated from each other.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all of these techniques are equal. Some of the best stress management techniques in my opinion, are the ones that are extremely easy and simple to actually do, once you are aware of them and give yourself the time to do them.

Breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes a few times every day is one such technique. Doing this by design and very much on purpose helps.

A lot of these stress management techniques may also be considered as anxiety techniques as well. A good percentage of them may be considered as good general life techniques as well. So the potential benefits are spread into a number of potential areas of your life which is also good.

Overview Of My Top 14 Stress Management Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018 (Most Are Immediately Actionable)

stress management lightbulb techniquesLucky for you, I am going to share with you my Top 14 Stress Management Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018 (Most Are Immediately Actionable).

Before you continue reading, I do not want you to feel overwhelmed or stressed, thinking that you have to read this in one go. You do not. I recommend that you bookmark this page. In some internet browsers, this is achieved by pressing Control and D at the same time. 🙂

What You Will Get Here.
Click a section below to be taken right to one of these strategies:

Use this one word

thinkingA more detailed explanation for technique 1 is to “Use the word “prefer” instead of “must” in your silent thinking” to yourself.

The concept is to think in a slightly different way. Often, people say to themselves, “I must do x”. This in turn is making a demand of you that you think must be met, no matter what. This in turn is putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. By changing the words used silently in your thinking to “I prefer to do x”, it removes the demand and part of your thinking becomes “if x is not done, no big deal” and this approach can work. Using this “different switch” can help.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?

If you want to learn more about this approach along with other great approaches, I recommend the excellent book, “Anxiety And Panic: How To Reshape Your Anxious Mind And Brain” by Dr Harry Barry. This book contains information about different ways to manage stress, anxiety and panic attacks.


Ask yourself this one question

Technique 2 is asking yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?” in your silent thinking to yourself. If you remember to do this whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious, you may find that it helps you more often than not, and that is why it is such a great approach.

The technique is that whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious is to ask yourself silently the question “Will this be important in 5 years time?”

Many times when you ask yourself this great question the answer is No. If so, silently say to yourself “Oh, this is not important. Moving on” and move on.

If the answer is Yes, determine what you can do about this right now. You might need to give yourself some time, so deciding to think more about this when you have some time might be a good approach. Decide to allot some time to look at this in more detail and actually do this at the assigned date and time is a great idea.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?

some useful and practical techniques to help manage stressIn the following related article, I discuss some useful and practical behavioural techniques to help manage stress. I discuss a number of different reactions that a number of different people experienced when a dinner party had to be cancelled at the last moment for a really good reason. These different reactions by different people to the same event are interesting.

Something to bear in mind yourself when you notice different people reacting vastly different to the same events in your life.

 
In the following related article, I discuss 10 different stress management techniques. There may be some overlap between this article and that article. However currently there are some techniques mentioned there that are not included in this article.

 
stress management skillsIn the following related article, I discuss 4 different stress management skills. There may be some overlap between this article and that article. However currently there is at least one skill or technique mentioned there that is not included in this article.

 
You know now that when you get into a stressful or anxious situation, that asking yourself silently the “Will this be important in 5 years time?” question may reduce the stress or the anxiety. If so, great.

This is a very simple and effective technique. You might like me, have been aware of this concept however just didn’t put it into use in this way. Once you are aware of it very deliberately and very intentionally, you may find that you start to use this concept very much on purpose, and in the process, it may also help your stress levels or anxiety levels go down.

wise sayings to help reduce stressAn interesting variation of this, is that instead of using a 5 year period is to use a 1 year period. So the variation is that instead of asking yourself silently “Will this be important in 5 years time?”, you ask yourself silently”Will this be important in 1 years time?”

Personally I do think that the longer time period is better. I find it way quicker to dismiss something as not important if I silently say to myself “Will this be important in 5 years time?”. When I change this to a year away, I find myself taking longer to dismiss it as not important.

My take is simple, whatever time period works for you. If you do not have a preference, I think you should like me, opt for 5 years.


Interrupt a thought process

thoughtsTechnique 3 is to interrupt an internal thought process when it goes astray. The more technical term is to interrupt the CBT Cycle. In a nutshell, the technique is to understand the CBT Cycle and how it works.

CBT is short for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It shows that our thoughts influence our feelings which in turn affects our behaviour, and the cycle continues.

Knowing this, to interrupt the CBT cycle with positive affirmations helps to reduce the stress or anxious levels.

For instance a “bad” CBT cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m unwell” which could lead to an “anxious” feeling which could lead to a “go into myself” behaviour and so the CBT cycle continues in a downward direction.

A “good” cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m doing OK” which could lead to an “upbeat” feeling which could lead to “making choices” behaviour and so the CBT cycle continues in an upward direction which is good for reducing stress or anxiety. This is good for life in general.

One good practice when you have some time is to repeat silently to yourself positive affirmations that are applicable in your case and that can help create good feelings. I find repeating silently to myself one or two or three positive affirmations is helpful. Examples include “I’m doing OK”, “I’m doing fine” and “I have things to work on”.

Repeating them silently to yourself in a safe secure place where you do not need to be 100% focused on another activity and you do not need to be 100% alert is a good idea. Therefore, do not do this when driving a car or operating machinery or anything similar. A great place to do this is your bedroom.

