We’ve all experienced stress…from being up all night with a cranky baby to dealing with an incompetent supervisor. Rather than getting a headache and feeling overwhelmed, try some of these stress reduction techniques.

  1. Pinpoint the problem causing you stress. Some people complain, “My teenager is driving me crazy!” While it’s true teens can push their parent’s buttons, narrow down exactly what is stressing you. Is it your teen’s sloppy bedroom? Their one-word answers? Failing grades? When you pinpoint the cause of stress, you have a better chance of solving the problem.
  2. Get enough sleep. Yes, you’ve heard that advice from every self-help book and doctor. That’s because a proven stress reduction technique is simply get enough sleep to think clearly.
  3. Have some fun! Buy a novelty red computer key imprinted with PANIC. Push your very own PANIC button whenever the stress gets too much.
  4. Start being assertive. You have more power over your life than you think. Tell your co-worker you won’t write their report for them. Let the PTA know you’ll make a monetary contribution to the new playground but you won’t serve on the construction crew.
  5. Try a simple meditation techinique of clearing your mind. Simply look at an item around you. Look at the door, notice the shape and color, then say “door”. Next slowly glance at the computer and say “computer”. Take time to observe all the letters on the keyboard, the crumbs between the keys and fingerprint smudges. Your mind starts to slow down as you mindlessly focus on one item at a time.
  6. Stop multi-tasking! Studies show people are more efficient when staying with one task until it’s completed.
  7. Make a plan. Instead of complaining about your stressful situation find a way to make changes. Update your resume and look for a new job. Make a budget to help you start saving for retirement. Act…don’t react.
  8. Find a way to add a little humor to your day. Keep a book of funny cartoons or humorous sayings in your desk. Buy a Page-A Day calendar with funny pictures.
  9. People can’t read your mind. If another person is causing you stress, find a way to communicate with them and reduce the stress level.
  10. Exercise. No explanation needed. Start moving.
  11. Think back to your last camping trip. You probably experienced a few flying critters. When you next feel stress, categorize the the feeling like this: Gnats: a tiny irritation that will go away. Mosquitoes: irritating, causes a bit of a sting. Wasp: we’re talking stress! Can cause pain physically and emotionally. Black bear: time to make some major changes! Can cause major stress that needs to be dealt with right away.

In most cases, if we’re objective, the things that cause stress in our lives is equivalent to a gnat or mosquito.