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What Causes Stress & 5 Ways to Overcome It: Stress Management 101

Stress Management 101: What Causes Stress & How to Calm it

Stress comes in many forms – it can be internal (personal stress) or external (stress from outside factors like family, friends, or colleagues that impacts your life). It’s a result of higher than appropriate demand on physical or mental energy.

What causes stress for me may be completely different than what causes stress for you! Stress can be caused by many different life changes and situations, including:

  • Divorce or separation

  • Injury or illness

  • Death of a loved one

  • Finances

  • Change in career or job loss

  • Moving

  • Children leaving home

  • Trouble with friends or colleagues

These and more life events cause anxiety and tension, which lead to stress and have a negative impact on your health. Stress, especially chronic, long-term stress, can cause everything from headaches to tense muscles in your leg.

In order to effectively manage stress, you need a toolkit of techniques and skills to keep from developing long term health issues as a side effect of chronic stress.

5 stress management techniques include:

Exercise/Physical Activity

Many studies have shown that exercise produces endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and aid in reducing stress levels. Here are 11 reasons why exercise is recommend for your mental health!

Deep Breathing

Taking a few moments to breathe deeply – especially if you are experiencing rapid breathing as a result of whatever is stressing you – helps to calm your body’s response to stress. Make sure you're breathing correctly first!


Take a few moments to sit quietly and focus on breathing.

Stress-Reducing Hobbies

Common stress-reducing activities can include knitting, gardening, sewing, or even coloring books can be great ways to decrease stress. Mandala coloring books are known to be the most effective.

Get Outside/Spend time with Nature

Take a walk or even look at calm pictures of nature. Research has shown that nature can reduce cortisol, blood pressure, and pulse rate.

Stress is inevitable – but luckily there are ways to reduce stress that involve as little effort as taking a moment to meditate or focus on your breathing. What’s important is not that stress impacts you, it’s that you don’t let it control you and are able to apply some of these techniques that can decrease stress levels and improve long-term health by taking control of your mind.

If you are suffering from anxiety-related stress, check out some more information on the blog about dealing with anxiety, or anxiety in someone you love:

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