If you experience stress, then you are sure to want to find some stress reduction techniques to help you manage stress! On this page, I give a brief introduction to some methods that could help you reduce the impact of stress in your life – try a few! It may be that some stress reduction techniques will suit you individually better than some of the others. So experiment, have an open mind, try a few techniques, find the technique or techniques that you most enjoy and feel most effective for you, and above all – be persistent.
There are some stress management techniques that can work ‘in the moment’ – techniques that you can use to give you instant relief from stress. It is a good idea to know some of these techniques so that you can give yourself some stress relief at the moment that you are experiencing stress. There are also some stress management techniques that require longer term practice and use in order to reduce your vulnerability to the effects of stress – to help you become ‘more resistant’ to stress – a bit like having a ‘stress vaccination’!
I cover some of the techniques on other pages on this site, and there are links to the relevant ones below.
The purpose of this page is to give brief details of some stress management techniques. But the main purpose of the site is the use of self-hypnosis for positive personal transformation - the use of self-hypnosis to deal with issues such as smoking cessation, weight management, and stress management. So I do not go into much detail about the other methods of stress management. However, if you would like more detail about some of the stress management techniques on this page, then follow this link to another site that focuses specifically on stress management techniques:
Stress-Relief-Workshop.com - A website to help you discover how stress could be affecting your life and how to manage it using techniques and coping strategies on a daily basis to improve health and lifestyle.
‘In the moment’ stress reduction techniques
Here are a few techniques that you can use that can help you reduce the effects of stress in a moment – so you can use them at the very time you are experiencing stress.
Calm anchor ¦ Thought modifiers ¦ Stress buster ¦ Breathing ¦ Stretch ¦Muscle relaxation ¦ EFT
These are stress reduction techniques that can be used at specific times of stressful experience. Simple stress reduction techniques to allow you to lessen the experience of stress ‘as it occurs’.
I give full instructions on some of these techniques on other pages. Here are the links:
The calm anchor
The calm anchor – an excellent ‘anchor’ for generating peace in a moment. Here's the link: The calm anchor
Thought modifiers – two simple techniques that break the ‘thoughts = feelings = actions’ continuum by replacing negative thoughts with positive or peaceful thoughts. Here's the link: Thought modifiers
Instant stress buster
Instant stress buster – a simple and imaginative technique for immediately releasing negativity and stressful thoughts. Here's the link: Instant stress buster
Breathing techniques – two breathing techniques to help you relax.Here's the link: Breathing techniques
Stretch your muscles
Stretch your muscles. This helps to release tension. Remember that when you feel stress your body is preparing for ‘fight or flight’, so the muscles are tense and ready to spring into action, so stretching them could help relief the physical feelings of stress. Although this is not a comprehensive list of all the possible stretching techniques known to mankind, here a few simple stretching exercises that could even be done while sitting at a desk in your office:
- Take a very deep breath – fill your lungs so that your chest is stretched fully outwards, then let your breath go slowly, allowing your chest to fall to its normal position.
- Roll your shoulders around a few times – continuing to breathe quite deeply and slowly as you do so.
- As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, stretch your arms above your head – both arms together held up over your head – gently move them backwards so that you are stretching your chest and abdomen (without straining!) then allow them to gently move down so that they are outstretched at shoulder level (palms facing upwards) – then allow them to gently fall down to your sides.
- You can stretch the muscles at the front of your thighs (usually known as the ‘quads’ – a group of muscles: Sartorius; rectus femoris; vast lateral; vast medial; adductor long) as follows: stand upright; use some object (e.g. a desk) to support you; lift one of your feet backwards and take hold of it with one hand; use the hand to gently ease the foot slightly higher until you feel the muscles at the front of your thighs slightly stretching. Repeat the process with the other foot.