It is important to realise that “not great thoughts” can come and go. This is normal. The trick is to acknowledge them and go back to what you were doing before hand. I know that this is easier said than done. Also do not personalise the emotion. For example, do not think silently “I am anxious” however to think silently “ah, there is that anxious feeling”. And then to focus your attention back to what you were doing. This concept is explored in meditation which is discussed below.

In the following related article, I have discussed this CBT related technique.

 

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?

If you find that repeating silently certain affirmations makes you feel worst instead of better, that may be a hint for you to revise that affirmation or at least to drop it for the moment. You need to be kind to yourself.

Make sure that the affirmation does not have a “must” in it, but rather a “prefer”. For example, saying “I must be well” to yourself when you and your body know that this is not realistic puts more pressure on yourself. Instead saying “I prefer to be well” is a better affirmation in this case, in my opinion.

You might have noticed that this point, using the word “prefer” instead of “must” was already discussed above.

In discussing this technique I have mentioned a few other techniques. You will recall that at the top of this techniques section, I mentioned that there may be some duplication as not all of these are clearly separated from each other. Some of the “sub components” so to speak are included in “other components” and some of the “sub components” are separate “components” in their own right.

Therefore over time, you may find yourself taking bits and pieces from different techniques and making your revised technique work for you. I encourage you to think in an open way like this and hope that such open ways of thinking work for you.


Do this daily if possible

Golden trees - Going for a walk does wonders for youTechnique 4 is to do regular daily brisk walks, ideally in the countryside. The actual process of moving in the walk is one of the good that is good for you here. And if the walk happens in the countryside where there is a lot of nature and a lot of green that is also good for you.

The technique is that walking briskly on a daily basis for between 20 minutes and 60 minutes, ideally in the countryside has a number of health related benefits, including reducing stress and uplifting mood.

Click here to read an article I wrote on this website about walking and to see a chart outlining 20 different health related benefits of walking. You will notice that for some benefits, you have to walk longer on a daily basis in order to hopefully achieve those benefits.

The effect is cumulative, although regular daily walking is encouraged when possible. Of course, if the weather is not great, it may be smarter not to go for the walk. In this case, read a book that you enjoy reading. And of course, if you are not fit enough to walk, it would be smarter not to go for the walk. Maybe, in that case, read a book.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?

I have discussed this technique a few times on this website. See here, here and here.


Remind your body to relax

Technique 5 is to tell your body to relax. This uses a very simple process so you should be able to do this. The trick then is to remember to do it a few times every day. By so doing, you help yourself to ‘recharge’ which is always good.

The technique is to use a very simple technique, and is to let out a loud sigh. 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. Doing this for 3 to 5 times, will take you about a minute, depending on your pace. You do this at your own pace.

Do the breathing in and out at a pace that is comfortable for you. Doing this for 3 – 5 minutes can be effective and if you can do this at least once very day, you will see for yourself if this is one that works for you.

One idea is that if you want to do this for 5 minutes, is to simply use a “timer countdown” function on a smartphone. By the way, not on a NoPhone which does not have this function. My review of the NoPhone is a highly entertaining read and is a good laugh. Having a good laugh is a good thing for your well being. Click here for a good laugh and to read my review of the NoPhone!

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. 🙂

And of course, you do this technique when it is safe to do so.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?


Meditate regularly

Technique 6 is using meditation for stress management, which is a great idea. Now meditation is a huge subject. There are many different meditation techniques. My experience of meditation is that it is a process used to help calm the mind, and in so doing, gives you that additional space and time to help.

During the meditation process, the person doing the meditation is trying to keep their attention on a main focal point. For example, this could be focusing on their 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. It is important that before going back to the main focal point that the person doing the meditation does not “beat themselves up” for letting their thoughts drift. It is normal and kind of expected that the person doing the meditation will drift to something else apart from the main focal point. When they do, the person simply acknowledges that they drifted and return back to the main focal point in a calm and relaxed manner.

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 a timer countdown device to do this. Click here to shop for timer countdown devices that Amazon currently offers.

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.

There are different ways to learn meditation. One way is by reading. In this case, I recommend the excellent book “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World”. The book comes with a free CD of guided meditations that make it even more practical and more useful.

 
 
Another way to learn meditation is to do an online course. In this case, I recommend the excellent online course Master Your Mind – Beginner course. I did this course myself a while back and found it excellent. One of the topics covered in this course is learning and doing a new daily habit. This is covered very well as I have done meditation every single consecutive day since I started this course, due I think to what I learned in this course and my determination.

The Master Your Mind Beginner Course

 
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?


Consume enough water

drinking enough water helps to reduce stress and to reduce anxietyTechnique 7 is so simple but so important that it can get overlooked by accident, especially on days when people are really busy.

The technique is simple: Make sure you consume enough water. This is based on the fact that drinking enough water every day is important to your health and your overall well-being. If you do not drink enough water and get dehydrated, it can cause problems.

It is important to understand the following process:

Stress is known to cause dehydration. Dehydration is known to cause stress. Stress is known to cause dehydration.

The undesirable endless horrible loop has started. There is one way out of this endless loop and that is simply to consume more water on a daily basis.

Also, dehydration can make you heart start racing or make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. These physical events are also quite common in panic attacks or in anxiety attacks, so you might feel anxious or panicky because you are dehydrated. Consuming more water on a daily basis, helps to keep dehydration away and hopefully prevent these “false anxious feelings” from arising in the first place.

