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Quick De-Stressors!

stones in the water

Feeling stressed? Tense? Anxious? Even overwhelmed?
Wondering how to slow down and get control again?
Don't have time to take a vacation, or even a nap?
Can't even leave the room right now?


  1. Remember that feeling tense is a physical sensation you can learn to control. Sure, you have thoughts that are associated with feeling stressed and tense (maybe a test is coming?)-but they are only thoughts. You can learn to feel relaxed even when you have those thoughts.
  2. Close your eyes and picture a place you like where you feel happy and comfortable and relaxed. A warm beach…a cool forest…your favorite ski slope…what works for you?
  3. Breath from your abdomen, not your chest. Breathe slowly and evenly, and focus on your breath moving in and out. Yawn deeply to get oxygen into your system.
  4. Drop your jaw. Then drop your shoulders. Gently roll your head from side to side several times. Keep picturing yourself in that place of comfort and relaxation.
  5. Stand up and stretch if you can. Sit up and stretch if you can't. If any stretching is just too public, quietly tense-hold-release your muscles. Do that 3 times, holding for 10 seconds each time.
  6. Return to the present and calmly move through your activity. As you do, think about your toes, fingers, and tummy. Make sure they are not flexed and tight, but rather loose and light. It's hard to hold muscle tension when your toes, fingers, and tummy are relaxed.




Written by Joyce Woodford
Kansas State University Counseling Services, Manhattan, KS © 2001