Stress Management Tools and Techniques - a person journaling

Stress Management Tools and Techniques

Amelia Wilcox
January 21, 2022
October 9, 2022
Mind

Feeling stressed? Take a deep breath, and let's dive into some stress management tools.

Stress management looks different for everyone. It all depends on what works best for you. This article will give you plenty of stress reduction tools to use throughout your workweek.  

Signs of Stress

Stress shows up in the body and mind differently for everyone. Here are some tell-tale signs of stress to look out for:

     
  • Worry or anxiety
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  • Excessive anger
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  • Irritability
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  • Depression or low mood
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  • Difficulty focusing
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  • Headaches
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  • TMJ
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  • Stomach aches
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  • Insomnia
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  • Weight gain or loss
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  • Loss of appetite or a large increase in appetite
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  • Tension

The Causes of Stress

Stress is caused by a variety of factors, but there are a few key culprits.

There are short-term causes of stress, like:

     
  • Having to cram in a lot of work in a short amount of time
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  • Getting into an argument
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  • Being bombarded by many small issues during the day (having to put out a few fires at work, kids interrupting your work, traffic, etc.)
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  • Being in physical danger

Long-term causes of stress can sneak up on you without realizing it:

     
  • Strained relationships
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  • A sudden tragic event
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  • A highly demanding job
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  • Long-term illnesses
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  • Financial struggles
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  • Poor diet

Things You Can Do Right Now for Quick Stress Relief

Short-term stress management tools are great to use throughout the day. You can print out this list and set it on your desk or put it on your mirror to remind yourself to use these tools whenever you feel stress coming on.

Focus on your breathing

When we are stressed, we tend to take short breaths from our chest. The best breaths come from our tummy and last a few seconds.

Try box breathing techniques for some quick stress relief. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat for a couple of minutes.

You can also follow along to a guided breathing video.

Take breaks throughout the day, and be mindful of your breathing during those breaks.

Related: Breathing Exercises for Workplace Stress Relief

Take a walk

We are made to be outside. Take a walk at least once per day. Look at the sky and enjoy the sunlight.

It also provides an excellent break for us desk job people.

Meditate

Meditation is one of the best stress management tools out there.

Meditation has many positive effects. It has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve immune function, increase creativity, and even slow the rate of brain aging.  When you start meditating, it can be difficult to let go of your thoughts. With time, this will become easier!

Regular meditators reap the benefits of their practice by experiencing a greater sense of calm throughout the day. Being mindful is one of the best stress management tools—and meditation will train your brain to do just that.  Check out one of Nivati's most popular meditations.

meditation stress mangement tool for mental wellbeing

Do something you really enjoy

Yes, you should make time to do this! Even if you feel pressed for time, carve out even a few minutes to do something you enjoy. It will help you have more energy later, and may even save you time down the road. Taking care of yourself is essential.

Write it down

Stressful and worrisome thoughts are great at clogging up all the space in our brains. Get it out of there! Write your thoughts and feelings down.

For bonus points, write your thoughts consistently in a journal, and celebrate your progress.

Take a nap

Give your body a chance to reset and recover. A 20-minute nap can do wonders!

If you find your mind wandering, lay down and listen to a sleep meditation. Even if you don't fall asleep, you will likely get up feeling more relaxed.

Talk about it

Stress is normal—don't be afraid to talk to someone about it. Go to a friend, neighbor, your spouse; having a support system is critical for mental wellbeing.

If you don't want to talk about your stress, you could also just spend time with someone you love. Do something fun and/or relaxing with them. Chances are they need it, too!

Create something

Cooking, drawing, painting, building something, and writing are all great ways to distract your mind from whatever is stressing you out. It allows you to vent your feelings while creating something beautiful in the process.

Take a bath

For bonus points, add some essential oils into the mix! Lavender essential oil is especially effective at bringing a sense of calmness.

More Stress Management Tools for Long-Term Stress Relief

Create a routine

Routines help our brains work less hard throughout the day. The fewer decisions that need to be made, the better.

Make sure you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. I know—it's a challenge! But it does wonders for your sleep and your overall wellbeing.

Have a morning routine. Taking a walk in the morning may be a good thing to add, or perhaps gratitude journaling. Take some time to ease into your day—and create a routine for the evening that allows you to unwind from the day.

Also—don't skip your lunch break. You need that time away from work. It will help you focus better later.

Related: The Top Benefits of Taking Breaks at Work

Eat well

What we eat is extremely important. It gives us the energy to live! Find the foods that are best for you. Cook at home whenever you can.

Nivati has tons of videos on nutrition, and we have nutrition coaches that can help you get on an eating plan that works for you.

Make sure you drink a lot of water as well.

Laugh

Watch a funny YouTube video. Listen to a comedy sketch. Laughing is great for your brain!

Do yoga

It's great for busting stress! Yoga is great for your body, too.

Yoga goes hand-in-hand with breathing techniques and mindfulness as well, making it a great self-care tool.

Have clear work-life boundaries

This is especially hard for us remote workers. Have a schedule and stick to it the best you can. Turn off notifications during your "off" hours. And try to keep at least one day a week work-free, if you can.

Talk to a therapist

Counselors can help you find even more stress management tools that are specific to you. Their job is to give you the tools and strategies you need to cope with issues in your life. They are there for you!

There are a lot of myths about therapy—there is still a stigma around it. Anybody can go to and benefit from therapy, even for issues that may seem small.

Related: How to Start Therapy: Common Questions Answered

Journal

Write down the things you are grateful for, and make it a part of your routine. Document your feelings. Keep track of your activities throughout the day—you may find that some things stress you out more than others.

Journaling helps you gain self-awareness as you track your progress over time. It is also a great way to vent. Keeping all your thoughts and feelings on the inside makes stress worse.  

Exercise frequently

Even low to moderate exercise has stress-reducing effects. According to the ADAA, exercise can decrease tension, stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.

Try on an incline on the treadmill. Walk in place while watching TV. Go for a jog. Lift some 5-pound weights.

Even a short workout can be a great stress reduction tool.

Prioritize your tasks

Looking at everything you have to do all at once can be very overwhelming. Only look at what you need to do for the day, and try to keep it at about 3 large, important things. It can help to do the hardest or most important thing when you are at your peak focus for the day.

Also—don't overcommit what you can accomplish in a day or a week. This causes more stress than you need to place on yourself.

Remove unnecessary stressors

Maybe you need to stop watching that violent TV show. Or maybe you really need to ask your spouse to do that chore you really don't want to do. This could be anything. The key is finding those unnecessary stressors and reducing or removing them.

Connect with others

See your friends and family whenever you can. Call a friend. Go out and about, for no reason in particular.

Don't isolate yourself—be intentional about connecting with other humans... in real life.

Get a massage

Learn how to do massage virtually with Nivati! Give yourself a massage or encourage a loved one to learn how to massage so they can help you out.

Pay attention to what you tell yourself

This one is key. The things you tell yourself can rule your life. We tend to hold onto negative thoughts. Learn how to recognize them and let them go. A cognitive-behavioral therapist can guide you through the process.

Journaling is another stress management tool that ties into this. Write down what you tell yourself. You may be surprised at how negative your self-talk is.

Stress management is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to boost your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Make it a priority. We hope these stress reduction tools help!  

Disclaimer

By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Amelia Wilcox
Amelia Wilcox
Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement. Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.