How to stop stressing: Seven tips to find balance and relax

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated April 29, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

According to the American Psychological Association, 34% of Americans report that stress makes them feel completely overwhelmed on most days. In many cases, stress affects you both mentally and physically, which can manifest in a number of ways. Learning how to stop stressing can be the key to improving your well-being and finding balance in your life.

Below, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of stress and seven tips to find balance and relax.

Signs of stress and anxiety in your life

High stress hormone levels and chronic stress can impact you on multiple levels, including your mental and physical health. To reduce stress, it may help to first understand how to recognize when it’s happening.

Signs of stress and anxiety can include:

  • Not getting enough sleep or sleeping excessively
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Exhaustion
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Aches and pains throughout your body
  • Muscle tension

If these symptoms are left unchecked, you may find that they lead to larger health concerns, such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

Understanding the natural stress response

Some of the physical responses that we have when we feel stress coming on are part of the fight-or-flight response. This can be an essential reaction to have if you are in a life-threatening situation, and it is a response that many credit with the survival of the human race throughout history. For example, if you come face-to-face with a wild animal, your fight-or-flight reaction could be what keeps you alive.

However, most of us are not coming face-to-face with wild animals that are trying to kill us regularly. Instead, we’re facing daily stresses such as financial burdens, overwhelming schedules, coworkers that try to take the credit for the work that we do, and notifications dinging on our phones regularly. These situations are not life-threatening. Instead of our fight-or-flight response kicking into gear and releasing stress hormones in order to save us, the stress can continue to build, causing us long-term physical and mental health challenges.

This is why it can be important to learn how to reduce stress and anxiety in our life.

Stress management and mental health tips for finding balance

Methods for relieving stress can vary from person to person, and what works for one individual may not be effective for you. However, there are some techniques that many people find to be beneficial. The following seven strategies may help you learn how to manage your stress and anxiety.

Learn how to identify what’s causing the stress

Many different things can be causing you stress in life. Some large life changes may be easy to identify as the cause of added stress. These could be things like becoming a new parent or going through financial trouble.

However, your stress may be coming from things outside of the situations that you’re in. It could be from a lack of knowing how to handle your emotions or difficulty with time management skills high stress levels. This may be done on your own, but could be easy through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy or other therapeutic approaches. you excessive stress.

Therapy can help you manage stress and find balance

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation and other relaxation techniques may help you reshape the way that you perceive things in your life. As you practice this form of meditation, you may learn how to be in the moment and perceive things that are happening without judging the emotional response that can lead to stress and anxiety.

Not only can meditation offer stress relief, it can allow you to think through situations in a new way and look for solutions that you may not have noticed if you were responding during the natural stress response. If you’re unfamiliar with mindfulness meditation, there are many apps that you can find that can guide you through the process of getting started. 

Learn to prioritize tasks and reduce stress

Sometimes part of finding balance in life may involve learning how to set priorities around your emotional well-being or the tasks that you need to accomplish. If you struggle with saying “no” when asked to do something, you may find that you’re taking on more tasks than you’re able to accomplish healthily.

It can be helpful to establish priorities for your life and decide on what things are the most important to you. These priorities may look different for each person. Once you create a list of priorities, you can start to use that list as you decide whether to take on new responsibilities. For example, if you’re asked to join an extra committee in your community that requires you to spend more time away from home, you can consider if that is going to meet your priorities or if it’s going to get in the way of another priority on your list. 

Break down goals

While setting goals can be important and helpful in life, it can also be a source of stress. If you find that you’re experiencing stress and anxiety because of your goals, it may help to start breaking them down into smaller, more achievable goals.

You can take time to look at the goals that you have in your life and then break them down into a list of all the small actions that you will need to do to accomplish that goal. Then, you can start to focus on each one of these actions instead of just focusing on your larger goal. This may not only help you to experience less stress, but also help you achieve those big goals.



According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are many ways that exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety. This doesn’t mean that you need to start an extensive exercise routine, but simply doing things like walking, running, and yoga can have a positive impact on lowering stress and anxiety in your life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when you participate in physical activity, your brain tends to release endorphins that can help boost your mood. It’s also been found that exercising during the day can help you get better rest at night. This may help reduce stress because some people experience anxiety when they have insomnia.

Practice deep breathing

When you start to feel stressed, your body often naturally responds with the fight-or-flight response. When you practice deep breathing, it may help reverse the natural response that takes place. For example, as stress builds, you may notice that your heart rate increases. This can cause you to take shorter and quicker breaths, raising your blood pressure and potentially leading to dizziness, headache, muscle tension, and more.

When you notice the symptoms happening, you can practice deep breathing techniques, which may help put a stop to those natural responses. By controlling your breathing, you may help lower your heart rate, which in turn may lower your blood pressure. This, in combination with other methods like muscle relaxation, could have a domino effect on the other symptoms that you experience with stress and anxiety. 

Learn to recognize your success

Some people experience stress because they feel like they’re not accomplishing the things that they want to in life. They may feel like they’re not good enough, which leads them to feel like they always need to add more to their mental load or constantly try to accomplish more. 

Learning how to recognize the success that you have daily may make a significant difference in building your confidence, which may help you avoid falling into the pattern of taking on too much. This may help you to relax and live a more balanced life.

Getting help for coping with stress

If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, you may benefit from taking the time to explore a path forward with a mental health professional. If you’re feeling too stressed to add traditional in-office therapy to your schedule, you might consider trying online therapy. Research has shown online therapy to be effective at treating a variety of conditions while delivering comparable results to those of traditional in-person therapy.

With online therapy at BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed counselor at a time that works for you. In addition to flexible communication options for therapy sessions, you can contact your therapist at any time through in-app messaging, and they’ll respond as soon as they can.

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Therapy can help you manage stress and find balance


Stress can negatively affect your physical and mental health in a number of ways, but there are strategies for finding balance, including goal setting, exercise, deep breathing, prioritization, and meditation. If you’re still having difficulty finding balance in your life and you find that stress is overwhelming, you you may benefit from speaking with a licensed therapist.

A therapist may be able to help you identify the stress triggers that are in your life and teach you coping strategies to overcome stress. Take the first step toward managing stress and finding balance and contact BetterHelp today.

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