No way do you want a “panic attack” because you are “feeling a bit dizzy” because you are dehydrated which caused your mind to misread the situation “oh oh, looks like the start of a panic attack” and turn into a “full blown panic attack” which is very real and horrible should you experience it.

Recommended daily intakes of water depends on a number of different variables. Location and current weather being two of those variables. You might have to talk to a medical professional in your area to determine the amount of water you should consume each day based on the variables that affect you. And based on the changing variables that may affect you over the different seasons when there are usually different weather patterns.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique makes sense. I am happy enough to drink more water if it helps. Drinking some usually involves a “change of scenery” as I usually have to go to the kitchen to get the water which is also good. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?


Go to the seaside

Technique 8 is to go to the seaside. This is a fairly simple technique which if you are near to the seaside is pretty easy to do. 🙂

If you are not, it does require some effort. 🙂

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.

People also usually associate happy relaxing good times with being at the seaside which is all good.

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.

I would suggest that if it is practicable for you, to put your smart phone or your mobile phone or your cell phone off, or at least put it in ‘silent mode’. You are at the seaside for you, and you need your ‘alone time’ in order to recharge yourself. If you end up answering your phone, you are not going to get this time to recharge yourself.

From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?


Do regular “brain-dumps”

Technique 9 is to do regular “brain-dumps” and have a process that processes what comes up in the “brain-dump”.

This is an interesting technique which a medical professional suggested to me a while back when I mentioned 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. A few times since then I have found it difficult to sleep, I simply practiced doing meditation in bed and was able to nod off. I just did not feel like getting up and writing down the thoughts in my head.

My understanding is that the very process of writing those thoughts down “helps to slow down the brain” and it just happens that the meditation in bed process does the same or similar thing.

In the course of doing the online Conscious Stress Management course, which by the way is my number 1 recommendation course for stress management, this idea comes up in a different way and is more defined and structured. 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. The online Conscious Stress Management course also includes additional supporting materials to help you work with this process so that you get a lot more out of it, including of course, a number of other different effective practical approaches.

The Conscious Stress Management Course

 


Use “So What?” concept

wtfTechnique 10 is another one that is simple in concept. It is to silently say to yourself “So What?”. This is a very simple idea, which is easy to implement, if you remember to use it when it may be helpful.

You may be aware that if you think of something “not great”, that the next thing that happens is that you get into a bit of an endless loop. What you want to do before getting into the endless loop, is to do something to prevent going into the endless loop.

What you do is simple, you silently say to yourself as strongly as you can, “So What?”
You can replace the “So What?” with other stronger phrases. It appears that using “bad language” may be more effective. For example, “So F* What?” can be more effective that using “So What?” because it is more emotional.

This dispels the potential situation and you move on as before. You do not get into the endless loop and this is good.

Worded in a different way: The technique here is that when you think of something “not great”, and you know that dwelling on it is “bad” for you, immediately after the thought appears, you say to yourself, silently of course, “So What?” as strongly as you can.

As I have already mentioned on my About page, I find that in one situation this approach does not really help me, however this approach works great for me with other life situations.

Two other similar ideas:
1 – Instead of thinking that a bad thing can happen, think that a good thing can happen.
2 – Instead of “expecting the worst”, “expect the best” until it is confirmed otherwise.

The human mind is very good at conjuring up things, so guide it to conjure up “expecting the best” images rather than something else. Understand that a lot of the worries that people have do not actually happen, and that means that a lot of time has been “wasted” because those people could have been doing something else more enjoyable with their time.

Get your mind to work with you, instead of against you.

If I say “think of a time that you were happy and at the seaside”, I assume that you will conjure up happy memories of being happy and being at the seaside. Ah, Happy Times. 🙂 🙂

Hopefully I reminded you of some good times and that is bringing a smile to your face. 🙂 🙂

Before going to the next point, I would suggest that you stay here for a while, and recall those happy great memories in more detail and you do exactly this, now.


Give yourself a treat

giving yourself a treat is a great stress management techniqueTechnique 11 is to remember to give yourself treats on a regular basis. This technique is another good one. As well as potentially helping with stress levels or anxiety levels, it can help greatly to give us some ‘recharging time’ which is always good.

The concept is simple – it is to give yourself some sort of treat.

Maybe go to a coffee shop, and have the coffee there, with the intention of drinking the coffee very slowly and staying there for 40 minutes to 60 minutes, with no distractions (No mobile phone, no reading the paper, no laptop, no computer, no book). Just be “lazy” for that 40 minutes to 60 minutes. Enjoy that time.

Sometimes, that is the most productive use of our time. Give the brain and mind a chance to catch up. Oh, if any “not great thoughts” come up, re-divert them with a “hey, brain, I am relaxing here. Go f* off”.

You may need the “down time” and it is way better to be in control of that “down time agenda” than not.

Everyone is different. So rather than going to a coffee shop, you might go somewhere for afternoon tea. Enjoying afternoon tea at a hotel is a different experience that enjoying tea with a treat at a coffee house. They are different experiences and prices usually reflect this.

It is important however to give yourself some treat on a regular basis, ideally at least once every day. Going out to enjoy the latest blockbuster at the local cinema is also an idea. You may find that you find some variety with your treats so that you enjoy them and it does not become dull.

Giving yourself a bigger treat on occasions is also an idea.


