Take a deep breath.When a wave of stress hits me, I take a deep breath. If I need to, I'll do deep breathing for a minute or two.
5 SensesThis is a pretty well known grounding technique and basically you just focus on what your sensing right now - not on what you're stressing about. So if it's a major wave of stress or overwhelm, I take a few deep breaths (I'm telling you, breathing is the key) and then start mentally listing what I see, hear, feel, smell, and taste at this present moment. It really helps to keep your mind present instead of drifting off to worst-case scenarios or oh-my-god-how-can-I-do-all-this freakout thoughts.
Think about what I need to do.I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I want to do it all and to the best of my abilities. Sometimes I just need to remind myself what the bare minimum of what I need to do is. I think about what has to be done for tomorrow for a class/job/etc and anything that isn't vital, I just put off. For instance all I really have to do today is take a quiz (due by midnight) and write my Step-by-Step Approach paper (due by class time tomorrow). Anything else I do is just icing on the cake.
Make time to take care of myself.I've been all about the self-care/self-love on here lately and that's because it really has made a difference in my life! When I make sure I have time in the evening to do what I want to do and take care of my self, I'm so much happier and less stressed. For me it tends to be something creative like blogging, decorating my planner, or painting, but self-care can be anything.
Write a list/Brain dump.If I have a lot of things to do on my mind, I make a giant list of everything. Some people call this a brain dump and you can even include people/situations that are stressing you out. I tend to be stressed about my course-load and trying to fit everything that I need to do into one week, so a list works well for me.
I usually write this on a list pad so I can just put it away and refer to it as needed. If I have it just sitting out, it can stress me even more (which is not what we're going for!).
Talk to someone.Being open and honest about what is stressing you out with someone you trust and is supportive is another great way to calm down. I usually talk to my best friend and flat mate or call my mom. Being able to talk it out and get another person's perspective is usually pretty helpful. You do have to make sure you talk to the right person though, or else this could backfire so be sure to open up to someone who you trust and cares about you, is willing to listen, and will support you and encourage you to reach your goals.
Work on it.If you're stressed about a giant project, sometimes the best thing to do is to get to work! Stressing about it won't help you get it done, but if you take a step towards getting that project done you'll be that much closer to finishing it and hopefully lessening the stress. Even baby steps like just looking at requirements, writing an outline, or doing a bit of research will help!
Hopefully at least one of these ideas will help you stress less. As someone who gets stressed and overwhelmed, I know just how miserable that feeling is and just how important it is to have ways to cope with it. If you have any other ways of managing stress, be sure to leave them in the comments!