Clear blue sky is reflected in the deeper blue still water of Lake Helen McKenzie,in Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island BC Canada at dusk. A backlit rolling black treeline is silhouetted in the upper half of the image, with the blue of the sky above and the deeper blue hue of the lake below. - Photo by David Innes
Coaching Personal Development Relationships Stress Uncategorized Work-Life Balance

10 surprising ways you can reduce your stress right now

May 1-7 is Mental Health Week in Canada and all of May is Mental Health Month in the US so I thought I’d focus this week’s post on stress reduction. I can’t think of anything more crucial to the good life than our mental health – it influences our perspective on everything. Here are ten stress management tips to help you reduce your stress, connect with what’s important and feel happier.

1. Do something that makes you laugh – laughter is so good for our immune system and our mental health overall. Talk to someone who makes you laugh, watch a funny TV show or YouTube video, or go see a Comedy show.  Find some way to get a little bit of laughter in your life this week and see how much better you feel.

2. Tell a friend one thing that you appreciate about them. It will make you feel good, it will make them feel great, and everyone will feel a lot happier.

3. Do something nice for someone else – ideally something that they have no idea that you have done for them. Pay it forward at a coffee shop, send a friend flowers anonymously, leave someone a note telling them how much you value them. Find one little thing that you can do to make another person’s day. Trust me, it will make you smile all day long.

4. Get outside. In my rain drenched part of the world, the sun has finally burst through. Go for a quick walk wherever you are – even ten minutes outside can totally change your perspective. If you can get to a park, go enjoy the trees and the birds but if not, just go for a quick walk around the block to take in some fresh air. 

5. Make a list of things that you appreciate about yourself. I know this seems cheesy but it helps you see yourself as others see you. When my son was starting kindergarten, we made an ‘everything I’m good at’ book to prepare him for going into a situation in which he may not feel good at some things. I think it’s an excellent idea for grown-ups too :-).

6. Drink more water. Get more sleep. Trust me on this.

7. Validate your feelings. Don’t deny them. Let yourself feel what you feel and let that be okay. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to rage, hit a pillow. If you need to laugh hysterically until you cry, go for it. Our feelings don’t cause us pain, not expressing them does. Allow yourself to express your feelings and you will feel better. I promise :).

8. Find a little kid to hang out with for a few hours. If it’s your own little kid, pretend you are babysitting and just delight in their quirky ways and how they make you laugh and how they engage with the world.

9. Find and share a mental health resource. Don’t just share it with the people you think might need it. We could all use some stress management tools. You never know who might need support. It could be a crisis line number, a blog post, or a website with good resources – like: The more people who are sharing resources, the more we all benefit and everyone feels supported.

10. Download my e-book ‘9 strategies for dealing with stress’. It’s only 30 pages long so it’s a quick read. It’s an Amazon #1 best-seller and I’m giving it away free from May 1-5 for mental health week. If you are in Canada, this is the link:

If you are in the US, this is the link:

Please share this post with friends as we could all benefit from stress reduction tools.

Share your ideas stress management tips and tools in the comments and we can learn from one another! Happy mental health week.

10 Comment

  1. Great article! Especially #4. Getting out in nature. It amazes me how much I can notice in just a few square feet by sitting outside for a few minutes. Seeing the different kinds of different plant, animal, and fungal life revealing itself one by one let’s me know how big and alive the planet is. And we’re apart of all that life. It’s a good thing to remember 🙂

    1. Hi Donnie, you are so right – having the perspective that we are a part of it all is so valuable!

  2. I deal with mental illness in more ways than one. My self care is top priority. Thank you fot being a voice and pitting together a list ♡

    1. Theresa, thanks so much for sharing. It’s so important to take care of ourselves – I have many good friends and family members who live with mental illness and they have taught me so much about self care. I”m glad you found the list and the post valuable!

  3. I was doing pretty well on the list until I arrived at number 5. Then things took a downturn. I see I have lots of room for improvement!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Terry, keep working on number 5 – it’s a tough one but so valuable! If you’re really struggling with it, you can always ask friends – it’s amazing what you’ll learn about yourself! Thanks for the comment :).

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback and comment Jon! I really appreciate it. I’m glad you found the suggestions helpful.

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