Creating Your Top 10 Stress Reducers

By: Tanya Kramer

When we are actively stressed, we don’t have the luxury to stop and think about what we might do that will help us feel better. Since April is “Stress Awareness Month” (created in 1992), I encourage you to use the following list (see below) to either pull from or create ideas for yourself, so you can make your own “Top 10 Stress Reducers” visual.  

Once you have identified them, then write them down visually on paper, or a marker board, or create an art project with them listed on. 

Then place this visual somewhere you will see every day such as the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, next to your bed, or anywhere you know you will see it on a daily basis. 

Then when you have a difficult day, you can just look at it, or maybe you will notice this list which will remind you of specific things you can do to help reduce stress.

Create the list before you need it, and then when you need it, you won’t have to think about it. You can just engage in one or more of the items on your list and then notice if you feel differently afterward.

Be sure to include a number of items on your list that meet the following 4 criteria:  

  1. Can be performed anywhere
  2. Take very little practice to master
  3. Are free
  4. Provide immediate relief

Here is a list of options to pull from or to get ideas from for your own personal top 10 stress reducers. 

  • Go for a walk
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Read a book
  • Take a bath
  • Focus on your breath
  • Drink water
  • Make plans with a friend
  • Write poetry
  • Stretch
  • Soak your feet in warm water
  • Learn something new
  • Plan a trip
  • Cuddle with someone or a pet
  • Spend time in nature
  • Do something tactile with your hands
  • Massage lotion all over your skin
  • Be goofy like no one is watching
  • Eat dark chocolate
  • Remind yourself in most situations there are options