May 2, 2019

8 Ways To Beat Stress


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Laura Lee, 53, with invisible wounds and scars. I've learned to embrace PTSD and depression because if I don't own them, they'll own me.  I don't want to simply survive, but to thrive.  I hope you'll join me on my journey.  It's sure to be a bumpy road.


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Take a quiz to assess your stress levels and then decide which one of these 8 ways to beat stress will you try first.


Everyone has stress, but did you know there are two types of stress? Positive stress is called ‘eustress.’  Think of getting married or getting a promotion.  Eustress is the positive response to the challenge, not the challenge itself.  It’s usually short-lived, and yet can still be overwhelming.

Negative stress, the stress we usually think of when we talk about how ‘stressed out’ we are is ‘distress’ – think of trauma, a divorce, death of a loved one.  Again, it’s the reaction to the challenge, not the challenge itself.




High levels of distress and chronic distress are shown to contribute to illness.  Why?  Test results show that cortisol levels increase during distress.  In fact, cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It’s released as part of the fight-flight-or-freeze reaction.

Cortisol is linked to learning and memory deficiencies,  compromised immune systems, weight gain, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and other physical illnesses. High cortisol levels are also linked to mental illness.

So, what do we do to reduce chronic distress and therefore cortisol levels? We develop distress tolerance skills.  How do we do that? Let me count the ways….


Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash


  • Self-soothing Kit. A self-soothing kit provides both comfort and distraction when you’re having a bad day.  It helps to get you grounded and keep you grounded.  Create a kit that uses all 5 of your senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting.  I have a way for you to get your hands on 65+ items to put in your own self-soothing kit.


  •  Smile.  Did you know there’s scientific evidence behind fake-it-til-you-make-it?  In other words, smile your way through it because it can make you happier.  And, frowning can make you sadder.  You probably can’t smile your way to happiness,   but it can’t hurt.


  •  Daily Gratitude Journal.  Write 10 things that you’re grateful for every day.  If you can’t write 10, write 5.  If you still can’t   write 5 things to be grateful for, then write 5 things that didn’t go wrong.  Example:  “I didn’t get into a car accident today.”


  •  Exercise. This doesn’t have to be anything radical.  It can be as simple as taking a walk or doing yoga.  Choose something   that you can continue to do on a continuous basis.   Doing it outside in nature gets you bonus points.


  •   Hobbies.  Find a hobby that gives you pleasure.  If you don’t have any hobbies, you might try several things until you find   something that you truly enjoy.  And, just like exercise, make certain to choose something that you can continue to do.


  • Prayer and Devotion. Start your morning with God and end your evening with Him, too.  I start out in the morning asking for guidance, energy, and momentum, and everything that I’m grateful for – including my family and the day ahead.  I also have a devotional that I read every day.  It’s amazing how relevant the day’s devotion always is.  I admit that I say my prayers while lying in bed, so I usually fall asleep saying my evening prayers, and never quite get to “Amen.”  When I’m in real distress, I simply repeat, “Jesus,” over and over, and let the Holy Spirit do the talking for me.


  •  Meditate.  Set time aside to meditate –  practice your breathing.  Start your day and end your day this way.  I have to admit, that I wake up at 0500, so by noon I’m ready for a nap and I meditate my way to it, so I’m meditating 3x a day.  I use an app on my phone, called, Calm.  Empty your mind.  Be certain to practice and observe your breathing.  One breathing technique is 7-11.  Breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11 and repeat.  The first technique I learned, and still use today, is called 4 square breathing.  Breathe in for a count of 4.  Hold for a count of 4.  Breathe out for a count of 4.  Hold for a count of 4.  Repeat.


  • Church.  Often when we’re depressed or struggling with a mental illness, we turn our backs on our church families.  I’m so very guilty of this.  I prayed my heart out;  I cried out to God, and yet, I didn’t let my pastor, or my church family know I was struggling.  I simply stopped going to the point that they thought I had moved.  Attending church, also gives us opportunities to socialize in a safe place when we otherwise have difficulties in social settings.


