Bret A. Moore Psy.D., ABPP

The Camouflage Couch


Simple and Effective Steps for Relieving Daily Stress

Life is stressful. When not hurrying off to work or school, you're trying to cra

Posted Oct 11, 2014

Life is stressful. When not hurrying off to work or school, you're trying to cram in myriad other responsibilities like grocery shopping, taking the kids to the dentist, or making it on time for the soccer game. And on the good days when you can squeeze in thirty minutes of exercise, you can't relax because you keep checking the clock to see if you're going to be late. Therefore, finding ways to effectively manage stress that infiltrates every aspect of your day is critical.

Effective techniques for managing stress don’t have to be complicated. Often the most successful techniques are those based in common sense rather than some abstract psychological theory. Below are ten simple, but effective methods for combating the day-to-day stress associated with life. If possible, do each one for a week. For those that seem to help, add them to your regular routine.

Take a trip to the past. Spend a few minutes thinking about positive memories from your childhood. Doing so can bring about a cascade of "feel good" emotions. If you don't have a lot of happy childhood memories, think about positive ones from your adulthood. Your mind and body don't know that you're using imagery. As far as they are concerned, you are back there, smack dab in the middle of the good time.

Learn a joke. Stress has little chance of survival when it bumps up against laughter. If you have a hard time coming up with a new joke, try You can get a ""clean" joke delivered to your inbox each day. If you are more fond of the "not so clean ones", well, there is the rest of the Internet.

Tell a joke. Don't waste all of those good jokes on yourself. Share them with family, friends, and co-workers. But, remember to keep it clean. Getting in trouble for telling an inappropriate joke in the office will introduce you to a new type of stress.

Turn off the television. If you're not watching the television, turn it off. Too much noise leads to stress. Life has enough background annoyances as it is. Plus, turning off the boob tube when you're not using it saves energy and money.

Ease up...a little bit. If you tend to set high standards for yourself and others, it may be time to relax a bit. Although meeting standards is very important, every now and then let the "small" stuff in your life go. For example, does the battle with your child over cleaning his room really have to occur today?

Go to lunch. If you're like most people, you're so busy that you forget to take a few minutes to eat. Even for the busiest person, time is generally available for at least a 15 minute lunch break. Take it!

Leave 15 minutes early. If you always seem to be late, start leaving a little bit earlier. Nothing raises stress levels like being late to work, a meeting, or dinner at home. And if you still find yourself being late, then leave 30 minutes early.

For more common sense ways to relieve stress and anxiety each week, pick up a copy of my book "Taking Control of Anxiety: Small Steps for Getting the Best of Worry, Stress, and Fear published by the American Psychological Association.