How to manage stress & make it work for you

6 Min Read

Stress is an unfortunate fact of life. But possessing a healthy sense of control a confidence in your ability to influence the course and destiny of your life can help you influence stress by shortening its duration or avoiding it altogether.

How to reduce the different types of stress in your life

Stress at work

Career demands cause a specific type of stress called job strain. It occurs when a job makes high psychological demands but allows little or no control, autonomy or discretion over tasks.


Be more proactive, and try to divide your workload into blocks of manageable time. Schedule difficult tasks during your best hours. Set aside an hour or two each morning, if possible, when you don’t take phone calls. Use that time to conquer your paperwork.

Examples: If you’re constantly racing to meet deadlines, place a colored dot on one of the numbers on the clock in your office. Whenever the clock shows that hour, take deep breaths in order to let go of cumulative stress and clear your mind. If you work at a computer all day, give your eyes and mind a break by periodically looking into the corner of the room or out the window.

Stress at home

The time you spend with your family is the time for self-healing. But all too often, family members find that despite their physical closeness, they feel alone or isolated because there isn’t any positive interaction.


Enhancing family bonds is the key to managing stress and a happier, healthier life. Reduce external distractions by turning off the TV or radio at least once a week, and using that time for conversation or for an activity the entire family can enjoy.

Examples: Take a walk, go to the park, and visit the library. Schedule weekly family councils to discuss problems and concerns or to celebrate family members’ achievements.

Stress and personal obligations

Stress at home is not always caused by family problems, and in fact is often due to an overload of bills, errands and household chores.


Ask yourself, is it worth dying for? Often, we assign trivial tasks (such as getting to the cleaners before closing time) too much importance. The key is to prioritize what needs doing and focus on getting it done, instead of focusing on what can wait (which leads to more stress).

You may also want to consolidate errands and do the most important ones together. To reduce accumulating bills, try to identify what you absolutely need, not what you want, relative to your level of income and debt.

Stress and your partner


Relationships take time, commitment and energy. Such efforts and demands can be particularly stressful when other areas of your life make similar demands. However, we can turn shortcomings or insecurities into assets and strengthen our ability to reach optimal health by acknowledging them to our partners and to ourselves.


Isolate blocks of time to discuss issues of concern to both you and your partner. Instead of assuming one party is “right” and the other “wrong,” place yourself in the other person’s shoes and rehearse his/her perspective.

Most arguments occur during transitional periods of the day when we get home from work, for instance. So take time to allow tensions to dissipate by changing clothes, taking a shower or walking outside before confronting or devoting attention to each other.

Relaxation secrets

Truly successful people are not overburdened by stress. This is largely due to the fact that they perceive stress as an opportunity for learning believe that they have control over their lives and destinies and invest in altruism, recognizing the need to see beyond their personal needs and devote time to helping others.

Research has shown that attitude toward oneself and the world is the key to managing stress. So, enjoying what is happening “now” can enable you to stay in the moment and release your mind from built-up concerns and tensions.

While stress-management skills are only part of a total lifestyle program to stay healthy, they can also allow the body and mind to relax and let go of accumulated tension.

Exercises that help to manage stress

Exercise I: While seated in a balanced, comfortable position, tense and then relax each muscle group. Focusing on your left arm and hand, silently say to yourself, three times, my left arm is heavy and warm.

Repeat with your right arm, and then move your attention to your head and face, imagining a cool breeze.

End the exercise by raising hands to chest while slowly inhaling and stretching your legs as you exhale.

Exercise II: Visualize a place, preferably outdoors, where you feel safe and undistracted. Allow that place to become as real as possible by paying close attention to details, such as the time of day, the colors, smells and sounds.

Imagine that whatever it is you want to change appears before you, and then transform the image in a positive way. Gradually allow the image to disappear and return back to your safe place.

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