Which technique will you try first to help reduce your stress?

Don’t forget the interactive QUIZ on the website.  Check to see how your stress level is affecting your health!  And, get 65+ ideas to put in a self-soothing kit at the end of the quiz!


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comments   | 

  1. Brittany says:

    I have recently started meditation and I believe it in so much now as a way to destress! It really calms the mind and body.

  2. I love your ideas to help with stress! I have used many of them!

  3. Suzan says:

    Love the self-soothing kit idea! I do a lot of on-site coporate biometric screenings and this idea is one I will gladly share!

  4. Malia says:

    I try to smile, and we all express gratitude nightly in our family. Great list of how to combat stress!

  5. Lora says:

    I use prayer and smiling quite often. Great tips! I’m having positive stress right now as I wait for my flight to Phoenix to get my daughter home from college!

  6. Jo says:

    Thank you for the helpful tips! I have a hard time reading such small font though!

  7. Tracy says:

    Great techniques to relieve stress! Thanks

  8. Michelle says:

    I need to get better at ensuring I get more meditation in my life! I get so busy with the mindset of go, go, go that I don’t take the time to practice mindfulness. Great tips!

  9. Heather says:

    I run to help de stress. Running has been my sanity!

  10. Ramae Hamrin says:

    Wow, your blog is absolutely beautiful, and this post is amazing. I couldn’t agree more with your post. I am currently undergoing treatment for cancer, and my integrative medicine specialist suggested these same things for healing. Thank you for the reminder!

  11. Leigh Ann says:

    I’m definitely a fan of the smile more mentality! I agree a big smile can change your mood.

  12. Tricia Snow says:

    Towards the end of my banking career I was constantly stressed. Looking back I can totally describe it as being in flight mode. I had never had anxiety in my life and the last month there was hell. So glad I was able to do this instead. It was terrible for my health. Within days most of my symptoms were gone.

  13. Lina says:

    Love all your tips! I exercise to help with my stress. Smiling is a big one as well 🙂

  14. Stacey says:

    I am always stressed during the school year. Summer seems to be the best cure. Ha! But these strategies would definitely help during the year.

  15. Anna says:

    I could not agree more with every single point you mentioned here about managing the stress! Great article! Thank you for sharing.

  16. jen says:

    Great common sense ideas… and yet I still need the reminders LOL

  17. When I’m stressed, I become forgetful, which in turn adds more stress! I had to learn to both write down AND organize my thoughts because at one point my desk looked like a sticky note rave party…

  18. Katie Wolfe says:

    Very well done! Even for somebody who rarely stresses out anymore, there are some excellent takeaways. Thanks!

  19. Judean says:

    Great post and I have and continue you to try and relieve stress in all ways mentioned. Thank you!

  20. Michele says:

    I smile…a lot! I also write and garden, and prayer is always a given. Thanks for the other tips!

  21. I really need to take some of this advice. I’m not super stressed, but I’m not exactly stress-free either!

  22. Carolina says:

    Smiling not only makes you happier but it makes people around you happier so this is great for stress. Going to church or listening to praise and worship music definately helps me.

  23. Sharon says:

    Such great reminders. My stress levels are always up and down. Good points to remember the next time they’re up.

  24. Pauline says:

    These are all great coping/self care tips. I will be sure to print these off and share them at the clinic where I work.

  25. Cindy says:

    Great tips for relieving stress. I’m really good at self care and spending time in solitary mode when I need to. I didn’t know distress had an opposite! That’s cool.

  26. T.M. Brown says:

    Taking a walk and spending time in prayer and devotion are my go-tos. We live near water, so I love going out there to sit and just feel the breeze on my face.

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Laura Lee, 52, with invisible wounds and scars.  I've learned to embrace PTSD and depression because if I don't own them, they'll own me.  I don't want to simply survive, but to thrive.  I hope you'll join me on my journey.  It's sure to be a bumpy road.



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