How to Achieve True Stress Relief

The Best Researched Tips For Stress Relief

You’re stressed. I’m stressed. We’re all stressed.
So, what do we do with this tough part of the human experience? Do we realize how stress impacts us emotionally and physically? Are we aware of how our stress takes a toll on our relationships and outlook on life? And most importantly, is there really a tried and true solution for successfully managing stress relief?

Successful stress relief is critical to your health | The Dating Divas
Finding moments to rest allows a body to heal from stress and function well in the future

What’s The Big Deal About Stress Management

As much as we’d probably love to bypass it, stress is a normal reaction to moments and events we experience throughout life. In fact, short term stress is actually a body response designed to protect and assist our bodies healthfully through those moments. Stress management only becomes critical when your body becomes STUCK in those response patterns. This is called chronic stress and the negative impact on health, quality of life, and relationships demands to be addressed.

Our body literally and actually reacts in such a negative way to {excess} stress that it shuts itself down when we put too much stress on it. The stress hormones can have a negative impact on your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, and mental health. Stress causes increased cortisol levels – a hormone that leads to insulin over-production and weight gain. Cortisol also destroys collagen production – hello wrinkles!
– Traci Freeman, AMFT

Her article with Healthline also shows us that elongated periods of excess stress impact the following:

  • Central nervous system
  • Central endocrine system
  • Respiratory system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Digestive system
  • Muscular system
  • Reproductive system
  • Immune System

Um, yikes! Are we seeing how IMPORTANT stress management is, now?

When Does Stress Relief Need Your Attention?

It can be difficult to know where normal acute stress ends and excessive chronic stress begins. It is also hard to say what circumstances cause each as a stressful circumstance for one person may not create the same type of response in them as it would in another.

A good way to sense when stress management needs to take priority is when you begin to see the effects ripple through multiple areas of your life for a time frame that extends several weeks or more.

Here are a few symptoms of chronic stress to watch out for:

  • Frequent irritability and frustration
  • Onset of higher anxiety levels
  • Anti-social behaviors and depression
  • Persistent headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping/insomnia

For further assistance in determining your stress level, Psychom has a Stress Level Test available for self-assessment use. It’s important to note that your answers should reflect symptoms you’ve experienced over an extended period of time. Your results will be emailed to you!

Stress management helps elongate our capacity for healthy relationships | The Dating Divas
Healthy stress relief skills lead to better marriages and a longer life span

If it were up to me, learning how to manage stress would be a class taught in grade school. {While we’re adding classes, let’s throw in one for teaching taxes, budgeting, relationship skills, etc… am I right?!}

The truth is, even amidst a culture obsessed with self care, most of us are not as good with stress management as we may think. While most of us are generally fantastic at hard work, appear resilient, and act like we’re staying afloat amidst our excessively busy schedules, we are all exhausted.

The last few crazy years have proved this as most of us have been forced to slow down and take inventory of our lives. There’s even been a new movement online eager to break the silence on our culture’s seeming neglect of mental health which begs the question…

Do we actually know how to REST, recover, and heal our bodies from stress?

The Real Best Practices for Stress Management

When we think of how to deal with stress, the first thought that often comes to mind is the word “relax.” If we’re stressed out and need to achieve the opposite, we should just do LESS and relax, right?

Not so! Most effective stress management techniques actually require a great deal of intentionality. If stress is wreaking havoc on our body, our reaction should be to do more to care for our body. Unfortunately for you and I, research is pretty clear that this does not include sitting on the couch scrolling Instagram. {darn!}

Here’s some tried and true tips to achieve better balance in our bodies and minds as we navigate current stress and become more proactive for future stress:

  1. Get active and get sweaty
  2. Eat foods that fuel your body well
  3. Avoid excessive numbing habits (tv, social media, addictions, etc.)
  4. Meditate, pray, or practice mindful thinking
  5. Laugh harder and more frequently
  6. Connect with others in person
  7. Assert yourself with healthy boundaries
  8. Try Pilates for strength and relaxation tips
  9. Get enough sleep as often as you can
  10. Keep a journal to help you process emotions
  11. Get musical and be creative
  12. Seek counseling or therapy

Life WILL be stressful at times but when we lean into stress management skills and learn how to achieve true rest, we can be successful! Be honest with yourself so that you are able to push past your comfort zones with these tips! Then, when you’ve put in the hard work and the long day is done, give yourself grace. You are doing GREAT.

And someday, I promise, things will start looking up.


I am a 5'2" girl living in my 6'2" husband's world and loving EVERY second of it! I am the proud dog mom to our beautiful Corgi Australian Shepherd mix, Kobe. (Lovingly named by my hubs after his favorite LA Lakers Basketball legend Kobe Bryant.) I am an Enneagram 3 with equal wings 2 and 4 who dreams to be the vibrant intersection where right brain meets the left. I am an introverted extrovert...or was it extroverted introvert?! I live for good music, challenging books, ALL forms of the glorious and ever-versatile potato, any DIY project that requires a big-girl power tool, binge marathons of The Office, every home renovation show that exists on a streaming service, and moments in time that are filled by nothing but loud, lawless laughter.

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