Stress Management: Tools to Let Go Part 8: Learn and Apply Stress Relief Activities

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

Learn and Apply Stress Relief Activities

supportive-talk-couple-laughingA. Stress Reduction Activities you can do in the Moment…

  1. Breath slow and deep
  2. Scrunch a ball or rub an object (like a sponge or a smooth stone)
  3. Confident self-talk: “I can stay calm.” “This will pass,” “I can handle this.”
  4. Positive Affirmations: (phrases that make you feel better.) “I believe in myself,” “I focus on the positive”; “I am a person who seeks solutions.”
  5. Encouraging Imagery: In your mind bring up a positive image (i.e.: a past happy memory, a funny situation, a calming thought (laying on the beach near an ocean, sitting on a cloud, watching a butterfly fly from flower to flower. Invision an empowering daydream (I am Superwoman, President, Batman), or picture your perfect peaceful oasis.

B. Stress Reduction Activities for Spare Time…

  1. Exercise or physical motion
  2. Hit a punching bag (if you feel calmer afterward)
  3. Meditation or Relaxation technique ( a helpful tip would be to listen to the CD: Relax, Unwind & Sleep)
  4. Stretch your body
  5. Talk out what is bothering you to someone you trust
  6. Write out what is stressing you
  7. Sing, dance, rap, listen to calming or happy music
  8. Laugh or watch a funny movie
  9. Cry
  10. Play a sport
  11. Do a hobby
  12. Play or pet an animal (pet)
  13. Take a hot bath
  14. Get a massage
  15. Go for a walk
  16. Read a good book
  17. Throw balls at a target
  18. Scream into a pillow
  19. Acupuncture or Aroma Therapy
  20. Other activities that help (Again, you can think outside the box. I knew someone who found that breaking plastic combs was helpful. I heard someone else who had a toy train hobby and running the trains would calm him down. My daughter likes to walk through Target)
  21. Window shop: Betty White loves stationary, and she says it is her stress reliever.
  22. Play cards or a board game
  23. Look into a fire (fireplace or candle)
  24. Enjoy nature (flowers, birds, trees, butterflies)
  25. Look at a picture book of something you love (castles, fairies, puppies, old cars, famous sports hero’s, legendary actors, flowers, butterflies, birds, kittens, horses, scenic nature)
  26. Use your imagination or play act

supportive-talk-boat-waterThese are just some basic calming activities, but it should get your imagination flowing so that you can find several undertakings that sooth and comfort you. Here is an Important tip: Sometimes you must keep working on your stress….just one thing may not always levitate it. Notice your tension barometer and keep letting off steam until you reach a manageable level.

Finally, my last stress buster suggestion is to add consistent doses of fun into your life. I make a point of doing a variety of amusing activities. For example every Saturday night, I plan something fun, dinner, movie or cards. Most evenings, my husband and I will spend 20 minutes after work sipping a beverage out in the garden. Playing with my grandchildren is a pleasure. As a dog lover, I always have one as a pet. I belong to two card clubs and get together regularly to play board games. Going boating is a favorite summer past time. So as you see, I not only recommend this habit, I incorporate it into my life. 

The last great Stress buster is to add “Fun” to your To Do List. Get some ideas of how to do this in article 9 in this series at

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 1: Understanding your Stress or Part 2: Stress-Reducing Healthy Initiatives.