How to Deal With Stress Triggered by a Major Life Upheaval: 8 Tips That Actually Work!

stressedwomanAny change can cause stress, but there is a category of life changes that are guaranteed to result in stress, no matter how stress-free you previously believed yourself to be.

These are the major life upheavals and they come in a variety of forms, starting with diagnosis of a disease, ranging to a devastating divorce and debt, and ending with a death in the family or a devastating disaster.  Learning how to deal with stress triggered by these major life changes is crucial.

Any of these events, no matter how truncated or protracted can and will cause stress, and chronic stress that can disrupt a normal person’s life.

When that happens, it’s time to take action. Here are eight stress reduction tips that actually work.

  1. Meditation – Mediation isn’t the hokum that some people once believed. When practiced thoughtfully and regularly, it can train your body and mind to handle stress effectively. You don’t have to chant the mantras and light the incense, but you should spend some time just quietly clearing your mind and breathing.
  1. Eat right – What you eat has a serious effect on how you feel. Some foods can wind you up and just leave you feeling more stressed, while others can calm you down and help ease the pain and frustration of stress. Find out what to eat to help reduce stress here.
  1. Slow down – You, like most people, are probably trying to do too much, in too little time. Running around all day, every day gives you no time to contemplate whether or not you actually want or need to be doing all of these things. Do you need to be running this hard? Would things really fall apart if you slowed down?
  1. Exercise – There’s a reason all of those women in Jane Austen novels look so relaxed—they get to spend their days walking around the countryside, taking in the sights. Walking or any kind of exercise that elevates your heart rate and gives you a moment away from the rest of your daily tasks, will lower your stress levels. Walking is especially great for stress relief, but if you’re a runner, weight lifter, or cyclist, just get out and do it.
  1. Deep breathe – Did you know that you can control your stress response by practicing deep breathing? Taking three deep breaths when you feel angry or stressed helps to calm your body down, to process the stress hormone it has just released, instead of allowing you to act impulsively—which usually just generates more stress.
  1. Develop a stressfree hobby – Hobbies can be a great way to cut down on stress in your everyday life—as long as they don’t actually just pile on more stress. Gardening is an especially great way to fight stress and actually get something in return for the hours you put into growing those fruits and vegetables. Being in nature naturally reduces stress and plants generate fresh oxygen, which can lift your mood and give you more energy. Plus, gardening is often a solitary purist, which gives you time to process thoughts, feelings, and actions without being bombarded by someone else’s needs and desires. Learn more about the benefits of gardening here.
  1. Listen to Your Body – Many women do not register their stress until they are too overwhelmed to handle it in a healthy way. Instead of letting this be the case, learn to listen to your body and deal with stress as it arrives. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. For more information about decreasing chronic stress, get a free report here.  Learn more about how to reduce divorce stress here.
  1. Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy is another one of the disciplines that many people thought was nonsense that turns out to be based in science. Not only are there smells that naturally decrease a person’s stress response, the soft light and atmosphere that accompany a lit candle can seriously fight stress. Scents can affect the emotions and even trigger the release of calming hormones like serotonin. But aromatherapy does not just have to be about scents that are proven to reduce stress, but also about lighting a candle that you love the scent of and taking a moment for yourself. Learn more about the healing power of aromatherapy here.

Now it’s YOUR turn to share tips.  Tell us what triggers your stress and which strategies and techniques you use for stress management, what works, and what doesn’t.  We would love to hear from you.  Use the comment box below to share your tips.

About Darlene

Darlene is passionate and enthusiastic about helping women simplify their lives, develop stress resilience, regain balance, and find happiness, despite the personal storms life throws at them. She has published a popular series of stress management books which focus on simple, practical and healthy stress relief strategies, as well as provide FREE resources and services that help women become more stress-resilient.


  1. I’ve been trying to do meditation for years. I just don’t think it is for me. My mind wanders. I feel bored. I get a cramp. It seems to add to my stress rather than taking it away because I feel like a failure every time I try. Do you know of a short form of meditation? I think I might be better at it if I tried 5 minutes or so more than once a day rather than longer stretches. Maybe I could work up. Just not sure where to start.

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