6 Steps To Relieve Stress Using The STRESS Formula

How to manage and reduce stress to be happy

- | 49 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Health & Wellness

Poster showing the stop stress sign to relieve stress

Do you know that stress is killing you? It impacts both, your body and mind.

Stress affects your complete health and well-being. It hijacks your happiness and torments your life as well.

Stress is like an invisible demon that lurks around you, all the time! You need to get rid of this stress to lead an easy and happy life.

While some stress might be good for you to get things done and progress, excessive stress can cause damage and be devastating to your life.

It can lead to many lifestyle diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and even diabetes – the silent killer!

The only thing that can save you is the art of easing or letting go off stress, and the skill of managing stress to not let it cause harm to you.

You may even term stress management as one of the basic and essential skills required for you to survive in today’s world.

It’s all about “Survival of the fittest”, and learning the ways to relieve stress will definitely help you to be fit enough to survive in today’s world.

For more in-depth information on stress, its causes and effects, you should read an earlier post on Aha!NOW – What Stress Signs Do You Have?

That post tells you about the stress signs, which you should not ignore, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral.

Once you notice the signs of stress in your life, you should take proactive actions.

Relieve Stress Using The STRESS Reliever Formula

Coping with stress is the pre-requisite skill that every individual should learn. Here is an easy and mnemonic way to learn the steps to reliving stress and managing it for a better life.

My stress reliever formula to remember is STRESS. It stands for:

S – Stop and identify the source

T – Think positive and be realistic

R – Rest and use relaxation techniques

E – Exercise and entertain yourself

S – Sleep well and be in the sunlight

S – Share your worries and use the senses

There are so many tips and ways to relieve stress on the web, but I think this STRESS formula makes it easy to remember the basics of dealing with stress. Don’t you think so? 🙂

Let’s discuss each of these steps of the stress reliever formula.

Stress written with sad and happy men on its ends.

 STEP 1 Stop and identify the source

a) Stop – The first thing you need to do is take a break. It is important for you to get away from stressful situations or the stress triggers, if possible.

Taking a break would give you some respite, and an opportunity to assess yourself. It also gives you time to reanalyze the stressful situation from different perspectives.

While in a stressful situation, avoid an instant or quick reaction. You may not be always able to avoid stress, but you can change the way you react to it.

b) Identify the source What is the cause of your stress? Is it just a baseless and unreasonable anxiety or are there any accountable stress triggers?

If you know what is causing you stress, then you can either sort the stressor or yourself, or avoid the particular stressor, if possible and as applicable.

“When you’re dealing with stress, the problem may not be the stressful situation, as much as the effort to avoid that situation and the feelings it arouses.” ~ Ted A. Grossbart

STEP 2 Think positive and be realistic

a) Think Positive Under stress, it is possible that you might think of negative situations and outcomes.

You can counter them by making a habit to force yourself to think positive in such situations and gain self-control.

By thinking positive you may also trigger your brain to counter or reduce the production of stress hormones.

Being positive increases the chance of resolving stressful situations easily and quickly.

b) Be Realistic – When under stress, avoid jumping to conclusions or making unrealistic assumptions, and employ temperance.

Temperance is moderation or avoiding excesses.

Even under stress, try to be in control, balance your mind, and avoid getting too dull or wild. Remember, stress is temporary and it shall pass, if you manage it in the right way.

“Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think.” ~ William J. Clinton

STEP 3 Rest and use relaxation techniques

a) Rest – Stressful situations can be very upsetting, involve emotional and mental disturbances that can even take a toll on your body. This is the time that you should take rest.

The best way is to lie down or take a nap. You can even rest while sitting by practicing Transcendental meditation (TM).

TM is not a spiritual tool used for enlightenment by saints. It is a scientifically proven type of meditation that helps in reducing stress.

b) Use relaxation techniques – There are many relaxation therapies and techniques.

You can practice Yoga Nidra, use auto-suggestions, practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), or use any other relaxation technique.

You can even just practice any kind of meditation along with deep breathing exercises. Or just listen to music, take a walk, play with your pet, or do anything different from the usual to make you stress free.

You’ll feel relaxed and get temporary respite from stress.

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” ~ Lee Iacocca

STEP 4 Exercise and entertain yourself

a) Exercise – A frail body may host a freak mind. In other words, to have a sound mind, you need to have a healthy body. For that, you need to exercise and eat healthy.

Stress is often the test of your mental toughness. You need to be physically fit in order to think sensibly and find solutions for your stress causes.

b) Entertain yourself – Being in stress does not mean that you have to burn yourself out or be tensed all the time.

This is the time when you need to find ways to entertain yourself to save yourself from any mental or emotional damage.

Watch a movie, go out for a party, play games, get busy with your hobby, or do anything that the time and situation allows you to do to release the happy hormones in your body.

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~ Hans Selye

STEP 5 Sleep well and be in the sunlight

a) Sleep well – Give your body its due full hours of continued sleep, which helps it to heal and revitalize.

Especially in stressful conditions, your mind needs rest and the best way to do that is to sleep.

