• TOVI's Science Communicator, Ashley Miller-Dykeman, M.A.

How to Manage Extreme Stress


Woman working from home who is extremely stressed
Photo: nensuria/iStock

Is your stress at a level 10 out of 10? In this article, we’ll walk you through three steps for managing it.


Everyone deals with stress, but sometimes stress can rise to new levels. When you’re really stressed, your body and mind are in a state of alarm (experts call this a stress response). In addition to physical symptoms like an elevated heart rate, it can make you feel:

  • Anxious or on-edge

  • Overwhelmed and out of control

  • Like it is hard to think clearly

So how do you handle feeling that way?


Step 1: Get those alarm bells to quiet down.


Think about releasing tension in your shoulders and neck, take a personal time out, or disconnect from technology for a few minutes.


These aren’t cures for your stress, but they’ll help you bring your stress level down so you can think a little more clearly and focus.


When your stress is at a level 10, just getting it down to a level 8 is a big step on its own.


Step 2: Make a plan for handling your stress.


After taking steps to reduce stress, you can prepare for upcoming stress that may come your way. Start with taking stock of your day and asking:

  • What’s causing me stress?

  • Can I remove the thing that’s causing me stress?

  • If I can’t remove it, is there something I can do to give me space from that stress?

  • Is there anything else that can be removed from my day to lighten my load?


TOVI Tip: When it comes to putting space between yourself and your sources of stress, it helps to focus on the stuff you enjoy or that gives you peace. Meditation, taking walks, stretching, or watching something lighthearted are great places to start.


Step 3: Take the time to recharge your batteries.


Once you’ve got your stress down and a game plan for managing it down the road, focus on putting your plan into action. You don’t have to be perfect right from the start. Just taking time for you is a big step towards managing your stress!


When your stress gets extreme, it can feel like it’s running your life. With these steps, you bring it down and start to take back control.


Learn more about stress and put an action plan in place with the TOVI app.

Reviewed by: Lorena Ruci, PhD, Registered Psychotherapist



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