Get plenty of sleep

Aim to get plenty of sleep each night, which can help you deal with stress. Most people need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Resist overcommitting

Rather than looking for ways to squeeze more activities into the day, find ways to pare them down. Remember, it's OK to say no to new requests or commitments. When you say no to a new commitment, you're honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you'll be able to devote high-quality time to them.

Be prepared

Anticipate challenges. Whether it's preparing for a project at work, planning a family gathering or handling a sick child, being prepared can help you face stressful situations with confidence. If necessary, set aside extra time to calm your frayed nerves. If you have many tasks that need to get completed, make a to-do list and determine which tasks are most important.

Banish negative thoughts

If you find yourself thinking, "This can't be done," snap back to attention. Think instead, "This will be tough. But we can make it work." Putting a positive spin on negative thoughts can help you work through stressful situations.

Keep laughing

Humor is a great way to relieve stress. Laughter releases endorphins — natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude. Studies suggest laughter may have many benefits that may include boosting the immune system, increasing circulation and easing pain.

Seek help

If new stressors are challenging your ability to cope or if once-helpful techniques have lost their effectiveness, you may need to look for reinforcements. Many books, websites and support groups are dedicated to helping people get through tough times. You also may find it helpful to talk to a counselor or mental health professional. Sometimes an outside perspective can make all the difference.

Remember, stress is a part of life — it's never going to disappear. But you have the tools to keep stress from taking over your life. Put them to good use.

April 21, 2016 See more In-depth