How to Handle Stress

How to Handle Stress: Practical Steps for a Calmer Mind & Body

Stress is unavoidable and a part of every life. It’s a normal response to challenges, but too much stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health. As a therapist, I’ve seen how overwhelming stress can become if not managed properly. Here are some practical strategies to help you handle stress effectively.

1. Identify Your Stressors

The first step in managing stress is to identify what’s causing it. Stressors can range from work-related pressures, personal issues, financial concerns to patterns of thinking. Once you pinpoint the sources of your stress, you can start to address them. Keep a journal to note when you feel stressed and what might have triggered it. Pay attention to how you encounter it when it comes to your thinking. This can help you see patterns and common stressors in your life.

2. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Healthy coping mechanisms are essential for managing stress. Here are some that can help:

  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity boosts mood and energy levels. It doesn’t have to be intense; even a daily walk can make a difference.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help you stay grounded and focused. Even just a few minutes a day can reduce stress levels.
  • Connect with Others: Talking to friends, family, or a therapist can provide support and a different perspective on your problems.
  • Recognize Patterns of Thinking: Negative thinking patterns, such as catastrophizing or all-or-nothing thinking, can exacerbate stress. Challenge these patterns by questioning their validity and considering more balanced perspectives.

3. Manage Your Time Effectively

Time management is crucial in reducing stress. Prioritize your tasks and don’t take on too much. Use planners to keep track of your responsibilities and learn how you’re most effective instead of pushing yourself to be more efficient. By organizing your time, you can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

4. Set Realistic Goals

Setting achievable goals can prevent unnecessary stress. Break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Celebrate your progress along the way. This will help maintain motivation and reduce the pressure to achieve perfection.

5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Your physical health significantly impacts your stress levels. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and staying hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, which can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns.

6. Learn to Say No

It’s important to recognize your limits. Overcommitting yourself almost always leads to increased stress. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when you’re already feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay to prioritize your well-being. Remember, there’s a difference between selfishness and self-care.

7. Seek Support

If you find that stress is affecting your daily life and you’re struggling to manage it on your own, seeking support can be beneficial. Talk to friends, mentors, or a therapist. They can provide strategies and feedback tailored to your specific situation and help you develop insight and better coping mechanisms.

8. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Activities such as yoga, listening to music, or reading can help you unwind. Mindfulness, in particular, can be very effective. By practicing mindfulness, you can calm your sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your fight-or-flight response. This can lead to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Find what works best for you and make time for it regularly.

9. Limit Exposure to Stressors

While it’s impossible to avoid all stress, you can limit your exposure to certain stressors. For example, if watching the news makes you anxious, set boundaries on how much time you spend consuming media. Create a balanced environment that promotes relaxation and includes positivity.

10. Stay Positive and Embrace a Growth Mindset

A positive mindset can make a significant difference in how you handle stress. Practice gratitude by acknowledging the good things in your life. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more constructive ones. Additionally, adopt a growth mindset – view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than insurmountable obstacles. This shift in perspective helps to manage stress more effectively.


Handling stress is about finding the right balance and making small, manageable changes to your lifestyle. By identifying your stressors, developing healthy coping mechanisms, managing your time, and maintaining a positive mindset, you can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. Remember, it’s okay to seek help when you need it. As a therapist, I’m here to support, encourage and offer tools as you seek a more peaceful and balanced life.

Get Started Today

I offer individual counseling, couples therapy and premarital counseling. The issues I work with are diverse and range from problems arising from sudden circumstantial changes to long standing and complex struggles. My approach to counseling is varied since individual needs and circumstances inform the methods I use. I don’t approach any two people the same and personalize my methods for each situation and client. Click the button below to book a session and we can begin your journey to rediscovery.


To top