Article: Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D.

The Small Business Library

June 20, 2000

Six Tips for Fast and Easy Stress Management

Stress Tip 1: Pay attention to your own thoughts.
    Ever heard the saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" It's a lie. Words hurt (they stress you out). That goes for words you think to yourself as well. "The power of positive thinking" may be a cliché these days, but it's still true. Think positive thoughts and you feel less stressed and get more done. It's the most powerful stress management you can do.

Stress Tip 2: Choose a couple of things you really want to get done, and get them done early in the day.

    You will feel a sense of accomplishment about using your time wisely. That leads to less stress. You can then choose another couple of things to do if you have time. The trick is to not overload the day with things to do, but still get stuff done.

Stress Tip 3: Look at your day as 24-hours instead of 8 or 12 or whatever.

    24-hours is all that you've got. So if you "add" something to your day you will have to "subtract" something else from your day for good stress management. In the U.S. we tend to add without subtracting. That leads to a lot of stress.

Stress Tip 4: Be assertive with people about your time.

    While time is our most precious resource, most of us tend to give it away too easily and that's poor stress management. When someone asks you for time, think about what you will have to "subtract" from your current schedule. That will help you say "No" when you need to. "No" can be a great stress management tool.

Stress Tip 5: Have a dream and goals to reach that dream.

    Sounds like another cliché, but stress management is a lot easier when you have a dream and know what you want to do to get there. (This does not mean go overboard and spend every waking moment on obtaining the dream.) In the long run you will have less stress if you have a dream. It's sort of automatic stress management.

Stress Tip 6: Limit the number of shocking things you watch on television.

    I know that's tough in our TV centered world, but shocking pictures stress you a lot more than you think. The images go straight from you eyes to your feelings. If you feel yourself getting stressed by the television, consider listening to the radio. Radio allows you think about the information and form images you can deal with.
Stress management has a lot to do with controlling what you see and hear, so choose wisely.

Article by Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D.
FREE course in Creative Problem Solving at or send any email message to - Dr. Polk is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in stress reduction