Effective stress relief tips and measures and relaxation techniques
In this article you'll find 5 unusual stress relief tips and 5 effective relaxation techniques. Choose between those with immediate effect and implement those which will help to protect you long-term.
It's my mission to get you to calm your anxiety and relax regularly not only to the benefit your mental well-being, but also your physical health and your relationship.
I'm going to give you 10 stress relief measures 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 relief tips to full-blown life-changing strategies.
Why my interest in stress levels 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 because there's a direct link between anger and stress.
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...?
Therefore, my stress relief tips will benefit both your and your partner's overall mental health and wellbeing - in body and mind.
Can you learn 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 problems for your mental and physical health.
Let's get started then with my 10 stress relief tips each one of which I'll explain fully further down.
1. Emergency stress relaxation technique - deep breathing
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 after this deep breathing exercise. How did you feel before and how do you feel now?
2. How to prevent tension, stress and anxiety in 10 minutes
Here are 3 stress relief tips (yes, a couple of bonus points) for preventing pressure and tension turning into ever increasing levels of stress - in just 10 minutes:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
Use self-hypnosis - it's so easy! Honestly, beyond the stress reduction tips I have already given you, I can't think of a better stress reduction technique. So, hop over now to my article on with Online Self-Hypnosis FAQ and Downloads to get the complete low-down on how it works.
4. The magic of the 3 x 20 minutes for unfinished business
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!
- 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! I know - you won't come across this stress relief advice very often.
- 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 Better Help licensed counsellors.
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 stress relief tip 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 - calming you and reducing your blood pressure. 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! It may, for you, be one of the best stress relief tips. 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 (see my article on the signs of an abusive 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.
Have you made up your mind to end your relationship? I've several resources for you. See my page: Complete guide to breaking up your relationship or marriage.
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:
- 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.
- 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. 3 steps to taking back control
Take action and gain some control over your situation and your feelings. This is one of the most essential stress relief tips, because getting back in the driver's seat is a really effective ways to manage stress.
- Decide on the one problem you feel most out of control about;
- Commit to taking one small step today, imagining your ideal outcome;
- 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.
10. How to meet your inborn emotional needs - one of the top stress relief tips
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. Look after yourself, rediscover your inner strengths and feel more stable, calm and happy than you've ever felt before.
To help you look after yourself and inoculate yourself against stress, I've developed a worksheet below. You can download it here for free...
(There are more free worksheets on my page: Free stress management worksheets, including one for stress at work.)
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