The Top Three Stress Relieving Strategies

I broke down in front of my wife a couple weeks ago. Like completely broke down. Mucus, mixed with tears, filled my face as I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. It didn’t help that my wife was playing one of those slow, sad love songs from the sixties. You know what I’m talking about. One of those songs that made your grandparents sway from side to side in the living room after a date at the local restaurant. I completely collapsed in my wife’s arms. I am so very grateful for her presence. Not only for times like these, but for reminding me who I am and how I’m responsible for fulfilling my purpose while I am here. But, more on that later.

I broke down because of stress. I had a very stressful, painful day at work and I was unable to take a mental break when needed. Traffic stressed me out since my 2-hour one way commute was extended due to multiple car accidents on the way home. When I got home, I learned that the leak in the kitchen started again. I had already spent $270 on a “fix” that I thought would have corrected this issue permanently. Money well spent, I guess. On top of that, I was unable to go to the gym because of how late it was. Also, I had just come back from a business trip the day before and my wife missed me so I knew I had to remain by her side. However, I was unable to release this pent-up rage I had building up over the past few months.

As you may have heard from our podcast episodes about our personal lives, I am working in the construction industry. And, well…it has been a disastrous couple of years for home building, construction and anything that industry touches. As you can imagine, I just had enough and I need to exhale. I needed to release this energy and I did it on my wife’s lap. While on my knees, I told her that “I am tired of being tired! I am tired of the fighting to do what I want to do in life! I am just so tired!” It was a difficult time for me, but Will C. and I had to record a podcast episode later that evening and thank God we did!

Ms. Marsha Woodland uttered the words “You Matter” during her story about being a domestic abuse survivor and advocate. This is what Will C. and I needed to hear. We then realized that our commitment to Achromous and what it represents to our community are valid. It showed us that the power of raw storytelling can encourage others to speak out or change their lives instantly. It showed me that we needed this weekly podcast just as much as our community did. Not only does it provide a platform for people to discuss how goal-setting has helped them, but it allows everyone involved to have a stress-relieving moment. Most of our episodes are emotionally-charged and that allows us to be vulnerable.

But, enough about us. Let’s focus on you. According to The American Institute of Stress, about 33% of people in this country reported feeling extreme stress this year? 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health and 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health. I am reading this for the first time as I report it to you in real time. That’s incredibly worrisome because of the effects stress has on a person and their family. Some of the most common effects include arguments, fighting amongst the adults and confusion amongst the children because they don’t know how to react. All in all, it is terrible to bring this energy into the home with those you love.

Don’t let stress kill your relationships. Don’t let stress kill your motivation. Don’t let stress kill you. It’s not enough to tell you how bad stress can affect your life. We need to provide you with tools, backed by evidence, to help you through your struggle. We will discuss the top three stress relieving strategies ever developed and how you can measure your changes on a short-term and long-term basis.


According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation for your mind. During mediation, you focus all of your energy and quiet your mind. This is a difficult task to achieve at first because we’re constantly being bombarded with thoughts, ideas and information. You don’t realize how many thoughts fly through your head until you’re purposely working on quieting them. Meditation can help you reduce those negative emotions while quieting your mind. It can also help to increase patience and tolerance and just increase your overall mood. Now that we know what meditation is and how it can benefit you, let’s talk about a great way for you to meditate.

The best way to meditate find a quiet place free from any distractions. That means you need to leave your phone and your baby in the other room. It is best to sit straight up in a chair or on the floor. Make sure you’re in a position that allows your breath to flow through you freely. Make sure to set a realistic time limit and adhere to it. Do not continue a second longer. Notice your body. Truly feel your own presence inside of you. Allow your soul to touch your skin from the inside of your body. Allow your mind to wonder. This is the tricky part because I tend to get caught up on a random thought about food, work or fitness sometimes. That’s ok. Acknowledge the thought, let it go and continue to focus inwardly. Close your meditation session with a short affirmation. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it!


People have always told me when you smell good, you feel good. As an avid gym goer, I can say this is true. I don’t drench myself in body spray before going to the gym. However, a couple pumps of my favorite cologne give me all the confidence I need to complete my workout. Aromatherapy is a method that is commonly to treat physical and mental problems from stress and anxiety. For example, lavender, in its oil form, has been clinically proven to reduce stress when used properly. This oil helps to calm the nervous system and lower blood pressure which allows the body to feel relaxed. That boost in calmness and relaxation makes all the difference after a stressful day. Now that you know how aromatherapy can relieve stress and allow you to maintain a peaceful state of being, check out this example below to implement your next experience with aromatherapy.

Essential oils are a great way to introduce yourself to aromatherapy. Personally, I have an aromatherapy diffuser that I use about twice a week. I like to use Wednesday evening and Sunday morning to refocus myself and either prepare for the second half of the week or to begin an entirely new one. I use a calming oil that has a warm coconut scent to allow me to tap into my soul and escape my own reality for 10 minutes. This technique has allowed me to deal with real world issues in a much more efficient way. Shit happens, right? It comes with living on this planet. We can’t control that. However, we can control how we react to issues that arise. The strategy of consistently combining aromatherapy with meditation provides a balance in my life I never had before. Now, I can make sound, rational decisions at work and at home without allowing my emotions to take control over the situation.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This has to be one of my favorite methods to practice! Although I do not practice this method frequently, there has not been another strategy that made me feel a sense of weightlessness. Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique where you focus on slowly tensing up your entire body. Once you’re done tensing up your body, you will slowly relax and begin to feel as though there is nothing in this world can hold you down. The fact that it is progressive allows you to feel one body part complete release prior to moving on. Typically, I like to begin with my toes and feet. Once I have tensed those up and then release that tension, I focus on “removing my feet and toes” from the rest of my body. Now that you know what progressive muscle relaxation is and why I used to practice with consistency, now we’ll teach you how you can walk through a session yourself!

The entire process will take about 15 minutes to complete. I like to lay down for this relaxation technique since the objective is to be…well…relaxed. Make sure you’re in a room without any distractions around you. When you’re finally settled, you can begin the process of increasing muscle tension on a specific part of your body. For the sake of this exercise, let’s begin with your fingers.

Take a slow, deep breath and tense up your fingers as hard as you can. Hold this position for 5 seconds and release the tension. Exhale as you perform this step. Repeat this exact pattern for the other muscle groups in your body. It is vital that you deliberately focus on the body part you are tensing and releasing. The whole point of the exercise is to focus on the relaxation process of a particular group. You’re only cheating yourself if you decide to cut corners.

These are the three most beneficial stress relieving strategies I have used. There are hundreds out there, but I’ve had the most success with three strategies. Make sure that you’re taking time out of the day to focus on your mind, body and spirit. We all have stressful days. Tomorrow may be the most stressful day you have had in your life. It is evitable. However, it is important to understand how to deal with stress immediately and repeatedly. Use these strategies to allow you to focus on yourself and live consistently with a much more stable mindset.

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