Read novels

reading novels is a great stress management techniqueTechnique 12 is to read novels. This is an incredibly simple stress management technique. It is to read novels that you totally enjoy and totally engage in. The important thing is that you totally engage yourself in the story.

Once you start turning pages and read for a while (over 6 minutes according to a UK study), your stress levels start to go down.

I recommend that you read novels that you totally enjoy and totally engage in every day for at least 10 minutes. I have resumed doing this myself recently and read in bed most nights for at least 10 minutes. I get so engaged with the story that it is usually nearer 30 minutes when I call it a day.

My gut feeling is that my stress levels are going down, so all good.

Why not give it a go, and see if this one works for you? You surely have a novel in the house that you could start reading or rereading later today.

Note that whatever you read for stress relief, is something that you enjoy reading and something that you totally engage in. Reading a technical work related document might not fit the bill in this instance. 🙂

Reading a novel from a gene that you do not enjoy may not be a good idea. For instance, I myself will not read horror novels, well because I do not enjoy them. Horror novels freak me out and do my stress levels no good at all. So I simply do not read that gene of novels. Whereas I like a good thriller that I truly totally enjoy and totally engage in. I suggest that you read novels from different genes that you do enjoy.

From personal experience, I can say that reading novels that I enjoy helps. Why not give it a go and see if it helps for you?


Use this in your thinking

thinking in different ways can be a great stress management strategyTechnique 13 is using the “I do my thing and you do your thing” concept in your silent thinking. This is based on the famous quote by Fritz Perls:

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

I find that saying this quote silently to myself a few times that it helps.

Yes, personally I think that it is okay to be concerned about another person. In this case, doing meditation, especially loving-kindness meditation can help you get you some space. You need the space yourself to help you to see the situation clearer for yourself.

Then determine if it is a good idea to help and if it is, and you can, and the other person is okay with it, then proceed. Just be careful that you do not cross a line. Once you get involved, you could be “hooked” in emotionally for a lot more that you initially expected, so you might need to put some sort of condition on this to help you remain “unhooked” or to very clearly state some condition, “Sure, I can give you 10 minutes now, but then I have to go” and 10 to 15 minutes later, go.

Worrying about things that are of no real concern to me is not a good use of my time and my energies. For one thing, it can add to my stress levels. For another, it can make me more anxious. So from my point of view and from my health view, I am better off to focus on “doing my thing and living up to my expectations”. If any additional thoughts come up that are not related to “doing my thing and living up to my expectations”, I can re-divert them with a “hey, brain, thanks for that. As it is not related to doing my thing and living up to my expectations, go f* off”.

From personal experience, I can say that saying this quote silently (I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up to mine) to myself a few times helps. Why not give it a go and see if it helps for you?

It may be noted that the Loving Kindness Meditation phrases involved in acceptance are somewhat connected to this strategy. Examples of these phrases are:
May I accept myself as I am. May I accept others as they are.

You might have noticed that using Meditation for stress relief was already discussed above.


Use the Insight Timer App

Insight Timer App - Meditations - Get Help - Start of ListAssuming that you have a compatible device, technique 14 is to use the Insight Timer App. This is a brilliant meditation app that is very popular.

I have personally been using this app myself since late 2016 and highly recommend it. It is a top rated free meditation app on both the Android and iOS stores. I rate it as 5 stars out of 5.

This is a great handy app for empowering you to do meditation related tasks at anytime. The app can operate in offline mode for some of its functions. They have over 10,000 different guided meditation sessions covering a large number of topics within the meditation arena, including stress and anxiety.

The App is an application that runs on compatible smartphones on Android and on iOS that empower people to learn about meditation, do meditation, document their meditation progress, perform various countdown functions, do guided meditation sessions online and do unguided meditation sessions along with other functionally within the App itself.

I recommend the excellent App, “Insight Timer App”.

 
From personal experience, I can say that this App is brilliant. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?


Bonus: 17 Tips (Video)

Here’s a brilliant short video outlining 17 Science-Backed Ways To Relieve Stress Right Now. These are great for sure. Enjoy. 🙂


My #1 Recommendation

This is my number 1 recommendation for stress management course. There are different ways to learn how to manage stress. In this case, I recommend the excellent online course Conscious Stress Management. This is a 4-week practical coaching program developed by a psychotherapist. The course covers mindfulness, coaching tools, meditation and positive psychology principles. If only one of these strategies works for you the course is well worth its cost.

Just so you know, I purchased this course myself and completed it successfully. There is a lot of content, which is split up into suggested daily chucks. Once you get the course itself, you have lifetime access to it, so you can do specific parts of the course again or the whole course again, as many times that you feel that the course is helpful.

The Conscious Stress Management Course

 

My #2 Recommendation

This is my number 1 recommendation for a course to learn about meditation, in such a way that you learn theory and do practical stuff every day that you do the course. This course is my number 2 recommendation for a stress management course. There are many different effective ways to manage stress, meditation is one of them. The recommended course above has a meditation component, however to learn more about meditation, the recommended course below is the course to do.

I completed this course successfully myself twice, once in late 2016 / early 2017 and again in early 2018. One thing with a course like this is that you can do it as often as you feel that it is helpful. On the second pass, I learned things that I missed on the first pass.

The content is divided up into recommended daily amounts so that you do not overwhelm yourself. Once you get the course itself, you have lifetime access to it, so you can do specific parts of the course again or the whole course again, as many times that you feel that the course is beneficial.

