How to Prevent Stress
6 Simple Ways
by Nancy Hearn

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Learning how to prevent stress is essential for overall health and wellness. As far as I am concerned, stress prevention is even more important than stress relief. However, both are important for stress management.

We hear a lot about ways to relieve stress, such as enjoying a hot bath after work, going for a walk, or drinking a calming herbal tea such as chamomile. 

What is not talked about much though is how to prevent the stress response in the body and how to avoid stressful situations that leave us upset, scatterbrained or tense. 

It makes sense that we should try to stay away from the things that cause us to be upset, but sometimes it is not that easy. Whether it is the difficult boss, spouse, child or situation, sometimes we just can’t wish a problem away. 

The following are 6 simple ways to prevent and/or avoid the everyday stressors.

1.  Keep Your Body Hydrated

Since water is involved in every single function of the body, becoming even slightly dehydrated is a major stressor.

A lack of water to your brain can cause problems with memory and focus, as well as headaches, depression, anger, fatigue, and a lack of sleep.

All of these symptoms can lead to further stress in the body and the mind, thus creating a vicious cycle which can lead to poor health and a diminished sense of well-being.

Staying hydrated means drinking at least ½ your body weight in ounces of clean mineral-rich water.

2.  Stand Up for Yourself

A large part of stress can come from not standing up for yourself. If you feel like some people are walking over you and using you at your workplace or in your home, you can quickly build stress.

Don’t be afraid to say "NO" once in a while.

If it is hard for you, try to say no at least once a day to small things and slowly work up your confidence to say no for bigger changes that need to happen.

You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you are more in control.

3.  Avoid People Who Get Under Your Skin

Sometimes a person can rub you the wrong way. This can be a co-worker, friend, girlfriend or even a spouse. 

Whenever you are around this person you either hold your tongue, causing you to bottle up negative emotions, or lose your temper and in the process lose your peaceful state of mind.

Instead of trying to force one of these stressful relationships to work and lose your happiness in the process, try limiting the amount of time you spend with that person or ending the relationship entirely.

If spending time with this person is unavoidable, focus your attention internally. Just pay attention to your thoughts, your feelings as you interact.  

Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings without judgment. When I do this exercise, I often say to myself "That's interesting" as if I am watching a movie.

Believe it or not, an exercise like this can depersonalize the experience somewhat and thus decrease the body's stress response.

4.  Cut Back on Multi-tasking

Instead of trying to cram everything into a short amount of time, try planning your schedule better and balance the load throughout the day or week.

Reducing the amount of stress many people experience when having to multi-task is all about being organized and conscious of priorities.

Thus, taking a little time each day to write down everything you want or need to do can get the stuff out of your head and onto paper, your smart phone, computer, or wherever you need it.

Then, the next step is to prioritize the tasks.  I just focus on 3 must-do tasks each day, depending on what I am working on.

By doing one thing at a time, you can focus much better and be mindful and alert instead of bouncing around and making careless mistakes while multitasking. 

5.  Control Your Own Environment

We all have a level of control over the environment that we encounter daily.

For example, if the evening news gets you worked up or upset, turn it off for a while and stay focused on things you can control. Or you can selectively read the news online.

If you get stressed out during rush hours of traffic, take a few minutes more to ride down a less busy but longer route. Do more shopping online if physical shopping is not enjoyable.

6. Avoid Hot Issues in Conversation

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. But as we all know, some people believe that their way is the only way.  In fact, this type of narrow-mindedness seems to be the root cause of many world issues in politics, religion, and wars.

Individually, we are either contributing to this mentality of rigid thinking or we are transcending it.

If someone tries to get you engaged in a conversation repeatedly to argue with you or make a point, politely walk away from the conversation topic or to change it to something less controversial.


As is often the case, when it comes to health and wellness, an ounce of prevention is worth the pound of cure. Learning how to prevent stress and avoid daily stressors is far more effective than trying to manage it.

Further reading . . .

Dehydration Causes Stress, and Stress Can Cause Dehydration

Return from How to Prevent Stress to Health Benefits of Drinking Water

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