Stress without distress
10 effective ways to counter stress
1. Create the right mindset.
The body speaks the mind. Mindset is so powerful that it can determine our reality. When the mind views stress as distress, our bodies simply follow that instruction to create distress through a chain of biochemistry responses which puts our vital organs in the survival mode instead of nourishing. To disrupt this negative response we can train our minds to see stress as a natural and necessary process and make peace with it instead of fighting it.
2. Understand stress is a choice.
The real cause of stress is you. This might not be pleasant to hear, but it’s one of the most powerful realisations that you can come to in life. Most of our modern-day stress is perceived and unreal. Budda says what you think you become. In other words, our mind creates stress and it then becomes our reality. The good news is that we can reverse this by understanding stress is a choice and we are in control. We might not have the control of what’s happening in the outer environment but we always have the choice on how to respond to it.
3. Know your limits.
Recognize and identify how much you can tolerate and take action before you “crack-up” or become ill. This may mean you have to say no to things or people and step away from toxic relationships.
4. Make other people feel good.
This may sound counter-intuitive but making other people feel good is the secret of making yourself happier. Because we are primarily emotional beings and positively affected by people who say and do things that make us feel important, valuable and good enough. Try saying no biggie when someone made a mistake. Try giving a genuine compliment to the people you interact with each day, it could be simply about the beautiful smile of the checkout staff at a supermarket.
5. Surround yourself with people who love life.
Life is not always full of roses. Those who are passionate about life tend to have a positive outlook and look out for your wellbeing instead of trying to destroy it. Since people are a big part of our life, it is crucial that you choose companies that bring positivity, good vibes and support, make you feel good enough, and can help you through tough situations.
6. Play, laugh and breathe like a child.
Playing, laughing, and diaphragm breathing are natural stress reliefs. While they are second nature for children, as adults we tend to forget how to play, have fun and even breathe. Weighed down by the pressures of work and life, we neglect to make time for ourselves. Whether it’s playing team games, a sport, a musical instrument, or just playing for laughs; practicing deep breathing techniques or just slowing your breathing down, by rediscovering your inner child, you can also discover the benefits they bring to your health and happiness. When was the last time you played and had so much fun that you completely lost track of time?
7. Focus on personal growth.
Personal growth is the constant process of improving yourself, including working toward optimal wellness. Wellness is not just about your physical health but your mental, emotional, and social wellbeing too. Personal growth is what allows you to reach new levels of happiness and wellness. Try reading a book on personal growth, participating in health forums/events, listening to wellness podcasts, or learning a new skill you are passionate about.
8. Moderate body movement.
About 30 minutes a day, moving your body moderately can lead to enormous benefits in terms of your mood, weight, and overall health. It doesn’t need to be athletic or difficult. Studies have shown that simply walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes or more on most days can lead to significant mood and health improvements.
9. Connect to nature and be grounded.
It is not a secret that spending time in nature is good for you. For years, researchers have been finding how people who live near green spaces have better physical and mental health. Grounding to earth with barefoot can produce nearly instant changes in a variety of physiological measures, helping improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension and lower stress.
10. Meditate daily.
Meditation has become one of the most popular ways to relieve stress among people from all walks of life. This ancient practice, either spiritual or not, can be 1) a quick-fix stress reliever to help reverse your body's stress response and relax physically; 2) a part of your daily routine and help you build resilience to stress, and 3) a technique you use to get centered when you're thrown off by emotional stress.
I remember nine years ago at my last job interview, “I thrive under stress” was my response to the interviewer's question “how do you cope with stress? ”. Stress never used to or should be a purely negative term. In fact, small doses of stress are essential for our survival. It’s not difficult to understand when you hear stories around the world about mums lifting cars to save their children. It’s a burst of energy that protects us from a sudden situation or danger. As the old saying goes, too much of a good thing can harm you, small amounts of bad things may actually protect and be good for you.
Numerous researches show that the right amount of short-lived stress can tune up the brain and improves performance and health, while too little stress can lead to boredom and depression, too much can cause anxiety and poor health.
In modern life, the stress we are experiencing is no longer short-lived and physical only. Its presence is emotional, psychological, ongoing and long-lasting; the ever ending to-do lists, constantly growing responsibilities, endless chasing of externally-dependent happiness, non spoken pressure from society and social platforms, relationship challenges. We are overloaded with these self-imposed stress that wreaks havoc on our health.
Check yourself out from head down. Do you suffer from any of the following:
Headaches, dizziness, insomnia, panic attacks
Difficulty in swallowing
Aching neck muscles
Susceptibility to infections
High blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders
Over-breathing, asthma, palpitations
Excessive sugar in the blood
Nervous indigestion, stomach ulcers
Nervous rashes and allergies
Mucous colitis, constipation, diarrhea
Sexual difficulties, hormonal imbalances, inability to conceive
If so, then you are probably suffering from stress at an unhealthy level.
I had been chronically stressed myself since I started planning a family years ago. My health had declined significantly as a result. It has taken me an enormous amount of learning and practice to manage my stress so it stays below the harmful threshold. Nowadays, my priority is to get a deep and regenerative sleep every night, because when we are adequately recharged, our view on stress tends to be more positive. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to sign up on my website at and receive the free deep sleep guide. Here are my other techniques to effectively counteract stress: