6 Ways to Stress Less

By Dr. Paul Kelly  Updated on September 2, 2023

6 Ways to Stress Less

Stress levels are up. A Statistics Canada survey released on June 10, 2023 showed that 4.1 million Canadians report “high or very high” levels of work-related stress. If you have too much stress, or want to learn to manage stress –  have a look at the stress relief tips below.

Here are six things you can do to feel better and regain control over stress.

Check out the options to see what would be best for you.

  1. Focus on the Present Moment. Mindfulness training can help you learn to focus on the present so you can let go of being caught up in worries.  Here is a link to some simple mindfulness exercises that you can start to do today.  If you practice for 10 to 20 minutes per day, for four weeks, you will see real improvement in your ability to manage stress.  SmilingMind is a great mindfulness app.
  2. Schedule “phone-free” time.  The average person spends more than 4 hours a day on their phone. This constant checking increases stress. You can learn to take breaks from your phone. For a start, try this mindfulness exercise for phone use. If you want more comprehensive advice, check out my blog post: Are you lonely because of your partner’s Smartphone .
  3. Get More Exercise. Research has shown that there are tremendous benefits to regular exercise. If you focus on your surroundings or on body sensations when you are exercising, you will give your mind a stress break. Try a 15 minute walk. For more advice check out my blog post about high-intensity interval training.
  4. Visit with family and friends.  When we have a chance to spend time with people who know us well and care about us stress has less sting in it.  The benefits of connecting with others is greatest when we can be in the same room with them.  Texting helps us stay connected as well but no app can take the place of getting or giving a hug.
  5. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR).   PMR combines breathing with muscle relaxation to help you calm your mind and body.  Here is a great place to start with guided PMR instructions.
  6. Teach Yourself to Sleep Better.  As a rule of thumb you should be able to sleep about 85% of the time you are in bed.  To improve your sleep here are some things you can try: reduce or eliminate caffeine, avoid naps, increase physical activity during the day, quiet your mind by avoiding screens before bed.  Here is a great video on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia.

I hope that some of the tips mentioned here can be helpful for you.  I suggest that you start with the one approach that seems most interesting or practical for you.  If you try any of these techniques for a few weeks you should start to notice real improvement in your ability to manage stress.  Good luck.