Successful Strategies for Managing Stress


The degree to which you experience stress or react to it is determined by the kinds of stressors you experience and your degree of physical, mental, and social resilience. The kinds of stress that you experience at work and at home fall into two categories: uncontrollable and controllable events.

Uncontrollable Events

These include such things as the loss of a job, sickness, the death of a loved one, a natural calamity like a violent earthquake, or other serious events with deep emotional consequences. When something is uncontrollable, it just happens. You can combat this by doing the following:

  • Talk about your feelings with another person who understands.

  • Practice exhibiting other kinds of emotions by doing something that brings pleasure (i.e., leaving the situation, meditating, or doing something kind or helpful for another person).

Controllable Events

These include situations where you can impact the positive outcome of the event. You encounter most of the stress that you experience in these situations.

  • Time stressors: These generally result from having too much to do in too little time.

  • Encounter stressors: Encounter stressors generally are a result of strained interpersonal interactions such as work conflict, low levels of trust, and low flow of communication.

  • Situation stressors: These arise from the environment in which a person exists such as working in unfavorable conditions, working long hours, getting married, starting a new job, having a baby, experiencing rapid changes in life events, etc.

  • Anticipatory stressors: Anticipatory stressors include potentially disagreeable events that threaten to occur or unpleasant things that have not yet happened but might happen.

Eliminate time stressors through better time management.

  • Prioritize your tasks. Do the most important things first.

  • Divide up large projects.

  • Don’t procrastinate.

  • Set clear and realistic goals.

  • Develop a specific action plan to achieve the goals.

Overcome anticipatory stressors.

  • Take care of your body.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat a whole-food and balanced diet, avoiding processed foods and too much sugar.

  • Eliminate or significantly reduce alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine intake.

  • Balance life with intellectual pursuits. Read, watch, observe, and learn.

  • Become active socially with friends and in the community.

  • Be willing to admit mistakes, learn from them, and forget them.

  • Reserve some time for religious pursuits or meditation.