Stress Management Tips and Resources

Research has shown that chronic stress can have long-term effects on the brain, so managing stress is an important factor in overall brain health. When experiencing stress, the brain releases cortisol, a hormone that increases sugars in the blood and increases metabolism, partly through stimulating insulin release in the blood. If stress levels remain high for an extended period, the brain is exposed to too much cortisol, resulting in increased anxiety, blood pressure, and risk for vascular disease, as well as weight gain, depression and sleep disruptions. It’s essential to find effective ways to manage and relieve stress. Download an informational flyer and find some tips below to help you reduce stress and support brain health:

Stress or Something Else?

Feeling overwhelmed? Read this fact sheet from the National Institute of Mental Health to learn whether it’s stress or anxiety, and what you can do to cope.

Loneliness, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are issues that many people face. If you or someone you care about may be at risk, call or text 988 for help. Visit to learn more.

Read "Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions" on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

  1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: One of the best ways of managing stress is by practicing mindfulness. Some effective ways to practice mindfulness are with meditation, performing breathing exercises throughout the day and reserving time for yourself to relax daily. These can be just a few minutes of your day and can help improve your overall mood, boost focus levels, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall brain function. The Healthy Minds Program App offers meditation training and is available for free.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural stress relievers. Visit our Classes and Series page for exercise ideas, like the Get Movin’ and Men in Motion fitness classes. 
  3. Get Quality Sleep: Sleeping is one of the most important things you do in your day. Develop a sleep routine and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Visit our Prevention page to find more sleep tips and strategies to help you improve your sleep. 
  4. Social Connections: Interactions with friends and family can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. Laughter releases endorphins and reduces stress hormones. 
  5. Hobbies: Doing things you enjoy, like listening to music, creating art or gardening, can be a great way to de-stress and promote relaxation.
  6. Healthy Diet: Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed, and walnuts are particularly beneficial for brain health and can help reduce stress. Watch our video, "Take Care of Your MIND: Reviewing the MIND Diet for Healthy Brain Aging," on YouTube to learn more about the MIND diet for healthy brain aging. 
  7. Cognitive Challenges: Engaging in puzzles, reading, learning a new skill, or playing brain-training games can help boost cognitive function and reduce stress. Listen to Dementia Matters' episode, "Crosswords or Computers: Which is Better for Cognitive Engagement?" to learn more.
  8. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake can contribute to stress and disrupt sleep patterns. 
  9. Seek Professional Help: If stress becomes overwhelming and begins interfering with your daily life, consider seeking care from a mental health professional. They can provide effective coping strategies and support to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

Finding the right combination of these strategies that work for you might take some time; what works to relieve stress can vary from person to person. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process.