Managing Stress

11 Strategies

How can you find a healthy balance between too little and too much stress?

The following 11 strategies can help get you started.

Strategy 1 : Manage Your Time

Strategy 2 : Balance Work and Family

Strategy 3 : Build a Support System

Strategy 4 : Personal Health Plan

Strategy 5 : Build Endurance with Exercise

Strategy 6 : Think Positively

Strategy 7 : Check your Reaction/perception

Strategy 8 : Break the Tension cycle

Strategy 9 : Communicate Effectively

Strategy 10: Creative Visualization

Strategy 11: Control of Thoughts

Strategy 1: Manage your time

The solution to running out of time is to take time to plan and organize

Make a realistic “to do” list and prioritize. Keep in mind that everything may not get done and that there is always another day

  • Get a personal organizer and use it
  • Break down tasks into bite-sized chunks
  • Consolidate similar trips and errands
  • Delegate as much as possible
  • Handle each piece of paper only once
  • Write agendas for meetings and keep people on track

Strategy 2: Balance Work & Family

When you feel overwhelmed, use these suggestions to get back in control:

  • Learn to say “No”. Practice the Rule of 2+1+1. Begin with 2 positives, “I really enjoy working on this project and I enjoy working with you”. Then 1 negative, “But I can’t stay tonight”. End with 1 more positive, “I can do it first thing in the morning”.
  • Be brief. The longer you talk, the closer you are to giving in.

Balance at home

  • Cook in large quantities and freeze separate meals
  • Give yourself enough time to shift from one role to another. Use your commute time to get ready for the next role
  • Establish daily and weekly routines for household chores. Share responsibilities
  • Schedule special time with family members
  • Plan for the unexpected, such as keeping an extra set of car keys around for emergencies

Strategy 3: Build a Support System

  • No man or woman is an island
  • Reach out to others – build a strong network of people at work, home and in your neighborhood whom you care for and who care about you
  • Develop relationships and friendships with people you can trust
  • Ventilate feelings before they build up. No one knows how you feel unless you tell them. Releasing negative feelings makes room for positive energy

Strategy 4: Personal Health Plan

Positively adapting to any important transition of life is related to the presence or absence of a Personal Health Plan.

The ideal diet should be 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein and about 30% fat.

Strategy 5: Build Endurance with Exercise

  • Exercise reduces tension and strong body is better able to handle stress
  • Choose an aerobic exercise you like. Do it for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.
  • Take stretch breaks at work – a great tension reliever.
  • Walks are an easy way to get exercise and relax

Strategy 6: Think Positively

  • The expectations and beliefs we hold are sometimes expressed to ourselves as self-talk. Positive self-talk such as “I can meet this challenge”, or “I’m in control”, can act as a shield against stress
  • Negative self-talk is stress producing. Thoughts such as, “I can’t” or “I have to be perfect” only make matters worse. Being aware of comments to yourself increases your feeling of self-control and self-confidence

Strategy 7: Check your Reactions/Perception

Some situations, such as an unreasonable deadline or a sick child, are stressful in and of themselves. But others become stressful—or more stressful due to attitudes, perceptions, or reactions. These include:

  • Perfectionism
  • A need to control
  • Pessimism
  • Inflexibility
  • Fear of others’ opinions or change
  • Lack of assertiveness or self-confidence.

The first step in changing a problem trait is recognizing the issue and making an effort to change.

Strategy 8: Break the tension cycle

  • When you feel tense, close your eyes and remember to breathe deeply.
  • Get away from it all. Exercise, read a meaningful quote, or go out for lunch or dinner
  • Take laughter breaks with friends or fellow workers. You deserve good, healthy fun. Collect jokes
  • Walk away from a stressful situation. A few minutes away can help reduce tension and stress

Strategy 9: Communicate Effectively

  • Receiving the message
  • Establish eye contact
  • Listen for the whole message: content, feelings and meaning
  • Check out if you understood the message by repeating or summarizing what you thought you heard. “You’re saying that you feel……”

Strategy 10: Creative Visualization

  • Creative visualization or imagery is a very effective mode of reaching out the internal environment and gaining varying extent of conscious control over it.
  • The basis for creative visualization is a total projection of all senses into a pleasant image that can be created or drawn from memory. The visualization has to be clear to have an effect.
  • The visualization can take many forms e.g.: visual, auditory, motor, tactile, and olfactory.

Strategy 11: Control of Thoughts

A very effective mental intervention for stress management is self-control. We can extend self-control by applying following techniques:


Manipulate stress experiences by creating complex, detailed images that reinterpret, ignore or change the context of experience. (e.g. putting the experience of pain into a fantasy)


Focus on body processes and sensations (e.g. closely observe the breath going in and out, the muscles which have tensed)


Focus on something outside the stress experience (e.g. mental arithmetic, some fantasy)

Life Quadrant

Think about events/situations in your life that cause you stress. Are they important or unimportant? Are they controllable or uncontrollable? If they are controllable events, you can take action to change the situation; if they are uncontrollable. You can use your skills in acceptance, attitude and perspective to reduce stress.

The thoughts can be classified into 4 categories:

  • Important-Controllable
  • Important-Uncontrollable
  • Unimportant-Controllable
  • Unimportant-Uncontrollable