If you are in a sexual relationship, then sex too can be a stress buster. Sexual activity releases hormones that not only make you feel relaxed but even induces deep sleep.

b) Be in the sunlight – Besides sleep, even sunlight helps you have a healthy body and mind.

Sunlight is a major source of Vitamin D in your body, and its deficiency can make you prone to anxiety and stress.

Especially in the countries of cold climate, lack of sunlight can also cause depression, which is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So, make it a point to sit or spend some time in the sunlight.

“Getting stress out of your life takes more than prayer alone. You must take action to make changes and stop doing whatever is causing the stress. You can learn to calm down in the way you handle things.” ~ Joyce Meyer

STEP 6 Share your worries and use the senses

a) Share your worries – Venting out your feelings is a part of emotional therapy that can heal you in times of stress.

Share your worries with your friends, family members, or your counselor. Prayer too is a way of sharing worries and releasing tension, so your emotions don’t rot and become negative.

You can even use the social activities or the social media network to release stress.

However, do not go overboard and make yourself vulnerable or get confused with the opinions and suggestions that you receive.

b) Use the senses This is the easiest way to tackle your stress. You can use your senses to divert your attention and put your mind, away from the stressful situation, in creative and useful situations.

You can also use the senses to relax and help in practicing mindfulness. Read this Aha!NOW post on how to use the senses to indulge in favorable and relaxing sensory experiences.

Poster showing a stressed man and a quote about happiness being a choice

These were the basic ways to relieve stress that you can do on your own and get results.

Stress sometimes can be very overwhelming and it is important to not resort to any bad ways of relieving stress.

Such ways could include alcoholism, getting addicted to caffeine or drugs, binge eating, pornography, and others.

Coping with stress is an art that you can learn to make your life easy and be happy. Here is another Aha!NOW post to help you know more ways to cope with stress.

Stress is a part of our life, and we got to live with it. Remember, stress is also defined by your reactions to the stimuli or situations.

You always have a choice.

If you can nicely deal with the stress, you’ll have a stress-free life, because you’ll not let it impact your life in a negative way.

Equip yourself with the skill of stress management and fearlessly face the stress.

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” ~ Marilu Henner

Over To You –

Which is your favorite or most preferred way to relive stress? What more would you like to add to the STRESS reliever formula? Please share in the comments.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Show Comments

49 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. kaivalya shastri

    2018-07-04 at 4:47 pm

    STRESS formula! really reat article on stress managment. every step elaborated is easy to understand and apply to. thanks for sharing sir!

  2. Thabo Nkomo

    2016-07-07 at 8:26 am

    Hi Vinay,

    As someone who has studied leadership styles, I understand how successful leaders use humor to reduce stress in their organization. These leaders know how a smile and well-timed joke or playful laughter can stimulate creativity and open lines of communication.

    Funny enough, history is on their side. Consider this: smiles and laughter, scientists speculate, evolved as nonverbal way to cement alliances, signifying that an individual had no hostile intent.

    Jump to the present and what do we have? Leaders of “non toxic” organizations understand that laughter sends a reassuring message: We’re all in this together. It signals trust and a shared vision of the world. Think about it. Don’t you laugh easily and often when you’re among friends?

    Also, the laughter isn’t the result of some silly “canned joke” but often in response to a greeting, compliment, or everyday observations concerning life at home or the workplace.

    In sum, there are many ways to reduce stress. I myself enjoy listening to music. That said, laughter is still one of the best ways to reduce stress. So, go ahead and laugh more.

  3. Trisha Dey

    2015-11-02 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Vinay,

    I do believe very strongly that once you start thinking positive and start being realistic it relieves your stress. And you have very rightly said it and mentioned in your blog. I have implemented this at most of stages of my life and whenever I have started to be positive I just found al the burden and stress vanish in no time. I do exercise daily, which helps me a lot with my stress and plays a very important pasrt of my life. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  4. Judy H.

    2015-10-31 at 8:12 am

    NO ONE chooses stress and anxiety in their lives. NO ONE chooses to be miserable. NO ONE chooses their lives to be beyond their control. Why do you think someone would CHOOSE to be miserable? These “feel good” 6,8,10,12 step, deep breathing, visualing and meditating techniques work if one is having a “bad day” not a miserable life, so quit making them feel worse by telling them they CHOSE to be that way.

    • Baba

      2015-11-01 at 6:52 pm

      Accept it or not, your life is a result of the choices that your have made over a period. You unknowingly choose stress and make anxiety your trait. You become a victim of this negative habit and get addicted to your negative way of life. You have the choice to respond or not to a stressor, or respond in a positive manner. You always have the choice to not be miserable in life, or take yourself out of the misery. It all depends on your perspective and thought process. Wrong choices and habits can make your life go out of your control. Choose to adopt a positive life and way, and see the difference.

