How do you relieve stress? Coping with stress requires that you identify and understand the source of your stress and then make a plan for how to reduce the impact of that stressor on your life. The next set of action steps will give you some tools to help you identify stressors, and learn how to cope with triggers so you can reduce the impact of stress in your life. Let's identify how you can reduce your stress.


1. Think of five activities you've done from time to time that have brought you peaceful feelings. These may include time spent at the beach, relaxing with your family, reading a book in your favorite coffee shop, taking a nap, or engaging in a hobby, such as knitting or swimming laps in a pool. Open your journal to a blank page and draw a line down the center, dividing it in half.

2. On the left-hand side of the page, list the top five situations that make you feel relaxed.

3. On the right side of the page, list how often you engage in these activities using the following categories: daily, several times per week, several times per month, once a month, and less than once a month.

4. Notice the patterns of your own antistress behaviors and take note of what behaviors you may want to increase to bring more peace and calm to your life.


Excerpt from BIPOLAR 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More (New Harbinger Publications)

Author's Bio: 

RUTH C. WHITE, PH.D., MPH, MSW, is assistant professor of social work at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. Visit her online at

JOHN D. PRESTON, PSY.D., ABPP, is a licensed psychologist and a professor of psychology at the Sacramento, CA, campus of Alliant International University.