Feel, be and perform at your best with these 10 tips to relieve stress

You won't find the tips to reduce stress on this page anywhere else! So, no suggestions here for yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, aromatherapy, long baths etc. Instead...

... 5 tips you can implement immediately and 5 you can at least start today. And I'll bet you'll feel a great deal better by tonight. 

It's my mission to get you to calm down and relax regularly!

It can really benefit your mental well-being, and transform your relationships too. And you know what? It often only takes a few simple stress reduction skills and strategies to make a difficult situation easier to manage.

I'm going to give you 10 coping skills for dealing with stress and include advice on how to prevent it spiralling out of control if there's no way of avoiding it. I've put them in order for you - from the simplest emergency stress reduction tips to full-blown life-changing stress prevention strategies. In addition, simply follow the links to find tons more self-help strategies for stress, depression and relationship problems on my other pages.

In case you're feeling unbearably stressed right now, you might want to take a look at my article on the signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown.

Why my interest in stress as a couples counsellor?

Why would I, on my relationship advice site, be interested in stress reduction?

Well, our nearest and dearest are often the first to suffer when we're stressed. So, my tips to reduce stress will benefit both you and your partner or spouse.

If you sleep badly because you're too stressed, you often make for a lousy mate the following day. Irritations you might normally dismiss can become more likely to anger you, which in turn can lead to emotional outbursts, pointless bickering and needless arguments. Sound familiar...?

How to eliminate stress?

Just in case you were searching for how to eliminate stress - forget it! I'm really sorry, but I'm going to have to disappoint you here... stress is part of every day life.

At one end of the scale it gets us out of bed in the morning. At the other end of the scale it can lead to murder. Somewhere in between we're potentially at our very best - loving, caring, feeling, creating, managing, celebrating, overcoming and surviving are all part of the richest experiences of our lives.

You really wouldn't want to dampen down the excitement and passion that potentially comes with those experiences - all of which include varying degrees of stress.

Stress in itself is not a problem - it's the length of time you're experiencing it and its intensity that can cause difficulties.

Let's get started with one of my coping skills for when you're feeling tense or even totally overwhelmed and you need to unwind quickly...

10 stress reduction tips

1. Emergency coping skill for stress

I used to have my clients calmed down in minutes with the following method...

First score your stress level: 10 for all out think you're going mad, 0 for pure calm.

Then pay very close attention to your breathing for just five minutes, noticing your in-breaths, and in particular your out-breaths.

Now take two deep breaths in and out. I know it may sound silly, but try to make a sound with the out-breath - like when you sit down after some hard physical work. It really helps.

Then apply the magic...

  • As you breathe in, focus on and follow the cool air through your nose or mouth, feel it at the back of your throat and notice how your chest expands.
  • Slowly breathe out, following the warm air through your nose and trying to notice it touch your top lip (or feel the flow of warm air on your tongue).
  • Really concentrate on this for a few minutes.
  • When your focus drifts - as it will - just bring it back to your breath.

Score again. How did you feel before and how do you feel now?

Cheerful colourful tulips.

2. How to prevent tension, stress and anxiety in 10 minutes

Here are 3 tips (yes, a couple of bonus points) for preventing pressure and tension turning into stress - in just 10 minutes:

  1. Get up 10 minutes earlier. However bad a night's sleep you may have had, those 10 minutes in bed really aren't going to make any difference. But those 10 extra minutes of being up can reduce pressure and tension whilst you get ready for the day ahead.
  2. Wherever you are going - leave 10 minutes earlier. Whether you're going to work, to an appointment or picking up your children, you'll soon discover the benefits of not forever having to make a mad dash. If you arrive too early - great. You can have a rest!
  3. Whenever you're making plans, schedule in an extra 10 minutes per hour to finish whatever it is that you need to do. But make sure you work as if you only had an hour to complete the task. In case something unexpected comes up, it'll be so much less stressful to deal with if you've factored in a little extra time.

3. Hypnosis for stress relief

Hypnotise yourself - it's so easy! Honestly, beyond the stress reduction tips I have already given you, I can't think of a better way to reduce stress. Tips on mindfulness are also useful, and there is an hypnosis download for that, but I'd rather you visit a specialist site for that. So, hop over now to my page with questions and answers on hypnosis, where you can also download hypnosis audios.