  5. Dinesh Verma

    2015-05-10 at 11:15 am

    Hey buddy,

    I like your way of defining STRESS. It was very creative! 🙂

    Indeed, everyone has experienced this, including me. When I am stressed, I usually work out and see scenery and enjoy it. I think maybe I was stressed because too often seeing computer screen..hehe

    Enough sleep and well are great way to relieve stress. And share stories with your closest friends or family also work well. It works like magic!

    Thanks for sharing, Vinay.
    Have a great day!

  6. Anand

    2015-04-24 at 5:00 pm

    Great post and useful suggestions, sir
    Taking rest is one of the keys to avoid stress.
    Also thinking positive will us to relieve stress.

    Thanks for the share, god bless godly people!!

  7. Yash Birajdar

    2015-04-23 at 4:38 pm

    Hello Vinay Sir.
    Thank You sir for providing a great technique to relieve stress. It is one of the best ways to overcome our stress. Even I do Transcendental Meditation(TM) and I must say it helps a lot. Plus other methods are also great way to overcome stress.
    Thank You again Sir for the great post!!!

  8. Frank

    2015-04-19 at 10:17 pm


    Thanks for the very helpful and useful post.

    To relax I find progressive muscle relaxation the most helpful technique and I have found it really useful to discover just how tense your muscles can be and not even be aware of it. I also tend to do it on a hard surface my body can adjust as it relaxes

    I find the danger of this technique us that I get so relaxed that I fall asleep!

  9. Anderson

    2015-04-13 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Vinay Kachhara,
    What a nice and amazing post indeed.
    What are great tips for reducing the physically or mentally stress.
    Really while we start to follow these six useful things then we can avoid from the stress and can spent a healthy life.
    Thanks for sharing….Please keep posting such article..

  10. Theresa

    2015-04-13 at 8:40 am

    Hi Vinay,

    You come up with the best acronyms and simplistic formulas to help us bring the zen back! What is your creative process?! Thank you for another fantastic article.

  11. Bibek

    2015-04-11 at 8:15 pm

    I like the way you go step by step forward in your article.
    I mean your articles starts very normally but slowly and slowly your article goes all together to a different level.
    Taking about this post I liked ‘Think positive and be realistic’,the most. As Its all about on us and on our way of thinking about view of life.
    Thanx for this post.
    Love it..!!

  12. KW Stout

    2015-04-09 at 6:22 am

    I’ve found exercise to be the best ongoing, long-term strategy. But for immediate relief from unexpected stress – deep breathing exercises have been the most effective. Especially when combined with meditation.

  13. Irish Carter

    2015-04-07 at 7:43 am

    Great tips here. I am a strong believer that meditation and thinking through what is the core of the stress is key to finding relief. Rest is also crucial. I think a lot of people may stress more and become anxious because they choose to get caught up in things they have no control over. Once they identify and let go of that type of stress, life is so much better.

    Have a great week.


  14. Sneha

    2015-04-04 at 5:23 pm

    If that fails, and it’s really bad; sometimes I just have to resign myself to wait until I get some distance from the situation so I can see the lesson or the positive takeaway.This post offers wonderful solutions and I am glad you have compressed all the ways so well. Thanks for sharing.

  15. zain

    2015-04-03 at 1:55 am

    Hi Vinay .what should someone do to sleep early with sleeplessness. When I feel stress I go out to meet friends and I share my problems .it helps me calm down .

  16. Vernon Layne

    2015-03-25 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Vinay,

    What an excellent post on stress management! I have learned that I can be stressed and not know it. So I learned to balance my life the best way I can by paying attention to how I spend my time and where.

    I like the think positive and realistic point. Because unrealistic expectations on yourself and others can cause stress to everyone.

    I take my six months old Rottweiler for walks in the morning and meditate while he runs around the dog park. It’s very relaxing.

    Thanks for adding the Transcendental meditation link and for another great post.

  17. Corina Ramos

    2015-03-24 at 4:04 am

    Hi Vinay,

    It’s a good thing I’m reading this post. There has been a lot of stress in my family life lately and it’s been causing anxiety attacks. I know I should have remembered to stop and take a breather but it was my mother who was sick and at one point we could have lost her. With that, I lost all control of my emotions.

    The one thing I have a hard time doing is talking about what’s going on. My mom would always tell me don’t go telling people about your troubles, keep it to yourself. Like when I just told you about my mom, it had second thoughts about typing that. I just keep hearing my mom’s voice :). But it is good to share and it explains why I have been quiet this past week. 🙂

    I’m a huge fan of Valerie Bertinelli. I love this quote you shared thanks! And thanks for a great, helpful post. I hope those struggling with stress will read this and implement these tips.

    Have a great new week.

  18. Nisha Pandey

    2015-03-24 at 12:04 am

    Hi Vinay Sir,

    An extremely relevant post. In today’s world when we all are dealing with some sort of stress, be it personal or professional; your post is just awesome.The most important point of dealing with stress is to identify the source of it.

    Most of the time we try to deal with stress without understanding the root cause. Whereas identifying the problem helps to eliminate the issue from the root.

    Thanks for the great share, as always compassionate and helpful. Have an awesome day ahead!

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6 Steps To Relieve Stress Using The STRESS Formula

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