Stress Less


by Nicole Bueno

Today, we seem to have more responsibilities and obligations than there are hours in a day.  This can lead to stress when our “to do” list is longer than time allows to get it all done.  Stress is often a part of people’s everyday lives.  It can be situational or chronic.  How we deal with stress depends not only on the situation, but also our own coping mechanisms. 

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Stress is a biochemical response to something that we find difficult to cope with and manage.  It can feel very overwhelming.  For some, stress manifests itself physically.  It presents itself in the form of a headache, or various body aches and pains.  For others, the effects are experienced mentally.  There can be increased difficulty maintaining focus and concentration, a decreased interest in socializing with others, a change in appetite and sleeping habits, or being more irritable.

There are various ways to cope with stress and the key is to find what ways work best for you. Implement them not just in times of stress, but also incorporate them into your daily routine as a preventative measure to stop stress before it starts, and increase your ability to cope with stress.

  • Incorporate physical activity in your life.  A daily walk at lunch time or a workout at the gym can be helpful in combating stress.  Physical activity releases endorphins which are chemicals released in your body and have been proven to help fight stress. 
  • Practice meditation or yoga.  It teaches your body and mind to slow down and find a place of calm.  Meditation can be as little as ten minutes a day but enough to help you feel refreshed and more relaxed.
  • Laugh.  Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones such as cortisol and increases the level of health enhancing hormones like endorphins and provides a physical and emotional release. 
  • Let go of the things you can’t control.  When we don’t feel in control it’s easy to focus on what is going wrong and it increases our stress level. By learning to focus on what we can control, we can experience less stress.

If your stress feels overwhelming, unmanageable, or is impairing your ability to function, consider seeking professional support from a mental health therapist or counselor.  You can call 211 or go to for information, referrals and resources on mental health providers in your area.

Nicole Bueno is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is a Mental Health Therapist and Peak Performance Sport Consultant. Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from San Jose State University and her Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from U.C. Berkeley. She is currently a Master’s Degree candidate of the Sport Psychology program at John F. Kennedy University. She has her own private practice in San Jose, California.  Nicole can be reached at or (408) 724-1009.