Feeling Unraveled?: Coping with stress

POSTED BY Bonnie Knox
On January 25, 2021

Feeling Unraveled?

Following are some  quick stress-relief strategies that, once mastered, should enable you to destress in under 5 minutes. Try them to see how these healthy habits can make a difference for you!

stress zebra

Breathing Exercises

For good reason, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the most popular ways to calm down quickly. Breathing exercises can be done by anyone, at any time, with little training, and at no expense!

Breathing exercises can also be combined with other techniques, such as guided imagery or meditation, for added benefits.

PMR -Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, is a technique that, with practice, enables you to completely relax all of your muscles quickly, releasing tension.


Meditation/mindfulness is gaining status as a stress-management mainstay because it brings so many wonderful benefits, including (after consistent practice) resilience against future stressors. It is simple to learn, and even 5 minutes of meditation can make a difference.


For ease of use, aromatherapy is about as easy as they come! Studies show that certain types of aromatherapy can be effective for stress relief, and once you have it going, you don’t have to do anything except go about your regular activities.

Quick Burst of Exercise

Exercise is an excellent stress relief technique because it’s great for your whole body and brings physical benefits beyond a reversed stress response. Exercise can provide distraction, endorphins, and an outlet for frustration. Even a quick burst of exercise (like a quick run up several flights of stairs, or several sets of push-ups) can be effective.

Have a Good Laugh

A sense of humor can relieve stress in several ways. First, there are physical benefits from laughter that can help you relieve stress and even stay healthier. Also, laughter connects people, and social support is good for stress relief. More, it’s hard to stay stressed when you’re laughing. And maintaining a sense of humor reminds us that our stressors may not be as menacing as they seem, and probably have solutions, too!

And More

Additional stress management techniques to experiment with include journaling, cognitive reframing and positive thinking, simplifying your life, playing with pets, baking, having sex and daydreaming!

-Bonnie Knox, LCPC, CADC

This article was originally published in the Summit Clinical Services newsletter, At the Summit Issue 12 | Spring 2012. To view additional newsletters, click here.

About The Author

Bonnie Knox
Bonnie Knox, LCPC, CADC, enjoys working with adolescents, adults and families in the treatment of anxiety, depression and co-occuring substance use disorders. She is also trained and experienced in EMDR therapy, dealing with PTSD and grief/loss issues.

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