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10 Simple Ways to Overcome Stress

overcome stress

There is an insidious problem that can sneak into your life and turn it upside down. It can wreck your health, your relationships and your career. As you probably guessed, I am talking about stress. Yes, we’re all exposed to it, but we don’t have to become infected.

Stress is a major problem for many people — a hectic, stressful job, a chaotic home life, bills to worry about, and bad habits such as unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking can lead to a mountain of stress.

If your life is full of stress, there are some simple things you can start doing immediately to get your stress levels under control. There was a time when I was stuck in a stressful lifestyle and it really began to affect me. So I made some drastic changes.

Changes that helped me overcome stress

I quit my job. I simplified my life. I started exercising more and eating healthier. And little by little I began to eliminate my debt.  I also learned some habits that, when applied on a daily basis, can really transform the way you live, in a positive way.

How did I do all of this? One thing at a time. I didn’t do a major overhaul of my life. I changed one habit a month, and gradually over the course of a year or two changed a lot of things in my life.

I won’t guarantee that all of these will work for you. They worked for me, but each person is different. Pick and choose the ones that will work best for you, and give them a try. One at a time.

10 simple ways to overcome stress

1. One thing at a time. This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. If you’re going to do email, do only that. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better at it.

2. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Get out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. Leave room for down time and fun.

3. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, hit the gym. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it.

4. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time.

5. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading, or having sex (which can also be considered a “get moving” activity if you do it for longer than 5 minutes). Other people are calmed by housework or yard work. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.

6. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major source of stress in your life. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by shopping less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.

7. Have some fun! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Is there something simple you like to do for fun, but you don’t do it because you are always too busy? Maybe you like to shoot some hoops or take a walk and watch the sun go down. If you have kids, take some time to play with them. find something to do every day that has nothing to do with work and any other responsibly, and take some time to enjoy yourself.

8. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to reduce stress. I like writing, but others like to paint or play music or sketch or make pottery or do interior design or build things.

9. Declutter. This is a favorite of mine. I like to take 20-30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I look around at anything that’s cluttering up a room, and get rid of it or find a better place for it. When I’m done, I have a nice, peaceful environment for work, play, and living. Do this a little at a time — it can be one of your “fun activities”.

10. Be early. I will admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get 6 kids ready (seriously — try it!). But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material.

Letting go of Stress

When stress continues over a sustained period of time it can have devastating results. Recognizing the value of eliminating stress doesn’t do us much good if we don’t have the right skills to actually do it.

If you are looking for even more ways to deal with stress here’s a great training video full of excellent tips on how to overcome stress and anxiety.

How do you keep stress manageable in your life?
What is your greatest source of stress?
The lines are open!

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45 Comments

  1. shai July 2, 2010 Reply

    Really good stuff and practical things that can really change mood, as when I was reading I felt a calming and decided somewhere else in my heart that Yes I have to quit smoking and get a better life style, although I don’t have much money to do that but I will take every action that will entertain me without money.
    thanks a lot

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Good for you Shai, you are making some excellent choices.

  2. eli July 14, 2010 Reply

    I like this article it is very informative. I will follow all the steps and from now on I will overcome stress. Thank you for printing.

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi Eli, that is a great determination. Sometimes overcoming stress can be very challenging, so stick with it.

  3. madhu August 6, 2010 Reply

    Hi, I’m just 21 and I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of stress. The points you’ve given are so simple and I’m sure they’ll be very effective if I follow through on them. I really felt much calmer after reading this. THANKS A LOT..

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi Madhu, I think that young people have to deal with a lot more stress these days and I know it is challenging. I find that simple solutions are often the best solutions.

  4. raj August 15, 2010 Reply

    Good Article. One thing at a time.. really liked it

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hey Raj, that’s exactly how life works, one thing at a time.

  5. Alison August 29, 2010 Reply

    Great post, I especially like the “one thing at a time” tip. Multitasking is one of the most overrated concepts in the world. Nowadays we check our mail while watching TV, doing the dishes and preparing our next meeting at work. Sounds like we’re all being very productive, but actually it creates a lot of stress that makes us less productive in the long run. Do one thing at a time and give it your best effort.

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi Alison, you are exactly right about multitasking. Avoid it.

  6. ella September 2, 2010 Reply

    Wonderful article, I really believe in these ways of getting rid of stress. As for me, I am struggling to throw away stress but it keeps on haunting me. Those ways you have mentioned are effective but it’s hard to do them consistently. In order to achieve our happiness it is really important to do one thing at a time so there is less pressure. If you force yourself to do a lot of things at one time you will get burned out leaving your energy level lower for other important things you need to do.

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi ella, that’s one of the main reasons why people are feeling so burned out these days.

  7. dhakshina October 14, 2010 Reply

    This article really changed my attitude, thanks!

  8. sanju October 28, 2010 Reply

    I found the article very informative……… Thanks Mr.Jonathan

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      You are very welcome Sanju, glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Fay November 14, 2010 Reply

    Your article has encouraged me a lot, especially with regard to time management. I hope to pre-plan my schedules to avoid being late like I usually am. Thank you.

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi Fay, it definitely takes careful scheduling to avoid being late.

  10. Debbie November 14, 2010 Reply

    I like this article a lot. I’ve been going to therapy for years, and I’ve never gotten tips like this to overcome excess stress! Finally, some PRACTICAL tips I can use!

