18 Tips for Managing Stress and Tension Recommended by the CMHA

There are many aspects of daily life that can contribute to stress, anxiety, and tension. Stress can arise at school, work, or in your family life and it can become very disruptive and difficult to manage.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has compiled the the following list of 18 things you can do to help manage and reduce stress and tension:

  1. Recognize your symptoms of stress.
  2. Look at your lifestyle and see what can be changed – in your work situation, your family situation, or your schedule.
  3. Use relaxation techniques – Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or massage.
  4. Exercise – Physical activity is one of the most effective stress remedies around!
  5. Time management – Do essential tasks and prioritize the others. Consider those who may be affected by your decisions, such as family and friends. Use a check list; you will receive satisfaction as you check off completed jobs!
  6. Watch your diet – Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats and tobacco all put a strain on your body’s ability to cope with stress. A diet with a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods high in protein but low in fat will help create optimum health. Contact your local Heart and Stroke Foundation for information about healthy eating.
  7. Get enough rest and sleep.
  8. Talk with others – Talk with friends, professional counsellors, support groups or relatives about what’s bothering you.
  9. Help others – Volunteer work can be an effective and satisfying stress reducer.
  10. Get away for awhile – Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to music or go on vacation. Leave yourself some time that’s just for you.
  11. Work off your anger – Get physically active, dig in the garden, start a project, or get your spring cleaning done.
  12. Give in occasionally – Avoid quarrels whenever possible.
  13. Tackle one thing at a time. Don’t do too much at once.
  14. Don’t try to be perfect.
  15. Ease up on criticism of others.
  16. Don’t be too competitive.
  17. Make the first move to be friendly.
  18. HAVE SOME FUN!! Laugh with people you enjoy!
[source: mbwpg.cmha.ca]

The common thread through many of these tips is shifting your mindset from a stressful one to a more positive one. Making this shift can be difficult at first, but it can have positive and lasting health effects on both your mind and body. For more resources on managing mental health issues, go online to http://www.cmha.ca/.