50 Tiny Changes You Should Make During Stress Awareness Month


April 17th, 2011

April is Stress Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to assess the stress in your life. If you find yourself full of anxiety, worry, and stress, it’s important for your physical and mental health to consider the ways you can make a change. Here, we’ve listed 50 small ways you can make a big difference in the stress that impacts your life.


These changes will help you reduce stress throughout your life.

  1. Ask for help: Know that you’re not alone, and seek help when you need it.
  2. Set boundaries: Prioritize tasks and learn how to say no to avoid being over-scheduled.
  3. Take care of yourself: Don’t forget to put yourself on your to-do list.
  4. Give yourself time-outs: Take the time to have fun, rune a few extra miles, or do something you enjoy to clear your head.
  5. Get daily pockets of peace: Keep stress levels from becoming toxic by giving yourself a little peace time every day.


Take the stress out of your relationships with these tiny changes.

  1. Avoid people who stress you out: If you are constantly stressed by someone, limit your time with them or end the relationship.
  2. Specifically define problems: Give your relationship problems a real name.
  3. Commit to staying calm: Even when your tempers flare, make a commitment to being calm and respectful in conversations.
  4. Say thanks: Be thankful for others and what you have in order to recognize your blessings.
  5. Just listen: It’s frustrating to feel that you’re not being heard-give your partner respect and a listening ear.

Problem Solving

Problems create stress in our lives, and although they are not avoidable, there are things you can do to cut down on their impact.

  1. Practice preventative maintenance: Think and act before problems happen so they’re solved before you even have to fix them.
  2. Identify the cause of stress: Even if you can’t fix a problem immediately or at all, giving the source of your stress a name can make it better.
  3. Be honest about temporary setbacks: Remind yourself when your troubles are only temporary-but be careful not to explain away chronic problems.
  4. Plan ahead: Don’t let preventable stress like traffic get the better of you-plan ahead to reduce the impact of stressful situations.
  5. Accept what you can’t change: Follow the Serenity Prayer and learn to accept the things you can’t change.
  6. Stay in perspective: Consider the true importance of the event or situation you’re stressed by.


Tackle your never-ending list with a fresh attitude by making these changes.

  1. End procrastination: Allowing tasks to pile up will stress you out-learn how to take care of stuff right away.
  2. Schedule dreaded tasks early: Instead of putting off dreaded items on your list and worrying about them, just get them out of the way early.
  3. Appreciate your achievements: Each time you achieve a goal, give yourself a pat on the back.


Make these changes to take an emotional load off.

  1. Laugh: Make time to laugh, and look at the humorous side of any situation to reduce stress and stress hormones.
  2. Give yourself a mental spa: Take your mind on a spa treatment with a stress CD or book on tape.
  3. Physically let go of stress: Cry or yell into a pillow to release anxiety and stress.
  4. Pay attention to negative thinking: Observe when you are thinking negatively, and commit to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
  5. Write a journal: Organize your thoughts and work through problems by writing them out on paper.
  6. Meditate: Spend time meditating on a regular basis to cut out some of your stress.


With these changes, you can avoid letting financial stress overtake your life.

  1. Talk about money: Sometimes just having a conversation about your finances can cut down on stress in a relationship.
  2. Listen to suggestions: If you’re fighting with your partner about money, make a point to pay attention to their ideas.
  3. Prioritize: Think about what’s most important in your life, and prioritize how you spend your money accordingly.


Improve your health to reduce stress by making these small changes in your life.

  1. Drink black tea: Healthful compounds in black tea can help you recover from stress more effectively.
  2. Eliminate caffeine: Although this may sound counterintuitive to some caffeine junkies, cutting out caffeine can help you stop experiencing nervousness, peaks, highs, and lows.
  3. Prioritize sleep: Forget staying up late to finish work-make sleeping a priority so you’ll be fresh and happy when you need your energy.
  4. Stretch: Stretch to reduce muscle tension, with activities like air punches and other simple exercises.


These small actions can have a big impact on your stress level.

  1. Talk to yourself: Try positive affirmations and intentions to keep yourself upbeat.
  2. Shrug your shoulders: Release tension and pain in your shoulders with a simple shoulder shrug.
  3. Spend time outside: Get out and enjoy nature at some point in your day.
  4. Be creative: Spend time nurturing creativity through a hobby like art or knitting.
  5. Sing: Even if you’re a terrible singer, spend a little time singing to pick up your spirits.


Make these changes to ensure that your home is a stress-free environment.

  1. Hire help: If you’re having trouble staying on top of cleaning, hire a helper to clean on a regular basis, even if it’s just once a month.
  2. Get rid of clutter: Clutter is a reminder of things you have to do-get rid of clutter to find more energy and happiness.
  3. Keep your home tidy: A clean home is a happy one, and open to visitors.
  4. Check the emotional climate of your home: Make sure your home is a place where your family can de-stress.
  5. Light a candle: Use aromatherapy candles to burn away negative energy.


Cut out stress at work by making these changes.

  1. Leave work at work: When you walk out the door, don’t think about work or take it home.
  2. Stop multitasking: Focus on one thing at a time to avoid feeling over-committed.
  3. Try to drop stressful tasks: Talk to your boss about assignments that are especially stressful.

Quick Pick-Me-Ups

When all else fails, take a moment to use these quick pick-me-ups for a better day.

  1. Get clean: Wash your cares away with a quick shower or bath, even if you’ve already bathed.
  2. Use aromatherapy: Sniff essential oils to quickly boost your mood.
  3. Call a friend: Talk to a friend and relate with each other about the stress in your lives.
  4. Call your mom: Check in with your mom or someone else that you love for a little bit of quick happiness.
  5. Primp: Spend an extra 5 minutes making yourself look good and feel better about yourself.

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