Session 9:
Why and How to Manage Stress

Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

We’ve talked about how to make your life less stressful. But, because there’s no surefire way to prevent stress it’s important to know how to cope. Put down the cookies! Instead, try these healthy ways to cope with stress.

  • Count to 20 in your head. This can give your brain a needed break.
  • Soothe yourself. Get a massage, take a hot bath, have a cup of herbal tea, or put on some calming music.
  • Give yourself a pep talk. Say something calming, like: “There’s no rush. I can take my time.”
  • Try some ways to relax.
  • Stretch. Do yoga or other stretching exercises
  • Take a breather. If you can, take a break from whatever is making you feel stressed.
  • Talk about your feelings. Tell a friend or counselor how you feel.
  • Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine can make you feel jumpy and anxious.
  • Get moving! Do something active — even if it’s just a walk around the block.
  • Do something fun. Go out dancing, go shopping, call a friend. Do whatever you enjoy — as long as it’s healthy.
  • Think clearly. Things may not be as bad as they seem to be.
Let’s practice relaxing

There are many ways to relax. You can meditate. Focus on something simple that you find calming. It could be an image or a sound. Don’t worry if other thoughts get in the way. Just go back to your image or sound.

Imagine. Imagine a scene that makes you feel peaceful. Try to picture yourself there. Breathe deeply.

Relax your stomach muscles. Place one hand just below your ribs. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Feel your hand go up. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth. Make sure to breathe out all the way. Feel your hand go down.

It may take time to see results. Try to practice for at least 10 minutes a day. Listen to calming music, like we did, if you wish. At first, it may be easier to relax if you lie down in a dark, quiet room. But in time, you’ll be able to relax anytime, anywhere

Plan for success

Now that we’ve spent some time talking about ways to reduce and cope with stress, let’s spend the next few minutes making a new action plan. Remember, setting goals is actually one way to reduce stress. You can set a goal with your coach in the Brook app. As you make your plan, remember to keep it: Realistic, Doable, Specific, and Flexible. Keep in mind what we discussed today about how to manage stress, and what you can do to make your life less stressful.

This week, I encourage you to practice saying “no.” Pick something each day that you don’t want or need to do, but would normally say “yes” to. Instead of saying “yes,” say “no”!

And like every week, please be sure to weigh yourself at least once; log your food and drinks to stay aware of your calorie intake; get some physical activity – ideally a little every day working up to the goal of 150 minutes per week.

A picture of Health Coach Emily smiling for the camera
Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN​

on July 21, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.