- To stretch your hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thighs – actually called the biceps femoris) sit on the front edge of your chair and lift your legs (together) until they are parallel with the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds before gently allowing your legs to return to the normal position. Repeat this until you can feel your legs have relaxed
Progressive muscle relaxation. As stated above, when you are feeling stress, your body is ready for ‘fight or flight’, and your muscles become tense. So, being able to simply and easily relax your muscles will help you relax your mind by easing the physical tension component of the stress. Relaxing your muscles causes tension to be dissipated. Some progressive relaxation techniques are done upwards, but my preference is to follow a progressive muscle relaxation from top to bottom – from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. I give instruction on this technique on another page, on which I also give three other simple relaxation techniques. Here’s the link to that page: Muscle relaxation
Here are the full progressive muscle relaxation instructions:
- Sit comfortably and allow your eyes to gently close;
- Think about the little muscles at the corners of your eyes – imagine them relaxing, the muscles easing out and becoming limp and slack;
- Now imagine that relaxation spreading to your cheeks – then your mouth – and then your jaw – all those muscles relaxing, eating out and becoming limp and slack;
- Now allow that relaxation to spread over your forehead and your scalp – down the back of your neck – then allowing your shoulders to relax – any tension easing out as you feel those muscles becoming limp and slack;
- Feel the relaxation spreading down your upper arms – down through your forearms – through your hands – down to your fingertips;
- Feel your chest relaxing – and allow the relaxation to spread down over your abdomen – down through your thighs – all the way down your legs – through your feet to the tips of your toes;
- As you take your next breath, feel a wave of relaxation moving down over your body – from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
- Allow yourself to relax for a few moments then open your eyes. You can make this technique even more effective by making your tension even greater just before you start the relaxation: just before you start, (try to do this without straining!) clench you hands and tighten your jaw and try to tense every muscle in your body, then count down from 3 to 1, and as you reach the number 1 say to yourself: “let go” and then allow yourself to let the tension go, and then follow the instructions above.
This is emotional freedom therapy – sometimes called ‘tapping therapy’. This stress reduction technique originated from a process called Thought Field Therapy designed by Dr Roger Callaghan. It uses the same principals as acupuncture – but without the needles. The process is to tap at various strategic ‘energy points’ to restore the body’s normal energy flow. I have been trained to use this technique on myself and would recommend that you undergo proper training yourself if you would like to use it. A simple internet search will find a suitable tutor.
Long term stress reduction techniques
These are techniques that, when used consistently over a period of time, can help reduce your susceptibility to stress – thus reducing the long-term impact of stress in your life.
Exercise ¦ Breathing ¦ Mind relaxation ¦ Laughter ¦ Positive thinking ¦Aromatherapy ¦ Yoga
Exercise causes the release of endorphins – the brain's natural ‘opiate’! Thus exercising helps reduce the impact of stress by making you less susceptible to its effects. Exercise does not have to be strenuous! You do not have to be a ‘gym addict’ or body builder to get physical and psychological benefit from exercise. Exercise as a stress reduction technique can be as simple as a walk in the park with someone you love! Find what you personally like – find something that you personally will be able to do regularly, without having to fight yourself to find the motivation. Either way, as a regular walker (and, I’ll admit, gym exercise!) myself, I can thoroughly recommend the positive feelings generated by the endorphins released by exercise.
Mind relaxation stress reduction techniques
Such as focussing at regular times on things that normally make you feel relaxed, calm and tranquil – things that never have any negative connotations or memories for you. (Focus on nature, a beautiful beach, a much-loved relative.) You can enhance this technique by silently repeating: “calm and relaxed”, whenever you hold your ‘peaceful release thought’. Over time, simple saying to yourself: “calm and relaxed”, will start to generate feelings of peace and tranquillity in you – you must be persistent!
Laughter. Laughter also causes the release of endorphins. The more you laugh – the more endorphin you release, so regularly find something that makes you laugh!
This is a stress reduction technique that comes from within ourselves and disrupts the impact of stress on the ‘thinking’ part of the stress process. It is possible to use this technique in self-hypnosis – using positive affirmations and visualisations when you are in trance.
Meditation. This is an excellent method of generating a more peaceful mental energy, and so can be used effectively as a stress reduction technique. There are many schools of meditation, and no one technique is necessarily ‘better’ than any other technique. It is not essential to learn the lotus position in order to meditate – you don’t have to force your body into odd postures! Meditation is primarily about the mind, and although it is best to have a poised and relaxed posture (preferably with a straight back) it is possible to meditate while kneeling, sitting, lying or standing. Once again, my advice is to explore and find the method most suitable to you as an individual.
Aromatherapy uses our sense of smell to disrupt the ‘thoughts = feelings = actions’ continuum. There are a number of aromas (e.g. lavender, sandalwood, chamomile) that seem to help us feel more relaxed – thereby working on the ‘feelings’ part of the stress process. Using such aromas (either via burners, vaporisers, diffusers; or via baths or use of massage oils) enables us to feel more relaxed.
Yoga combines breathing techniques with posture to help heal mind and body. I recommend that you join a class to get proper training to use these techniques correctly and most effectively.