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31 Stress-Relief Activities to Reclaim Control When You Feel Overwhelmed

In our fast-paced, modern world, it's all too common to feel overwhelmed and stressed. The demands of life can sometimes make us feel as if we're spiraling out of control.

But it's crucial to remember that taking time for yourself is essential for your well-being.

Woman standing at edge of ocean with wave crashing on her feet.

Let's explore 31 activities that you can do when you're feeling stressed and out of control. These activities are designed to help you regain a sense of calm, control, and inner peace.

1. Deep Breathing

When stress takes over, start with the simplest and most effective technique: deep breathing. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can calm your nervous system, lower your anxiety levels, and regain control over your emotions.

2. Meditation

Meditation is a powerful practice that allows you to find a quiet space, clear your mind, and find inner peace. It helps you let go of the chaos around you and attain a sense of calm and focus.

3. Stretching

Gently stretching your body is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental well-being. Releasing tension and increasing flexibility through stretching can help you feel more relaxed and in control.

4. Mindful Walking

Take a leisurely walk and pay attention to the sensations around you. Mindful walking can help you escape the chaos in your mind and be fully present in the moment, leading to a sense of control.

5. Aromatherapy

Calming scents like lavender and chamomile have the power to relax your mind. Aromatherapy can be a simple yet effective way to alleviate stress and regain your composure.

6. Journaling

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be incredibly therapeutic. It allows you to process and release pent-up emotions, offering you a sense of clarity and control.

7. Listen to Nature Sounds

The sounds of nature have a unique ability to soothe the soul. By immersing yourself in these calming sounds, you can find a tranquil escape from your stressors.

8. Yoga

Yoga not only improves your physical well-being but also provides a space for mental relaxation. The combination of postures and mindful breathing can help you regain control over your body and mind.

9. Warm Bath

A warm bath with Epsom salts can do wonders for releasing muscle tension and stress. It's a simple, indulgent way to unwind and regain a sense of control.

10. Read a Book

Escaping into a good book allows you to shift your focus from the issues causing stress. Reading can be a form of mental refuge, providing you with a break from life's chaos.

11. Create Art

Expressing your emotions through painting, drawing, or crafting can be a therapeutic outlet. Art provides a channel to release stress and nurture your creative side.

12. Listen to Music

Music has the power to calm the mind and soothe the soul. Playing calming tunes can help you relax and regain a sense of control over your emotions.

13. Cuddle a Pet

Spending time with your furry friend can provide comfort like no other. The unconditional love and support of a pet can be a great source of solace in stressful times.

14. Practice Gratitude

Shifting your perspective is essential in regaining control. Writing down things you're grateful for can help you focus on the positive aspects of life, reducing stress.

15. Call a Friend

Connecting with someone you trust for a friendly chat can be incredibly therapeutic. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a friend can alleviate the emotional burden you may be carrying.

16. Forest Bathing

Spending time in a natural environment is a great way to reduce stress. The beauty of nature can help you regain control over your thoughts and emotions.

17. Cook a Comforting Meal

Preparing and savoring your favorite dish can be a therapeutic experience. Cooking not only provides a sense of control but also offers a comforting, soul-nourishing meal.

18. Laugh

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Watching a funny video or comedy show can instantly lighten your mood and reduce stress.

19. Practice Visualization

Visualization is a powerful technique that involves imagining a peaceful place or scenario. This practice can help calm your mind and lower anxiety levels, giving you a sense of control over your thoughts.

20. Take a Digital Detox

In today's digital age, it's easy to become overwhelmed by screens and information. Taking a break from your devices can help reduce stress and regain a sense of control over your time and attention.

21. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Tensing and releasing each muscle group in your body can be a fantastic way to release physical tension and, in turn, reduce overall stress.

22. Volunteer

Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It shifts your focus away from your personal stressors and allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

23. Watch the Sunset

Experiencing the beauty of a sunset can be a profound and awe-inspiring moment. It offers tranquility and a sense of perspective that can be incredibly calming.

24. Drink Herbal Tea

Enjoying a calming herbal tea, such as chamomile or mint, can be a simple yet effective way to relax and regain a sense of control over your emotions.

25. Plan a Mini Getaway

Even a day trip can break the routine and rejuvenate you. A change of scenery, no matter how brief, can provide relaxation and a renewed sense of control.

26. Practice Affirmations

Using positive statements can boost your self-esteem and confidence. Affirmations help you challenge negative thoughts and regain control over your self-belief.

27. Take a Nap

A short power nap can refresh your mind and body. It's a quick way to recharge and regain control over your energy and mood.

28. Stargazing

Gazing up at the night sky and contemplating the vastness of the universe can be a humbling experience. It can help you put your daily stressors into perspective and regain a sense of control.

29. Donate or Declutter

Clearing out and simplifying your space can be a therapeutic activity. It helps you create a sense of order and control in your surroundings.

30. Explore a New Hobby

Learning something new that excites you can be a fantastic distraction from stress. Engaging in a new hobby fosters personal growth and a sense of accomplishment.

31. Practice Self-Compassion

Finally, remember to be kind and forgiving to yourself, as you would to a friend. Practicing self-compassion can reduce self-criticism and self-induced stress, ultimately helping you regain a sense of control over your life.


In the midst of life's chaos, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. However, it's essential to prioritize self-care and take time for yourself. By incorporating these 31 activities into your routine, you can regain a sense of control and inner peace.

Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's a necessary step towards a healthier, happier you. So, the next time you feel stressed and out of control, refer to this checklist, pick an activity that resonates with you, and take a step towards reclaiming your calm and composure.

Your well-being deserves it!

If you’re ready to take what resonates from this list and IMPLEMENT, then I invite you to join BE PRESENT.

This comprehensive program goes even deeper than building out new habits, by guiding you to develop the mindset and self-care techniques essential for lasting personal improvement. Discover how to cultivate presence, manage stress, and achieve a sense of fulfillment that fuels true transformation and join today.

Be Well,



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