How to Manage Stress: 7 Strategies for Stress Relief

We all encounter stress. Some deal with it daily, while others experience it less often. When your brain senses threats, your body reacts. While manageable stress can be motivating, it becomes overwhelming if not released or if new stressors pile up before you can manage the existing ones.

How to Manage Stress
How to Manage Stress

Unchecked stress can harm your health, but adopting effective stress-relief strategies can help you cope with daily stressors and stop them from taking a toll on your well-being.

If you want to know the easy ways in which you can manage stress, then you’ve found the right guide. In this article, we will walk you through the tips and strategies in which you can effectively manage your stress.

What is stress?

Stress is essentially a mix of emotional and physical tension that arises in response to various events or thoughts, causing feelings of frustration, anger, or nervousness.

Your body’s response to challenges or demands is what we commonly label as stress. In short bursts, stress can be beneficial. It helps you steer clear of danger or meet tight deadlines. However, if stress persists for an extended period, it can potentially harm your health.

Types of stress

There are two main types of stress:

  1. Acute Stress: This is the short-term kind that comes and goes quickly. You might experience it when you hit the brakes suddenly, disagree with a loved one, or engage in an exhilarating activity like skiing down a steep slope.

Acute stress is your body’s way of managing potentially hazardous situations and often accompanies new or exciting experiences.

  1. Chronic Stress: In contrast, chronic stress lingers for a prolonged duration. It could stem from ongoing issues like financial troubles, an unhappy marriage, or work-related difficulties. If you find yourself grappling with stress for weeks or even months, it falls into the category of chronic stress.

The tricky part is that you might become so accustomed to chronic stress that you don’t recognize it as a problem. If left unmanaged, chronic stress has the potential to lead to various health problems.

In essence, understanding the distinction between these two types of stress is important. While acute stress can be a natural and helpful reaction to certain situations, chronic stress demands attention and effective management to prevent it from negatively impacting your well-being.

How Stress Affects the Body and Mind

When we go through stress, our body’s autonomic nervous system kicks into action, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol automatically. This is a natural response to prepare our body to either fight or flee from the perceived threat.

This whole process triggers changes in our body, such as an increased heart rate, flushed skin, and dilated pupils. This is commonly known as the fight-or-flight response.

Let’s break down a few key terms:

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): This is a part of the peripheral nervous system that manages involuntary physiological processes like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion, and sexual arousal. It has three divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric nervous systems.

The sympathetic nervous system is the one responsible for initiating the fight-or-flight response.

While the fight-or-flight response is a crucial survival mechanism that alerts us to danger and helps us cope, repeated triggering of this response can take a toll on our bodies. This prolonged activation has been associated with various issues:

  • Increased cravings for sugar and fat.
  • Easier storage of sugar as fat around internal organs.
  • Potential dysfunction and damage to the central nervous system.
  • Structural changes and shrinking of the brain.
  • Memory difficulties.

Studies on animals suggest that stress disrupts the communication between the brain and gut, leading to digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome.

Moreover, stress is a known risk factor for serious health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It not only triggers but also worsens various mental health conditions and physical ailments.

Prolonged stress can manifest in both physical and emotional symptoms, including anxiety, chest pain, decreased libido, depression, fatigue, headaches, indigestion, irritability, muscle tension, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and a weakened immune system.

7 Strategies for Stress Relief

When you find yourself amid stress, there are several practical ways to bring your immediate stress levels back down to a state of calm. The key is recognizing when your stress is becoming overwhelming and consciously deciding to take steps to relax.

Here are some strategies to help relieve stress and achieve a sense of calm:

  1. Deep-Breathing Exercise: Dedicate just five minutes to deep breathing. Incorporating this into your daily routine alongside sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can enhance emotional resilience and counteract stress.
  2. Build a Support System: Maintain connections with friends and family who form a supportive network. Share your concerns with them and reach out for assistance when needed. Consider speaking to a therapist if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.
  3. Physical Activity: When you sense stress symptoms emerging, engage in physical activity. Even a short walk can uplift your mood and provide a positive outlet for stress.
  4. Positive Mindset: Reflect on your daily achievements instead of focusing on what you didn’t accomplish. Cultivating a positive mindset can shift your perspective and contribute to stress reduction.
  5. Set Short-Term Goals: Break down your tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly goals. This narrower focus can help you regain control over both the present moment and long-term objectives.
  6. Meditation: Incorporate meditation into your routine. Studies show that meditation can lead to small to moderate reductions in various negative dimensions of stress, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  7. Aromatherapy: Explore the benefits of aromatherapy using essential oils like lavender, frankincense, and chamomile. These scents have been found to reduce stress and enhance sleep quality.

Remember that the ultimate aim is to soothe your nervous system, and by integrating these strategies into your daily life, you can build a foundation of emotional resilience and effectively manage stress.


Stress is the body’s automatic reaction to perceived threats and tension. When faced with stress, your body activates the fight-or-flight response, causing various changes like a faster heart rate and elevated blood pressure. While a certain amount of stress can be beneficial, continuous stress over time can result in both physical and emotional issues.

To prevent stress from becoming a persistent problem, it’s important to adopt stress-relieving practices. This includes activities like meditation and consistently maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These strategies can play a significant role in managing and mitigating the negative impacts of stress on your overall well-being.


What’s the quickest way to reduce stress?

If you’re looking for a quick stress buster, consider hugging someone, listening to an uplifting song, flashing a smile, practicing meditation, or dancing. These simple actions can swiftly bring a sense of calm and relief.

Which exercises are most effective for stress relief?

The exercises that provide the best stress relief are the ones you enjoy the most. Whether it’s a leisurely walk, tending to your garden, practicing yoga at home, swimming, or engaging in sports, the key is finding activities that bring you joy and a sense of reward.

Why is stress relief important?

Stress relief is crucial because it helps ward off both mental and physical health issues. By managing stress, you’re better equipped to handle the everyday stressors that are a normal part of life, preventing them from accumulating and causing more significant problems down the road. It’s a proactive way to maintain your overall well-being.



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