Seven Ways to Deal With Stress

By Shannon Loe

You know that feeling: you’re short-tempered or impatient with your partner or your child, your heart and mind are racing, you become easily annoyed, your jaw is constantly clenched, you suffer from insomnia. That panic is a constant. Stress is exhausting!

Dealing with disorganization, chaos, and life’s simple daily experiences can cause feelings of frustration, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. Chronic stress has even been found to trigger long-term changes in brain structure and function.

Here are seven easy ways to feel lighter, calmer, more relaxed, and more centered:

  1. Tap into that “inner smile.” Finding your inner smile changes your thought pattern. It’s hard not to feel better when you’re smiling. What’s even better is when that inner smile fills your insides and becomes an outer smile.
  2. Write it all down. Use a brain dump to clear out all of those to-dos. Grab a journal and write down everything you need to get finished, ideas floating in your head, and anything you’re afraid you’ll forget. Getting it onto paper is a fantastic way to gain clarity around what you need to complete and how you’ll get it done.
  3. Breathe. Take thirty seconds to focus on your breath. Close your eyes and feel your chest rise and fall as you take three deep breaths in and let them out slowly. Doing so helps slow your heartbeat, bring you into the present moment, and create a sense of calm. Bonus points if you let out an audible sigh as you exhale.
  4. Get outdoors. There’s something magical about dipping one’s toes in the grass and feeling the ground underfoot. Connecting with nature and the earth is incredibly grounding and settling.
  5. Listen to music and dance. Turn up your favorite song, sing the lyrics at the top of your lungs, and dance like no one is watching. Let off steam. Become breathless.
  6. Go for a walk. Get moving, even if it’s a short, five-minute walk. Stepping away from a stressful situation creates space between you and the stress, and helps to give perspective.
  7. Laugh. The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is highly regarded as a wonderful way to create those feel-good hormones and ease stress. Watch a clip of Robin Williams or Will Ferrell doing a standup comedy routine, laugh out loud, and feel the stress melt away.

Stress happens, even to the most conscious of us. But understanding how to respond to stress allows us to lead happier, more balanced lives.

Shannon Loe is an Atlanta-based professional organizer and the owner of Live With Less, LLC, a professional organizing business. She helps her clients to clear the clutter and create space for what matters to them. For more information, please visit her website at