Hiding uncomfortable feelings from ourselves or others perpetuates them.

Find a way to be yourself – don’t waste energy putting up a front. At moments of crisis or exhaustion pretence breaks down and overwhelming feelings take over. Sometimes in dramatic and unexpected ways.

whatever works
Notice when you feel good. Listening to music, walking among trees, chatting or whatever. Here are suggestions that people have found useful to reduce stress or get through a crisis.

What situations, memories, people, plac­es, anniversaries, sensations or times of day trigger a stress reaction? Being aware of the triggers and the first signs of stress avoids stressing over and over again. How we respond to each moment determines the next moment.

Being aware of stress is often enough to begin unwinding. What is the tiniest detectable feeling of stress or tension? Perhaps on hearing something, walking into a room, looking for something, opening a letter or performing a movement.

Where is this feeling? Tension is hard-wired to be felt in the face, stomach and across the back of shoulders and back of the neck (hackles rising). The way we walk, stand or sit changes as we tense up. Our voice changes.

What does it feel like? Where does it spread.

What is the feeling on awakening? If we still feel stressed after plenty of sleep then something must be unresolved.

clear work and living space
Reduce negative influences. Transcend family tensions. Look for friends and workmates with compatible values and expectations.

Home and work-space layout not only channel movement but also shape habits of thinking. Obstructed pathways and lines of sight, unstable furniture and inefficient access to tools and utensils not only make movement more difficult but can also perpetuate confusion or restrict thinking.

Reducing toxic pollutants helps. For example an efficient vacuum cleaner or air cleaner removes fine particles and microorganisms that otherwise get breathed in. Indoor plants improve the atmosphere. Keeping clear of strong sources of electromagnetic radiation reduces risk of illness and feels better.

Air pressure reduces in closed houses with open chimneys and builds up in closed cars traveling with intake vents open.

Colour corrected lighting is closer to the sun’s illumination we evolved to live in. Seeing is less strained. The body more relaxed.

Let go of unnecessary tasks. High expectations of ourselves and others can be stressful. Avoid over work. Prioritise and delegate. Learn to say no. And to say yes to positive opportunities.

positive thinking
While one person finds traffic hold-ups aggravating and worries about being late someone else might find them relaxing and accept the uncertainties with cheerful resignation.

Positive thoughts may help endure a crisis and emerge in good shape until a resolution is found.

  • Consider alternative responses and then try them out.

  • Focus on achieving aims rather than on fears and obstacles.

  • Promote positive internal chatter.

  • Maintain self-esteem

Find ways to feel faintly amused or interested in events that otherwise might be stressful

Think about or do something that you are good at and enjoy at moments of stress or worry to head off a self-perpetuating downward spiral of anxiety and self doubt.

living in the present
When we stress we live in unpleasant memories of the past and fears of the future. Physical activity and sensations bring us into the present.

Love defeats stress. Feelings like compassion, gratitude, adoration or loving someone turns of stress mechanisms.

Humour releases taboo topics into consciousness letting us to examine repressed ideas instead of holding them in.

Laughter mobilises the body and activates the pleasure systems. A natural stress release.

Think of a stressful situation or perhaps an unresolved conflict. Is there a way of feeling faintly amused by this. Perhaps the absurdity of it. Or the feeling of powerlessness.

Yawning triggers the resting relaxed state. With practice just imagining yawning is enough to start yawning.

Smell is the most primitive sense experienced directly in lower areas of the brain below the cerebral cortex where final deliberations occur and activities are prioritised. Perfumes can by pass thought to directly trigger emotions that turn off stress.

tune out the chatter
Urban noise like traffic and advertising signs can be stressful and consume energy and attention reducing capacity to evaluate the surroundings and respond to stressors.

A trip to a park opens up the senses to a wider range of smells, sights and sounds.

Plants, trees, birds, animals and micro-organisms in nature are complex, stimulating, refreshing and relaxing to see, smell and touch. We tend to wither away without the complex stimulation in nature that is missing in most urban places.

The higher pitched sounds of birds and wind in the trees stimulate the brain and activate pleasure centres.

Winds carrying positively charged air ions from hot dry treeless environments are enervating and depressing. These winds bring depression and suicide. They are given special names in many countries.

Running water and the sea generate refreshing negative air ions. Negative air ion generators create them artificially but they are oxidising so may need to be used carefully.

mobilising exercise

Some animals shake themselves to reset their emotional systems after escaping a life threatening or stressful experience. Then they may groom themselves before resuming life where they left off. We can shake off our troubles as well.

Vigorous exercise puts an aroused stressed state to work and allows it to run its course.

Get moving and exercising and breathing first thing in the morning on waking with a movement and breathing exercise or perhaps a walk or swim.

write it down
When thoughts about unresolved problems race around and repeat themselves over and over write them down and set a time to came back to them later. Next day after good sleep perhaps.

We don't have to relive events and rehearse ideas if they are written down outside of ourselves and a plan to deal with them is underway. We can return to them when we are calm enough to access decision making parts of the brain and consider them from a broader perspective having seen the writing with our eyes so that another sense is in play together with its own connections with the brain.

In a similar way we can say a problem out loud and listen to it.


Balance play, sleep and work. A holiday, a day away or a change of scenery away from from routines may be enough to put life into perspective and re-orientate. Successful managers commit to their work but also to other things. Take time out for diversion leisure.

  • relaxation or breathing exercise

  • meditate

  • walk alone or in a walking group with friends.

  • ring a friend or relative

  • drink of water

  • warm bath

  • activity or hobby - learn an absorbing new skill

  • inspiring books

  • colours, perfumes, music


  • set aside time for dealing with difficulties – come back to them later.

  • Find realistic, exciting and satisfying goals. What do I really want?

  • List the big and small things that would start this off.

  • Act immediately

  • Commit totally and publicly.

  • Recruit others to help

  • Plan plenty of time without rushing.

  • One step at a time – one day at a time.

  • What thoughts, beliefs, reasons, rationalisations are holding me back?

  • Persist regardless of setbacks and losses. prioritise
    Work out the order of importance of things to do and give priority to things at the top of the list. Maybe some things aren't really important and don't have to be done yet or ever.

The awareness therapy pages describe a safe space to regain confidence and build a new life using one’s own skill and knowledge.

relaxation exercises
It is almost impossible to remain stressed, anxious or depressed if the body is flexible and aware.

Dance, stretch, sport, callisthenics, or movement exercises release tense muscles and bring us out of preoccupations with the past and future into the reality of the physical body and the present where we can put our hopes and fears into perspective and not be overwhelmed by them.

The exercises on the side-menu and the body and mind pages show ways to de-stress. Aim for steady progress rather than immediate perfection. Stressful situations become gradually easier and easier to manage.