Stress Management

Stress Management Workshop

Aim & Context

What is the aim of the exercise?

This exercise aims at providing a general overview of what is stress and how it can be managed.

In what context is this exercise useful?

This exercise is useful to provide some basics on stress management. It includes practical tips and trick on how to reduce stress.

Quick facts

Preparation time: 30-60 min (depending how much info you want to read)

Workshop time: 60 minutes

Ideal group size: 20 people (can be less or more)

Contact of Workshop Developer:

Equipment and tools needed:

  • Something to drink (e.g., water, coffee, tea, etc.)

  • Beamer (if using slides) or flipchart if prefer to draw and write content.

Detailed Description of Activity & Method

Please list step by step how the activity should be facilitated

Activity & Format



Facilitation Notes


5 min

  • Introduction of facilitators

  • Present agenda

  • If a small group, check-in: what is the participants stress level right now?

  • Get people to ‘arrive’ in the space.

Start with answering the check-in question by yourself and let everyone share and then hand the word over to someone else.

Want to go fast with larger group? Enumerate each number gradually from 0 to 5. Ask participants to raise their hand for the stress level they feel right now.

Input: Introduction to stress

5 to 15 min

Check information sheet attached to this workshop for input.

Cover following:

  • What is stress?

  • Good VS bad stress

  • Signs & Symptoms

  • Causes & risk factors

  • What’s risk management?

The way to present this information is up to the facilitator. It’s possible to create slides with the provided information or select some parts to highlight verbally to participants (may take more or less than 10-15 minutes depending).

Pro tip: get participants to throw in ideas to answer the topic (e.g., ask them what they think is stress? What they think are the signs, causes, etc.)

Exercise & sharing: Think of a situation you felt very stressed

10 min

How did you feel physically and emotionally?

What did you do to make yourself feel better?

Ask participants to group in pairs (or assign them in breakout rooms if virtual) and ask them to discuss the two questions (they get about 5 min each).

Input: Stress management

10 min

There is wide range of information about techniques, habits and so on to deal with stress. Find more resources at the bottom.

We will focus on 3 to make it digestible and applicable.

  1. Stress management plan

  2. The approaches to stress (action, emotion and acceptance oriented)

  3. Two WHO tips (from playbook) – this guides the practice

Feel free to select a different input if you think other techniques listed in the attached resources seem better to you.

Practice: 5 senses meditation

5 min

Easy 5 min meditation: tap into your senses – an old meditative trick that you can use, anywhere anytime. By tuning into your senses; See, smell, touch, taste and hear, this will automatically slow down the brain.

Spend at least one minute on each:

  • What can you see? Look close and far, colors, shapes, and light.

  • What can you hear? Hear as many sounds as you can and keep looking for new ones, don’t focus on anyone for too long.

  • What can you taste? This is less fun when you’re not eating – but try to last the minute.

  • What can you smell? Focus on the smells around you – what are they and how many can you find?

  • What can you feel? Send your attention to the parts of your body that have contact with something, like the earth or a chair or table.

Ask participants to get in a comfortable position. They can find a space away from others if they wish to do so. If online, they can turn off their camera if they prefer.

Guide the participants through this easy meditation. Use a stopwatch and allow one minute for each sense.

Slowly read through the components of each sense.

Practice: grounding

5 min

See the images about the coffee example.

Ask participants to get something to drink if possible. Otherwise to find an object or something they can observe and feel.


5 min

  • Debrief activity, ask them if they enjoyed it, gather quick feedback.

  • Provide logistical info about next planned workshop (if any)

  • Check-out suggestion if small group: Get each person to say how they feel in one word after this workshop.

  • Thank people for joining. Invite people to retry this exercise at home and see if they get different results.

Feedforward: Tips for future facilitators

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Resources (Helpful websites or books for further reading)

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