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  • Writer's pictureLaryssa Levesque

Feeling Overwhelmed? Here's How To Manage Stress More Effectively

In today's fast-paced world, stress is becoming increasingly common and can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health. While it's impossible to completely avoid stress, it's essential to learn how to manage it effectively. In this article, we'll explore nine ways to manage stress effectively to help you lead a healthier and happier life.


how to manage stress more effectively

How To Manage Stress More Effectively


Whether you're dealing with work-related stress, school stress, relationship issues, or just everyday stressors, these practical tips and strategies will help you cope more easily! Here are 9 ways to manage your stress more effectively.


1. Laugh A Little


When you’re dealing with high levels of stress, laughing may not be something you’re doing very often. But laughter can be a great way to manage stress! It can help stimulate circulation, encourage muscle relaxation, improve mood as well as reduce the levels of stress hormones in our bodies, such as cortisol and adrenaline. That doesn’t mean you should try to force yourself to just laugh for no reason (although even fake laughter can have positive benefits!). If possible, take time to find things that bring you real joy and laughter, whether it's watching a comedy show or spending time with a friend who always cracks you up. 


2. Take A Break From News And Social Media


Spending time on social media sites and watching the news can also add to your stress or contribute to negative feelings. The news can make the world seem like a pretty depressing place and scrolling through your social media can cause feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction if you have a tendency to compare yourself to others.


It’s also easy to get sucked into wasting countless hours on social media, putting you behind schedule and increasing your stress further. To make matters worse, many people use social media before bed, which can also make falling asleep and getting quality sleep more difficult.  


So try cutting back on the news and social media and see how it makes you feel. You don’t have to stop entirely, but give yourself a break and instead try visiting with friends, being outside enjoying the weather, or reading a great book. 


3. Manage Your Time


Time management is another effective way to cope with stress. When we feel like we have too much to do and not enough time, it can lead us to feel overwhelmed and stressed. By managing our time more effectively, we can reduce these feelings and improve our overall sense of well-being. 


Start by setting clear goals and priorities for each day or week. Make a to-do list and prioritize the most important tasks, so that you're focusing your time and energy on the things that matter most and increasing your productivity. It can also be helpful to break large tasks down into smaller, more manageable ones, so that you feel a sense of progress and accomplishment as you complete each one.


Finally, learn to say no! If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's important to set boundaries and say no to requests that don't align with your goals or priorities. This can help to reduce stress and free up your time and energy.


4. Practice Gratitude

 

When we're stressed, it's easy to focus on the negatives and forget about the positives in our lives. But that doesn’t mean that life is all bad! Even at your most stressed, there are probably things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude can help shift your focus to the good, improve your mood, and regulate stress levels. Take a few minutes each day to think about what you're grateful for, whether it's a supportive friend or a delicious cup of coffee. You can even write out a little list each day or keep a gratitude journal (see a template here). Sometimes it’s all about perspective! 


5. Get Some Fresh Air

 

If you’ve been extra stressed lately, have you considered whether you’ve been getting outside enough? It’s easy to become preoccupied with other things when you’re stressed. Who has time to go outside when there’s so much that needs to get done? But being cooped up indoors can actually make you feel even more stressed.


Getting outside and breathing in some fresh air can help clear your mind, lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve mood, and reduce stress levels. So make some time each day to take a walk in nature or sit outside for a few minutes and soak up some vitamin D. Your mind, body, and overall mental health will thank you! 


6. Try Mindfulness and Meditation


Sometimes when you’re stressed, you can become overwhelmed thinking about everything you need to do, obligations and responsibilities, and personal issues you may be dealing with. It can even turn into a vicious cycle where the more you think about the reasons you’re stressed, the worse your stress gets.


This is where practicing mindfulness can help! Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment, without judgment, and can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Meditation, on the other hand, involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, which can help to calm the mind and reduce stress.


Research has shown that mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, and increase feelings of happiness and well-being. To incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your stress management routine, start by setting aside a few minutes each day to practice and gradually increase the duration over time. 


7. Prioritize Sleep

 

Sleep is crucial for our mental health, and yet it's often the first thing to go when we're stressed. But losing sleep can make your stress levels soar even higher and cause additional issues with memory, concentration, and physical health. It may be hard to get into a routine initially, but stick with it!


Prioritize getting enough sleep each night by creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, and keeping your bedroom cool and dark. You’ll be in a more positive mood, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll be able to focus more easily. 


8. Connect with Others


If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you may not feel like you have time to spend with the people you care about, or you may just feel too tired to socialize. Unfortunately, feeling isolated can make stress worse. So even though making the effort may seem hard sometimes, it's important to connect with others. Whether it's calling a friend, joining a support group, or volunteering in your community, finding ways to connect with others can help improve your mood and reduce stress.


9. Practice Self-Care

 

Make sure you leave time in your schedule for some self-care; it can be a great way to help relieve and manage your stress! We often become overwhelmed by stress when we try to take on too much, or don’t give ourselves enough time to decompress each day.


Self-care is all about taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time each day; even doing something small for yourself each day can help you maintain balance. It could be anything from taking a relaxing bath to journaling to getting a massage. Find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine!


The Bottom Line


Stress is a part of life, but it doesn't have to control us. By using these nine strategies, you can effectively manage your stress levels and improve your mental health. So, have some fun and laugh a little, disconnect from technology, practice gratitude, get some fresh air, try mindfulness, utilize time management techniques, prioritize sleep, connect with others, and try some self-care.


If you are worried that your stress has gotten out of control, or you just need some extra guidance when it comes to stress management, we’re here to help! Inner Growth’s team of therapists in Barrie are available for either virtual sessions or in-person counselling in Barrie at our office. Contact us to book a free 15 minute consultation or for more information!


 

Our team of online and in-person Barrie counsellors provide quality and effective counselling services in Barrie and virtually across Ontario to individuals (6+), couples and families. We also offer an Affordable Therapy Program that provides counselling services in Barrie to individuals (12+) who are facing financial challenges that need mental health support.

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