What Is Stress?

Stress is mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from difficult or challenging situations. When you’re stressed, your body reacts by releasing chemicals into the blood stream, and these chemicals can affect your health. It’s important to remember that stress is a normal part of life, but you can change how you relate to stressful situations and benefit your emotional and physical well being.

Approach stress the right way, and it won’t rule your life — it can even be good for you.
— "How to Be Better at Stress," Tara Parker Pope, The New York Times

Know the benefits of stress management:

  • Develop a regular technique to relieve your stress and you can feel more relaxed, have more energy, sleep better, and reduce your blood pressure.
  • A healthy relationship with stress means you're are less likely to get sick, develop heart disease, be overweight, have a stroke, or have digestive problems.
  • With less stress, you can be in the world in the way you want to be.

Know your motivation for managing your stress:

  • List the reasons that matter to you and remind yourself daily to keep inspired. 
  • Think about what you could be doing if you weren’t worrying.
  • Ask yourself how your life would be better with less anxiety.

Know your triggers:

  • When do you feel most stressed?
  • What are the experiences that create anxiety in your life?
  • How does it feel when you are stressed? 
  • Explore the physical sensations of stress so you can recognize when it arises and take steps to cope.


  • New York Times article "How to Be Better at Stress" by Tara Parker Pope, offering techniques to build resilience and use stress to your advantage.

  • Free online eight-week mindfulness-based/stress reduction course including guided meditations, articles, worksheets and videos. Self-paced and available in English and Spanish.

  • Free online resources developed in conjunction with Harvard University, providing information, exercises, and more about dealing with stress.



Introduction to Meditation

San Francisco Meditation Centers