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Psychology teacher’s list of 101 ways to cope with stress goes viral

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Stress can affect anyone, at any time – and, while a little bit can help push you to do something new or difficult, a lot of stress can take its toll on your health.

And that’s why psychology teacher Brett Phillips has devised a list of coping mechanisms for his students, which he hands out to them during one of their first classes of the year.

Alina Ramirez, one of his pupils at the high school in California, decided to share the list online – and even highlighted some of her favourite tips.


Read more: 5 expert stress-busting tips


She wrote: “My psychology teacher gave us this paper on how to cope with stress and I thought I'd share it.”

Her post has since been retweeted almost 25,000 times, and liked 29,000 times.

And it’s generated thousands of grateful comments from social media users.

“I really needed this,” wrote one. “Thank you so much.”

Another added: “This is incredibly helpful – I will be using this myself.”

The full list of 101 ways to deal with stress and anxiety can be read below:

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier
  2. Prepare for the morning the night before
  3. Avoid tight-fitting clothes
  4. Avoid relying on chemical aids
  5. Set appointments ahead
  6. Don’t rely on your memory… write it down
  7. Practice preventative maintenance
  8. Make duplicate keys
  9. Say “no” more often
  10. Set priorities in your life
  11. Avoid negative people
  12. Use time wisely
  13. Simplify meal times
  14. Always make copies of important papers
  15. Anticipate your needs
  16. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly
  17. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike
  18. Break large tasks into bite-size portions
  19. Look at problems as challenges
  20. Look at challenges differently
  21. Unclutter your life
  22. Smile
  23. Be prepared for rain
  24. Tickle a baby
  25. Pet a friendly dog/cat
  26. Don’t know all the answers
  27. Look for a silver lining
  28. Say something nice to someone
  29. Teach a kid to fly a kite
  30. Walk in the rain
  31. Schedule play time into every day
  32. Take a bubble bath
  33. Be aware of the decisions you make
  34. Believe in yourself
  35. Stop saying negative things to yourself
  36. Visualize yourself winning
  37. Develop your sense of humor
  38. Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better day
  39. Have goals for yourself
  40. Dance a jig
  41. Say “hello” to a stranger
  42. Ask a friend for a hug
  43. Look up at the stars
  44. Practice breathing slowly
  45. Learn to whistle a tune
  46. Read a poem
  47. Listen to a symphony
  48. Watch a ballet
  49. Read a story curled up in bed
  50. Do a brand new thing
  51. Stop a bad habit
  52. Buy yourself a flower
  53. Take time to smell the flowers
  54. Find support from others
  55. Ask someone to be your “vent-partner”
  56. Do it today
  57. Work at being cheerful and optimistic
  58. Put safety first
  59. Do everything in moderation
  60. Pay attention to your appearance
  61. Strive for excellence NOT perfection
  62. Stretch your limits a little each day
  63. Look at a work of art
  64. Hum a jingle
  65. Maintain your weight
  66. Plant a tree
  67. Feed the birds
  68. Practice grace under pressure
  69. Strand up and stretch
  70. Always have a plan “B”
  71. Learn a new doodle
  72. Memorize a joke
  73. Be responsible for your feelings
  74. Learn to meet your own needs
  75. Become a better listener
  76. Know our own limitations and let others know them, too
  77. Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin
  78. Throw a paper airplane
  79. Exercise every day
  80. Learn the words to a new song
  81. Get to work early
  82. Clean out one closet
  83. Play patty cake with a toddler
  84. Go on a picnic
  85. Take a different route to work
  86. Leave work early (with permission)
  87. Put air freshener in your car
  88. Watch a move and eat popcorn
  89. Write a note to a faraway friend
  90. Go to a ball game and scream
  91. Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight
  92. Recognize the importance of unconditional love
  93. Remember that stress is an attitude
  94. Keep a journal
  95. Practice a monster smile
  96. Remember you always have options
  97. Have a support network of people, places and things
  98. Quit trying to fix other people
  99. Get enough sleep
  100. Talk less and listen more
  101. Freely praise other people

Read more: 20 ways to avoid stress


Speaking to Buzzfeed, Phillips revealed that this is the 10th year he has given his students the now-famous list.

He added that he does not take credit for authoring the list, compiling the advice from “various textbooks I’ve read, articles, and just thinking of things that most people could do to live a less stressful life.”

Phillips continued: “I give students the list and then I have them pick five things that they need to start doing to lower their stress levels.”

Stress can affect anyone, at any time

Stress can affect anyone, at any time

The list includes tips spanning the everyday to the existential, reminding students to spend time on themselves as well as on their studies.

It also encourages them to help one another out through difficult times, asking them to “freely praise other people” and “listen more” to those around them.


Read more: Lucy Mangan challenges you to ask 'who's responsible for your stress?'


Phillips added that he does a “lot of the things on the list” himself, just in a bid to help him enjoy life a little more.

He added firmly: “Life’s short — too much stress will make it even shorter!”

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