4. The magic of the 3 x 20 minutes

That unfinished business, or admin, or those chores or whatever it is that's gnawing at you in the back of your mind... they're likely to be things you don't want to face for some reason. Taking action reduces worry, so here's the action you can take:

  • Make a list of just 3 things, each of which takes less than 20 minutes to finish, but that you just haven't got round to doing yet.
  • Deal with the item on your list that is quickest to accomplish.

Go ahead and make that list right now. You can have these things done before the day is over and sleep better for it tonight.

5. Write to get stuff off your chest

It's time to deal with all that angst that you've been bottling up. Writing it down is in itself hugely therapeutic. No counselling or therapy needed - paper is patient, and non-judgemental too!

  1. Write a never-to-be-sent letter to the boss, your mother-in-law, your neighbour or whoever you feel is making your life difficult. Use whatever language you like, forget about capitals and full-stops. Just don't send it!
  2. Write to your partner or spouse if you find it difficult to talk about what's bothering you. Make sure you write respectfully and take ownership of your role in any relationship problems. Sleep on it before you hand it to her or him. 

Have a look at my pages on communication for further help if you're struggling with opening up to your partner (see related articles).

If you're really stuck with some issues, I recommend you just take the plunge and talk to one of the (relationship) experts - qualified and experienced counsellors - at Presto Experts.

6. Take time off for 'earthing'

"Yeah right", I can hear you say! "If I had the time to do that then I wouldn't be on this page." And perhaps you don't like the new-age sound of this either.

I get that. However, if you do take the time out, you'll be much more productive and effective, and you'll achieve tons more in a shorter space of time. So, go ahead and make it work.

Tell the boss, the family, your staff or whoever that you need the time (and help them have some time too).

Take yourself off to the park, the woods, a beach or any other wild place without your phone, or a book or anything else. Lie in the grass, the sand or on the rocks and watch the clouds go by - do nothing. Walk on bare feet. 'Earthing' is one of my best tips to reduce stress fast. Even an hour would make a difference. Do yourself a favour and at the very least explore the earthing site (see Further Helpful Links).

7. Consider ending your relationship

Really? That's the best relationship advice you can give as a couples counsellor?

Yes! If you experience excessive levels of stress in your relationship it may just be time to end it. It may not be worth carrying on. Life is too short. You were meant to shine in this world and mean something to others. Don't allow your resources to be completely drained by the strain of a bad relationship.

Want some help with your decision?

Take my relationship test to help you decide if there's still a chance of saving your relationship. Discover what you would need to do or whether it's time to break up.

8. Give up trying!

The word 'trying' implies you'll never actually achieve what you're hoping for. There are two stress reduction strategies here - so you can take your pick:

  1. Change your mindset - go for whatever it is you want to do with a fully committed 'can-do, will-do' attitude. Set a realistic timeframe. Discuss it with a mentor - someone more knowledgeable and wiser than you - to check that your goal (however small or large) is achievable. Make the decision to overcome your hesitations and fears.
  2. Give up! If you keep doing the same things, you're going to get the same results time after time. If you've truly tried all you can (see the point I made above) then there's no shame in 'giving up'. Is that a negative? No! It means there are better choices to be made. You can be free to direct your attention and energy somewhere else. What better way of managing stress is there!

9. 4 steps to taking back control

Take action and gain some control over your situation and your feelings. Getting back in the driver's seat is one of the most effective ways to manage stress.

  1. See my article on what causes stress
  2. Decide on the one problem you feel most out of control about
  3. Commit to taking one small step today, imagining your ideal outcome
  4. Take another step tomorrow and another again the day after, etc

Having a sense of control is one of our most essential emotional needs. Feeling you've completely lost grip on a situation can be enormously stressful and can lead to anxiety and depression. Don't wait for, or rely on, anyone else - do it yourself!

Take a look at my page: Self-hypnosis FAQ and downloads, as I think you'd benefit from some extra help.

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10. How to meet your inborn emotional needs

It's vital that you and your partner meet your essential emotional needs in balance. Making sure that those needs are met is one of the very best ways to manage stress. It will maintain and improve both your mental well-being and your relationship and thereby indirectly relieve many of the stresses that are bothering you right now.

Have a look at my page on the human givens. You'll discover how you really can make a difference to each other by making the most of your inborn resources. Rediscover your inner strengths and feel more stable, calm and happy than you've ever felt before.

Related Articles

How to Get over a Nervous Breakdown
How to Stop Arguing
Stress and Your Relationship
Signs of Clinical Depression
How to Save Your Marriage
What Causes Stress
Ways to Relieve Stress

Other helpful links

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Elly Prior

Hello you! :-)

It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

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