This course also includes a number of recommended external resources, one of which is the excellent Insight Timer App. I might never have found out about this excellent App if I did not do the Master Your Mind – Beginner course.

The Master Your Mind Beginner Course

 

About David

My name is David and in common with a lot of people I suffer from stress. In my experience of managing my stress I have learned different ways of managing stress. I suffer less than I used to because I have learned how to manage this way better and proactively do so regularly. This is working for me. I hope my stress management blog helps you. Continue Reading

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42 Comments on “Top 14 Stress Management Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this informative article. I suffer from anxiety, though I have it under control most of the time, there are times when I need to make an effort to keep it together. I found your article to be really helpful and I will be trying some of these techniques in the future, most likely the meditation. I have bookmarked your site to read more of your material.

    1. David says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Lots of people suffer from stress or anxiety. I am thrilled that you have yours under control most of the time. I hear you when you say there are times when you need to make an effort to keep it together.

      Being aware that there are different techniques to help helps a lot. Knowing how to practice these when needed also helps a lot. Knowing and practicing meditation will help.

      A book I strongly recommend that comes with a free CD containing eight guided meditations is called “Mindfulness – A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World”. You can see my review of this book here. You may already know, that Mindfulness is a meditation technique.

      Peace,
      David

  2. great,informative site, in this day and age when it seems like there is not enough time in the day and people seem to be running all over with way to much on their plate stress seems to be like an epidemic. I think this website could help so many people relieve a lot stress that they actually put on themselves, kudos to you for such a helpful website:)

    1. David says:

      Hi Robert,

      There is a lot of stress and anxiety in today’s modern world. Part of the problem in my opinion is that a lot of people are connected to the online world all of the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thing with no let up. One idea is to unplug themselves on a regular basis and just do something that they truly enjoy with no chances of that time being interrupted.

      Peace,
      David

  3. Jenny says:

    I already use the 2nd only that I usually try to think if it’s gonna be important in one year instead of five, the 4th – I live in a city next to the sea, so I usually walk along the beach line – and the 7th. I’ll try the rest of them, too!
    Thanks for the article!

    1. David says:

      Hi Jenny,

      That is an interesting “twist” to technique 2. I think the idea of a long period of time helps to determine if the “case” is really important or not. For me, the long period is 5 years and for you, the long period is 1 year. What ever works for you is what I say.

      I have a number of different techniques mentioned in different posts. My plan is to gather them into this one post. I will be adding them one by one to this post over time. I actually mentioned going to the seaside in one of my other posts here. My understanding is that if you can see the blue sea for a long distance, it is really good to help in reducing stress levels. Something to do with the beauty of it and the vastness of the sea. Lucky you. 🙂

      Peace,
      David

  4. Great article David!

    I have been a meditator for more than 20 years and thoroughly endorse your thoughts on it. It really helped me at a very traumatic time in my life. I meditate morning and night and when I forget or don’t have time I really feel the effects.

    Water is also a great tip. I heard it was 33 in Scotland today so yes it is a real heatwave over there. I am in Australia so we know a thing or 2 about heat haha! Thanks for the great tips,

    Kev

    1. David says:

      Hi Kev,

      I am never going to catch up with you. 🙂

      I have been meditating now for 624 consecutive days and find it helpful.

      You might like to learn more about a three minute meditation session. I find that knowing this, and practicing it, I am able to do meditation every single day, as I can always get in three minutes if I am really busy. I usually use a 3 minute meditation session as a fall-back if it looks like I am not going to get in a longer session. 🙂

      Dr Harry Barry discusses a three minute meditation session in his book “Anxiety And Panic: How To Reshape Your Anxious Mind And Brain”. You can see my review of this book here.

      One of the guided meditations in the book “Mindfulness – A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World”, (this book comes with a free CD of eight Guided Meditations), is a three minute guided meditation. You can see my review of this book here.

      Peace,
      David

  5. Dave says:

    Another thing you can do is check out some of the relaxing sounds that people have recorded on YouTube. I’ve found some amazing recordings (like rain in a pond, a stream, the seaside) and there’s nothing better than riding home on transit and tuning out to this stuff.

    1. David says:

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for this. I can see how this technique can work. And I love the examples that you mentioned. I really like the idea of listening to selected sounds. I would caution that some sounds may make you “too relaxed” and may not be suitable to listen to when doing something that requires all of your focus and attention, like driving. So people would need to take this into account when following up on this one and be really sensible.

      I know that when waiting in some waiting rooms, that they have slow classical music playing rather than a radio show. A radio show is way more likely to mention stuff that would not help stress or that would not help anxiety.

      Peace,
      David

  6. I love this article, it is very informative and I will be coming back for updates.
    Use the word ‘prefer’ instead of ‘a must’ is a technique I will implement, it immediately takes the pressure off doing something!
    I often meditate but not as consistent as I should! I am an avid journal writer, it is therapeutic for me and that is what I do I dump all that is in my head on paper.
    WTF or So What? and CBT techniques are brilliant I feel like they have given me permission to imagine the best outcome for me, yes that is certainly more joyful!

    Happy to have come across your page.
    Thank you!
    Anastacia

    1. David says:

      Hi Anastacia,

      Thanks indeed for your input here. I am thrilled and delighted that you love this, found it very informative and will be coming back for updates.

