How Can I Reduce Stress?


You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress. There are countless techniques for dealing with stress long-term that you should incorporate during your day-to-day habits, such as:

How Can I Reduce Stress?

However, sometimes in the heat of the moment, you can’t always excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk, and in these situations you need something more immediate and accessible.

One of the fastest ways to stamp out stress is to engage one of more of your senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, touch or through movement. (Since everyone is different, you might need to do some experimenting to discover which technique works best for you – but the payoff is huge).

Social interaction is your body’s most evolved strategy for regulating the nervous system. Although you can’t always rely on a pal to lean on in the middle of a stressful situation. Maintaining a network of close relationships, even virtually is vital for your mental health. Between sensory-based stress relief and good listeners, you’ll have your bases covered. 

How Can I Reduce Stress?

It might seem obvious that you’d know when you’re stressed, but many of us spend so much time in a constant frazzled state that we’ve forgotten what it feels like when our nervous system is balanced: when we’re calm, yet still alert and focused. 

If this is you, you can recognise when you’re stressed by listening to your body. Get into the habit of paying attention to your body’s clues: 

  1. Observe your muscles. Are your muscles tense and sore? (And not from an intense Online Session) Is your stomach tight, cramped or aching? Are your hands or jaw clenched?

  2. Observe your breath. Is your breathing shallow? Place one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully, or when you ‘forget’ to breathe.

How Can I Reduce Stress?

Internally we all respond the same way to the “fight-or-flight” stress response: your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases and your muscles tense.

Your body works hard and drains your immune system. 

Externally, however, people respond to stress in different ways. 

The best way to quickly relieve stress is often related to your specific stress response

Overexcited stress response: If you tend to become angry, agitated, overly emotional, or revved up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down. 

Underexcited stress response: If you tend to freeze, become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energising. 

How Can I Reduce Stress?

To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you (you may need to experiment with a few first). 

Explore a variety of sensory experiences so that no matter where you are, you’ll always have a tool to relieve stress

I’ve supplied some examples below, but this is just a starting point. Let your imagination run free and come up with some realistic things to try in the heat of the moment. When you find the right sensory technique, you’ll know it – and remember to base these techniques off your specific stress response (overexcited or underexcited).


Find beauty in life, look for it in the life that is already around you.

  • Look around and find five different things in your environment that you can see, and describe them in as much detail as you can, as if you were trying to explain them to a blind person.

  • Surround yourself with colours that lift your spirits

  • Close your eyes and picture a place that feels peaceful and rejuvenating.


Stopping to smell the roses may be a cliche, but taking a moment to pause and enjoy something good in your surroundings is the takeaway. 

  • Light a scented candle or burn some incense

  • Experiment with different essential oils

  • Enjoy clean, fresh air outdoors

  • Spray on your favourite perfume

  • Find smells that remind you of a happy time


Staying in touch with your world and the people around you helps maintain a sense of calm, and brings you back to the present.

  • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket

  • Hug a loved one

  • Cuddle your dog or cat

  • Hold a comforting object

  • Give yourself a hand or neck massage if you can’t enlist others to do it for you

  • Wear clothing that feels soft against your skin. 


Slowly savoring a favourite treat can be relaxing, but mindless eating will only add to your stress and your waistline. The key is to use your sense of taste to bring you back to the present. 

  • Chew a piece of sugarless gym

  • Sip a steaming cup of coffee or tea or a refreshing cold drink

  • Eat a perfectly ripe piece of fruit

  • Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack


Music can alter your state of mind, it can get you amped up or it can help you relax and fall asleep. 

  • Sing or play your favourite song

  • Listen to calming or uplifting music

  • Hang wind chimes near an open window

  • Simply pay attention to the sounds around you. What do you hear?


An especially great sense to tap into if you, like me, tend to shut down when you’re under stress. Get yourself moving: 

  • 20 Reps of High Knees, 20 Reps of Butt Kicks

  • 20 Reps of Press Ups

  • Stretch or roll your head in circles

  • Go for a walk

  • Dance around… why not?

It’s not easy to remember to use your senses during times of stress. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature, so give it a go.

If you’re interested in more tips and tricks for stress management, give me a shout!

Briony Rampling
Personal Trainer