Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. Some days, we may feel it through tension in our muscles,  other days in the racing thoughts that persist in our minds. Regardless of how we experience it,  we can all agree that it is not how we want to feel all of the time. Over time, I have come to find new ways to release the stress, and today, I want to share them with you!


When is the last time that you truly felt calm? Can you remember what you were doing? Where you were? Close your eyes and take yourself there. Are you in the mountains? Listen for the birds chirping and the crunch of leaves under your hiking boots. Imagine the smell of pine needles filling your nostrils. Sit here for a moment, relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw. Is there music that you listened to when you were there? Play that music again, let it remind you of how you felt when you were calm. Use this technique whenever you need. It is a short exercise that can be completed at your desk at work, or in bed after a long day.


Yes, self-compassion is a form of stress relief. We are our own worst critics, giving ourselves expectations that we might never reach. That definitely adds to stress throughout our daily lives, knowing we might never live up to those expectations. So, how can we change that? Write a  letter to yourself, detailing all of the things you are already proud of. Create a daily mantra for yourself and say it every day in the mirror. Self-compassion requires repetition. Just like we repeatedly tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, we need to start telling ourselves just how much we have already accomplished. Practice self-compassion every day and be proud of how far you’ve already come!

Goal Setting: 

Though it seems contradictory to the last statement, setting goals helps us reduce our stress.  Setting attainable goals is different than creating unattainable expectations. When we set goals for ourselves, it gives us a plan to stick to. Is it specific and attainable? Can we measure our progress as we try to reach the goal? Write these goals down and refer to them often. I often find that setting goals for myself allows me to really think about what my priorities are; thus, giving me a chance to recognize what I can do differently in my life. Is something not enjoyable adding to my stress throughout the day? Can I take it off my plate and fill that time with something that lines up better with my values? Reflect on your values and what you want to prioritize and make a list of goals that you want to set for yourself.

Stress can come in a lot of forms, but these three exercises can help reduce the presence of stress.  How will you incorporate these into your daily living?