      Most of these strategies are pretty easy to understand. Once you are aware of them, you start to do them more and more, and that is all good.

      As you already meditate however are not as consistent as you would like to be, I recommend that you look at the “Master Your Mind Beginners Course”. Part of the content of this course is learning and implementing doing some meditation every day. You can see my review of this course here.

      Personally I have now done meditation for over 628 consecutive days in a row with no let up. Thanks to what I learned in this course, and thanks to my determination.

      Peace,
      David

  7. Some of these things stress me out. I can’t stand novels. I tend to get wrapped up in the storyline and emotional about something that was fake. I gave up on them years ago and feel like it has lowered my stress levels.

    1. David says:

      Hi Melinda,

      If you have a closer look at the detail in the “Read Novels” section, you will see that I suggest reading novels “that you totally enjoy and totally engage in. The important thing is that you totally engage yourself in the story.”

      I also say “Note that whatever you read for stress relief, is something that you enjoy reading and something that you totally engage in. Reading a technical work related document might not fit the bill in this instance.”

      It sounds to me as if the novels you were reading earlier you were not enjoying. There are loads of different genes of novels that are out there and it is possible that novels in other genes may be ones “that you totally enjoy and totally engage in. The important thing is that you totally engage yourself in the story.”

      For instance, I do not like horror novels because, well those novels freak me out and do my stress levels no good at all. So I simply do not read that gene of novels. Whereas I like a good thriller that I truly totally enjoy and totally engage in.

      You are of course quite correct not to read novels that you do not enjoy as that would be counter productive. And I agree 100% with you on that. The whole idea in my opinion, when reading novels for pleasure is to enjoy them and to get pleasure from reading them.

      Peace,
      David

  8. Andrew says:

    there are some good stress relieving techniques on your post and actually there are 2 that i do quite regularly. If things start to get on top of me i like to take a nice long walk, as it seams to relieve any stress that has accumulated. I will listen to some calming music, from my favourite singers, that does relax me.

    1. David says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks. Yes, there are some good stress relieving techniques here. I think that it is important to practice good stress relieving techniques on a daily basis, although they may not always be thought off as stress relieving techniques. For instance, walking to the shop to get sandwiches and back to the office every work day may use up 30 – 40 minutes every work day. That daily walk on work days also has a stress relieving function which is important.

      And as you say, listening to calm music by your favourite singers will solves as a stress relieving technique. All good.

      Peace,
      David

  9. Great article no doubt. I have learned to slow my breathing and curb my anxiety by just letting things go. What is of no concern to me is not my business and I am not here to save the world. I can totally relate to this post. Well written and informative!

    1. David says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your kind words. You actually reminded me of a quote:

      I am not in this world to live up to your expectations.
      You are not in this world to live up to my expectations.

      I have actually found the exact quote.

      Thanks again,
      Peace,
      David

  10. Thabo says:

    What a great and detailed post you have here. I love your stress management technique of asking yourself questions because this is exactly what I do when I face any problem not even stress related.
    This alone has helped me a lot in life.

    One thing I will be trying out is meditation. I will let you know how it goes

    1. David says:

      Hi Thabo,

      Yes, I agree with you. A lot of the “stress management techniques” I share on here could also act as “general life techniques”.

      Meditation is a great way to help relieve stress as well as having a number of other life benefits, so learning how to meditate and then actually doing it on a regular basis if possible is potentially a great win win situation for you.

      If you are going to try out meditation, I recommend that you look at the Master Your Mind Beginners Course.

      If you have a smartphone, you can learn about meditation using the extremely popular Insight Timer App.

      Peace,
      David

  11. Denis says:

    Wow David, what a thorough article! 

    I found myself in a bunch of your techniques.  Being a full time employee, I do get my stress levels higher than I want sometimes, but by using some of the techniques you enumerate here like meditation and going to the beach are my favorite ones to get my stress level down and my anxiety out the door.

    This past winter, I started a new position in my organization and my stress levels went through the roof, so much so that I had pain in my intestines that I thought was something bad. I went to my doctor, and sure enough, she said it was caused by my high level of stress!  As soon as I heard her diagnostic, the pain went away.  That’s how weird our brain works I guess.

    A few of the things you mention here I don`t do enough like drinking water and reading.  I will bookmark your post for further consultation. 

    Thanks for this very informative article!

    Denis

    1. David says:

      Hi Denis,

      I am glad that you found my post helpful. The post is long because I wanted to explain things with enough detail that people can actually use the information straight away. Some of the ideas are easier to put into use straight away and some require a time commitment. Personally I find meditation a great technique to use and at this stage I have been doing meditation every day for over 700 days in a row with an average time per day of 39 minutes.

      I have two great recommendations:

      1. Do the online meditation course I did. I found that this course helped me a lot when I was starting to meditate. It taught me the importance of doing it every day and provided practical advice I was able to follow at home. Highly recommended!

      2. Look at using the Insight Timer App. Please note that I get nothing from Insight Timer for recommending you to this great resource. It is just that I find this App a great tool to use when I meditate. Highly recommended!

      Since I discovered that reading is a great stress buster, I have been reading thriller novels in bed just before going asleep. I have to say that I find this a great one especially if the novel is good. 

      I am thrilled and delighted that you found this post helpful.