    I like the one thing at a time, and the declutter tips best. I must become more active I know. Doing something calming daily and laughter are both sure winners!

    I just quit smoking one month ago today. Now, I’ve got to get back to healthy eating. That’s my new month’s habit change. I’ll start with a healthy breakfast, I think. It’s easiest for me, and then, I can build up from there.

    I’m going to print these out and keep them with me so I can remember.

    Thanks for the tips! I look forward to putting them into practice!

    Peace!

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Congratulations Debbie, quitting smoking can be extremely difficult. Sounds like you are making some great progress.

  11. AHMAD RAZA January 20, 2011 Reply

    I really like these tactics to overcome my stress. Thank you!

    • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

      Hi Ahmad, you are most welcome. I am glad you found them useful.

  12. lavanyapokuri February 1, 2011 Reply

    This article is very good and it helped me at just the right time. The solutions given to overcome stress are really practical.

    thank you…

  13. Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

    Thanks Lavanyapokuri, I am a big fan of practical and I an very glad this information was helpful.

  14. Hephzi April 22, 2011 Reply

    These 10 tips make me feel like it is going to work out in my life. I’m loving it, thank you so much. I’m going to start applying them right now.

  15. shalini April 26, 2011 Reply

    Nice and practical article, I will be sure try these steps to overcome my stress.

  16. madhusudhanrao April 27, 2011 Reply

    hi, this article really helped me out with my feelings of stress. I think it is really useful for all people.

  17. kevin May 25, 2011 Reply

    your advice was really helpful, one thing at a time. THANKS

  18. Faiz Khan July 20, 2011 Reply

    One thing at a time sounds like a very good thing, but when I want to start that one thing the thought that comes into my mind is that this will produce less. So I move back and then the stress overrides my mind again. Could you suggest a solution? And is it essential to do one thing at a time or is there another way of doing it.

  19. alireza August 16, 2011 Reply

    thanks Jonathan it was so useful for my family and me. I had a essay about this topic and this articles helped me a lot. Thanks again

  20. Sameer September 13, 2011 Reply

    I’m grateful for your support. I’m catching up daily with the solutions provided. i now exercise more than before especially with Bicycle riding. Thanks Team.

  21. mahmoud September 17, 2011 Reply

    It`s really great to find out that what is really hidden in my mind. Thank you very much Jonathan for this precious article.

  22. Carmel October 22, 2011 Reply

    Im so glad I found this, Im only 31 and it feels as if the stress in my life just adding up! I have headaches on a daily bases, I also find myself stuck and not able to move on to the next task. I really think Im doing to much at a time! I have started taking it one day at a time and feeling better;) thank you so much.

  23. sulochana December 12, 2011 Reply

    Hi This is a great message one should follow. I will try to make things in a positive way after reading this.Thanks a lot.

  24. Rachel Fabus January 9, 2012 Reply

    I really like your blog, very nice colors theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Please reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where you got this. thanks

    • Jonathan January 9, 2012 Reply

      Hi Rachel, I use Thesis because it is fully optimized for the search engines and it is completely customizable. I did all the design customization myself. You can read about everything I’ve used to make my blog what it is today by following the link below. I set this page up just to help bloggers like you cut through the hype and see what really works.
      What does it take to run a World Class Blog?

  25. chhean meas January 12, 2012 Reply

    This article is very helpful at boosting up my strength to keep thinking positive and to do one thing at a time. My favorites are cleaning and decoration the house. But I have a problem getting started, so reading your article is helping me a lot to be focused and do one thing at a time. I am very excited and can’t wait to start cleaning my closet and garage this weekend. Thank you very much for this valuable information.

  26. Ernest Furaha February 1, 2012 Reply

    Hi! Jonathan, I really like your article, it help me get out of stressful environment easily. I’m a university student, normally I find myself in stressful situation but these ten steps will help me, I think.

  27. Barry February 15, 2012 Reply

    I am currently off work with stress. I work as manager in a call centre and find I am constantly pressured into doing many many things at once. I loved your one thing at a tone concept and from now on am going to ensure that when I am doing one thing I do not let others interrupt me i.e. assign time, say ‘no’, put my phone away. Close emails!!! I feel somewhat better already.

  28. juliette February 24, 2012 Reply

    Feeling very overwhelmed today and looking for ideas to improve the situation. This article was just perfect, clear, easy and manageable. Ultimately, it would be lovely to laugh naturally again without feeling the world is on my shoulders. Too much responsibility for too long.

    Thank you ….

  29. Jyotsna February 15, 2013 Reply

    Hi, this is really a meaning full article which is usefull to most of the people .Thanks you.

  30. Jessie April 2, 2013 Reply

    Great tips. I’ve gone through a similar de-stressing journey and I’ve found that being positive and starting out every day being grateful for everything has been a huge help as well. It takes less than 5 minutes of your time and can be done while you take your morning shower.

    Be thankful for running water, the fact that it is warm, soap to make you clean, the ability to see and smell and you can move on to the bigger things like friends, family, etc. The more you express your gratitude for what you have, the better it makes you feel, which has the calming effect of reducing stress. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Alok Das February 3, 2014 Reply

    From today on I will follow every thing you said Jonathan and I Hope it will change my life style and am going to quit smoking.

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