Stress Management: Tools to Let Go Part 6

Can you give me concrete tools for stress management that I can integrate into my life?

Let’s continue our list of concrete Stress-busting life changes.

Man relaxing on boatModify your Circumstances: When avoiding isn’t an option, try modifying the circumstances. For example, instead of bottling up your feelings, learn positive ways to release and express them your emotions. Don’t take a backseat in your life; instead, find ways to be respectfully assertive, so you nip the problem in the bud. Be open to compromise to minimize conflicts and manage your time efficiently. Learn ways to combat poor time management. If you find yourself procrastinating, divide the task up into small parts and start working on the section, you feel most willing to tackle. Otherwise, take on another “must-do” project. If you have jobs you hate….try to bargain a switch. “Mom, will you clean my bathrooms twice a month if I spend the same amount of time doing home repairs for you.”
Change your expectations by adapting or reframing your problems to a more positive perspective; you can change your outlook. Caught in traffic, use the time to do a stress relaxation meditation. Examine the big picture. Will it matter in 10 years if you graduated from college in 5 years rather than 4? Reduce your perfectionism if it is causing you stress by finding a more viable standard. (I clean my house every 2 weeks instead of every week). Take time to reflect on all the positives in your life…, living in the U. S., paved roads, free school, even having plenty of toilet paper. My friend went to China for a visit. There was never any TP in the bathrooms or running water to wash your hands. We take a lot for granted in our life. Maybe it is time to appreciate it all.
Learn Acceptance: Finally, as the AA prayer reminds us….” accept the things you cannot change”. There are events in your life you cannot change. No amount of worrying will transform the outcome. There are things that are out of your hands: natural disasters, the death of someone close, illness, or an economic recession. My sister’s home was hit by a tornado. It was a devastating sight. There was debris for miles. My sister was powerless against a stage 5 tornado. Gratefully, no one in the family lost their life. Afterward, she and her husband along with the help of volunteers could only clean up the mess. Then they remodeled their home, and it is 10 times more lovely and solid than it was before the storm hit.

SailingMy next part of my series on Stress Management focused on some concrete tools for stress prevention and reduction. The goal of this counseling on tension is to learn ways to avoid, decrease, and manage your stress. In Part 7, I will go over developing a support system, learning and applying stress relief activities and finally making a point to add a daily prescription of fun into your life. As Mary Poppins insisted “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” I will restate that by saying “a dose of fun helps alleviate your stress.” In this busy, complicated, and changing world; the ability to incorporate stress management into your everyday life will aid your health and happiness.

If you would like to learn more about this subject from other authors like 10 Steps to Mastering Stress by David H. Barlow, Ph.D., Ronald M. Rapee, Ph.D., Sarah Perini, MA or The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood, MD and Mayo Clinic. If you’d like to read more by this author, you can go to and read Part 2: Stress-Reducing Healthy Initiatives and Part 3&4: Concrete Tools for Stress Prevention.