      Peace,
      David

  12. Micheal says:

    One of the best article will help persons to improve their health because being stressed can affect a persons health in huge way, and having a good health is the best. technique is my best. i do this all the time. it really helps. doing this allows the body to focus on so many other outdoor factors and allow the mind to drift from whatever is causing  stress thus improving a persons health, doing this on a daily basis can be very effective. I really love these techniques and i am going to bookmark this page so i can alway read this when ever i am feeling overwhelmed because that the first stage of being stressed. 

    1. David says:

      Hi Micheal,

      Yes, I agree with you, having unnecessary stress in our lives can affect us in negative ways, and one of the ways is that it can affect our health. That is one reason why it is so important in my opinion to know as many different ways to reduce stress as possible and that these ways are practiced on a regular basis.

      Some things like learning how to meditate and actually doing some meditation every day is a great way to help manage stress. Other ways to manage stress should also be practiced on a regular enough basis that suits you and the situations you find yourself in.

      No two people are the same and everyone I think have their own ways of managing stress. I hope that people find these ways useful and are able to use as many of them that resonate with them as possible, remembering of course, that the ways you use today may change in the future as you become aware of additional ways.

      I hope that you find these ways useful in helping you to keep stress at bay.

      Peace,
      David

  13. Norman says:

    I loved your article and I think you have a great site! I found 3 stress management techniques in your post that I really gravitate towards: The first is “Interrupt a thought process.” I love affirmations and use them regularly. I find that the more I regularly I recite them, the more consistently better I feel. Do you have any personal favorites that you use regularly? The 2nd is “Getting enough water.” It makes so much sense. One question that has always nagged at me and for which I have gotten varying replies is does this only pertain to water or could any non-alcoholic beverage also qualify? Would coffee count as a viable beverage? Please say “yes” :-). My 3rd favorite is “Read novels”. I consider this a wakeup call as I haven’t read any kind of a novel in at least 10 years. That’s just sad. And I love reading! I’m going to go to my bookshelf, grab one and get re-started! 

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips. It gave me a lot of food for thought.

    Cheers,

    Norman

    1. David says:

      Hi Normal,

      Yes, I use affirmations as well. The affirmations I use change all the time as I come across different ones that I resonate with. At the moment my favourite ones are “I choose to be well. I am happy. I am safe. I am love. I am peace”. These are ones that I picked up from some great meditation teachers when using the Insight Timer App.

      Your question about drinking water and non-alcoholic beverages is an interesting one. My understanding is that it is a “water” count so as long as water is there, you are good to go, like in dilating orange squash. There are many opinions about Coffee make with water. I would say that if you drink some coffee it would be ok but drinking a lot may be problematic. The problem with coffee is that it has caffeine in it and too much caffeine interferes with the human body. I wrote a post called Is Caffeine Bad For You which you might like to read.

      Regarding reading novels, I was actually in the same boat a few months ago, I hadn’t read any novels for ages and ages. Someone suggested reading might be a good idea and I resumed reading novels again. I am re-reading novels I read ages ago and I find that it helps me in managing my stress. I hope you have the same experience.

      Peace,
      David

  14. coolbudgetfamilyholidays says:

    A very informative and reassuring article. As a manager in the insurance industry, work can be stressful at times. Having read your article I can relate to a few of the techniques mentioned. One in particular “will it matter in 5 years time” is one that I utter on many occasions when the pressure is cranking up and the outcome is not looking favourable. I also like to go for a walk alone in the country side most Saturday mornings. Although I’m only gone for around 30 minutes, I switch the phone off and find that this time allows me to collect my thoughts from the previous week before and refocus the mind for the week ahead.

    As I go forwards, I will look to implement a few more techniques with drinking more water definitely top of the list.

    1. David says:

      I am thrilled and delighted that you already use a few of them. Walking in the countryside is a good one. If you can be away from motorised traffic and the noises of motorised traffic it can help further. Based on how long you walk on a regular basis can have additional long term health benefits as well. The World Health Organisation recommend that most adults today should be getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and some types of walking can be counted towards this.

      Peace,
      David

  15. Glen says:

    I used to be an expert in getting stressed. I was in such a stressful job situation that when I saw my office building on the way to work, I could feel the adrenaline rush. My 10-hour workdays felt like 2 hours.   While at work, I drank lots of water, limited my coffee consumption to mornings only, and did some deep breathing exercises. That helped me cope with work and get through the day. During the commute home, I usually napped for 20-30 minutes. Fortunately, I was not driving. I finally solved the stress issue, I left the workforce.

    1. David says:

      Hi Glen,

      Well done on identifying the primary source of your stress issue and taking corrective action. I hope now that your stress issue is resolved.

      Peace,
      David

  16. Sharon Whyte says:

    Hi David,

    What a great article.  It covers sooo much I am in awe really. And I bookmarked it as I want to check out some of the related articles as well.  Fantastic!!!

    I really do want to get into meditation as I know it is good for the soul.  I have downloaded apps like Calm and the like before however a more structured way would suit me best so I may just have to look at your recommendation.

    Thanks again David for sharing all you know on this. I don’t suffer anxiety but I do think we all have stressful times in our lives and it is great when you have the tools on how to manage it.

    Cheers, Sharon

    1. David says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I have two very specific ideas if you want to explore meditation in more detail:

      One is to the Learn Meditation Course which is free on the Insight Timer App. I discuss very briefly this Learn Meditation Course on my Insight Timer App review.

