3 Simple Tips for Stress Reduction


If you’ve been on this planet for any length of time, you know that life can be unpredictable, frustrating, and unfair. Pain is part of living, and there’s no way around that. Still, it’s natural for us to get stuck in, “This shouldn’t be happening! What if this lasts forever?” which only adds to our stress.

When the source of stress is largely out of your control, learning to accept reality can help. Acceptance is not liking the problem or thinking, “Everything’s fine,” and it’s not wallowing in powerlessness or self-pity. It’s an attitude that makes space for difficult feelings (“I’m so disappointed that I didn’t get the job I wanted and I’m feeling really deflated. This sucks.”) and at the same time saying, “It is what it is. We all struggle. It’s okay to struggle because it means I care.”


When we’re stressed out, we often get stuck in unhelpful thinking patterns: worrying, catastrophizing, blaming, etc. When we give these kinds of thoughts all our attention, we feel even worse. Even with extremely uncomfortable-but-harmless physical sensations like the ones that accompany panic attacks, it is more often our thoughts about what’s happening that fuel our distress, rather than our direct experience of our body.

Come back into your body. Notice your breathing. See if you can take a big “sigh breath.” Take a hand and place it on your body wherever the feeling is strongest, and imagine sending light and kindness into yourself. Push your feet into the floor. Tighten your muscles on purpose and then unclench them. Eat something really sour.

Usually, when I think of self-care, I think about things that are pleasing to my senses: lighting a scented candle or incense, dimming the lights, eating some chocolate or drinking herbal tea, listening to music that makes me feel good, cuddling with a pet or loved one, taking a bath and going to bed early, or putting on lotion. Try making a list of the things that help soothe you. Even when life is upsetting and out of your control, there are things you can do to feel a little better.


In the midst of pain and struggle, find what matters most to you. Instead of using your energy trying to keep feelings at bay, use it to do whatever is important. We hurt where we care. If I’m upset because a loved one is sick or struggling, it’s probably because I care deeply about them and want to offer relief. What can I do to show them I care? If I’m frustrated with work, it might be because I care deeply about making an impact or having my contributions acknowledged. How can I get these needs met? If setting a boundary with a family member brings up feelings of guilt, I might remind myself that my needs are just as important as others.

Think about moments in your life that have been really meaningful, that have really touched you in some way. More likely than not, these are moments when you were tuned in to your values. For example: connecting with others, learning something new and interesting, appreciating beauty, or making a positive impact. What tiny thing can you do today to get closer to those things that really matter?


Our goal is to tackle tough mental health issues head on and to be the go-to resource for people that are struggling with depression, anxiety, and more.

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