      The second is to be the Master Your Mind meditation course. I discuss this in my Master Your Mind course detailed review.

      I like both and use both as I find that they help.

      Glad to hear that you do not suffer anxiety, lucky you. 🙂

      In my opinion a lot of different tools, techniques, mindsets and the like can help people in different ways. A lot of the techniques I mention in this article also would be great tools for self-improvement as well as stress and anxiety.

      Peace,
      David

  17. SharonRPh says:

    Hi David

    Obviously you have spent much time researching, living and dealing with stress and I commend you on so ably organizing all your techniques into one article.  Some I found quite interesting and others I have tried myself from time to time.  Dealing with the management of disruptive “anythings” in our lives requires much discipline and different modalities depending on the situation.  Thank you for a well-written summary!

    1. David says:

      Hi Sharon,

      Thank you very much for the compliment. I am highly motivated to manage my stress and anxiety better. Based on my experience of managing it, I have learned different ideas and techniques which help me. I hope that they help you.

      I wanted to include a number of the techniques into one article. I hope that you can quickly scan over the techniques and try out any that seem to resonate with you.

      Some are ideas that you may already know and have used elsewhere in your life, and never occurred to use as a “stress management technique”. I hope that the article helps you out.

      Peace,
      David

  18. Mariah says:

    I have recently started doing something similar to your first stress management technique. Every day I have  a bunch of things I have to do and sometimes I start to get really discouraged thinking about them. My brain likes to head down the path of, “how in the world am I going to accomplish all these tasks?” And when that happens it wastes valuable time feeling anxious instead of actually getting started.

    I have found that simply by changing the voice in my head to say, “I want to…” instead of “I need to…” I suddenly feel much more capable. I think changing that word eliminates the shame from the sentence. The shame that will accompany the fact that we didn’t get something we ‘need’ to do, done. But if it’s something that we want to do, then if we completed it great and if not, that’s fine too.

    I was amazed at how well this worked for me right off the bat. Such a simple thing to do as well! 

    1. David says:

      Hi Mariah,

      Wow. I love your you use a slightly different technique to my first one. Your technique and the one I explain as my number 1 technique really shows the power of words, even the power of words in our own minds.

      Another powerful phrase is “I choose to ….”. Using powerful phrases is very empowering and very effective, and can as you say work well “right off the bat”.

      Simple. Easy. Effective.

      Peace,
      David

  19. Francesco says:

    Well I literally just encountered a very stressful discovery to my business right before I stumbled on your page and I was so glad to see the title of it. Thank you so much for channeling your own struggle into insights so others can benefit from it as I am benefitting from it right now.

    When I read the part about breathing deeply and intently that got me thinking that something that simple can be so helpful and I immediately started doing it myself. It is very easy to forget or underestimate. 

    I really appreciated the fact that you mentioned to not get stressed out and read the whole post as once because you have a table of contents. Very thoughtful. 

    The other tips that stood out to me were the “brain dumps” as I practice meditation everyday as well and the “so what?” because it is easy to implement and very effective. I yelled an expletive with it as soon as I saw it lol

    —Francesco

    1. David says:

      Hi Francesco,

      I am thrilled and delighted to hear that my post is helping you. That makes my day, getting comments like that. Thanks. 🙂

      I find it interesting and empowering that a lot of stress management techniques are actually usually easy enough to try out and see do they work for you. Breathing deeply is a good one.

      Once I started writing the post it just got bigger and bigger, so I had to add a table of contents to make it more user friendly for you. I suggest that the article be bookmarked, because there is no way that you would read the whole thing in one go and immediately go out and start implementing all of the techniques that resonate with you.

      Actually yelling an expletive or more is also a good technique, assuming of course, that no one hears you. 🙂

      Peace,
      David

  20. Robin Fernandez says:

    Stess managment has always intrigued me.  I consider myself “high-strung”, and frequently get knots in my upper shoulder muscles.  My dad was high-strung as well.  I’ve tried many of these techniques already and they absolutely do help.  I’d never heard of the Insight Timer meditation app, I have already downloaded it and will be trying it soon.

    Keep up the good work and thank you for the information!

    1. David says:

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you for your comments. I am thrilled and delighted that you have downloaded the Insight Timer App. They have a brilliant “Learn How To Meditate In Seven Days” course which is in my opinion well worth doing.

      When you enter the Insight Timer App on a smartphone, click on the “meditation” tab (on my smartphone this is on the bottom), and you see a banner for the course (you may have to page down a bit), just click on it and away you go.

      Each lesson/session for that 7 day course, lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and is well worth your time to help learn and actually do meditation.

      I hope that you enjoy using the Insight Timer App as much as I do. 🙂

      Peace,
      David

  21. Ropata says:

    I always thought I was a master at dealing with stress back in my younger days, I loved the challenges that my career would get me jammed in. But I have to confess, as my children enter in their teens, and knowing that if I don’t bite my tongue on some issue’s that they will just rebel is taking its toll:)

    I really enjoyed your tips for dealing with stress, and your no 1 recommendation looks really genuine and helpful, I believe it is well worth the while before I end up in a hole. Many Thanks

    1. David says:

      Hi Ropata,

      My number 1 recommendation is really worth while considering. You can read my review of this course here.

      Learning Meditation on the Insight Timer App is also another great idea.

      Of course, I think that each of the techniques I mention in my post should be considered. 🙂

      Peace,
      David

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