Often I meet with clients who come to counseling because of the level of stress they are experiencing. They talk of feeling overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted. They talk about how stressed out they feel and want help managing that stress. One thing we discuss as a way to manage stress is to actually list out all the things that are running rampant in their mind leading to feelings of stress. Actually write all of them down: bullet point style, free write, whatever works best for you. Once they are written down, prioritize them. What things are actually of high importance and need to be dealt with sooner and what things aren't really as important and can wait a bit. For the things that are of higher importance, break them down into smaller pieces; this makes them seem more manageable and can help you be more productive also. Then list a realistic "due date" for each of the smaller pieces of that bigger important item. Choose to focus on just one thing at a time. Stay in the present with just that one item. When your mind starts to wander, acknowledge that it is straying and gently bring it back to the item you are focusing upon. No need to criticize your wandering mind; it's just doing what it's used to doing. After you've had some practice with redirecting your thoughts, it'll wander less. Think about what is "due" first? Put some energy into that one thing. Remind yourself that the other things are listed out and you will deal with them in time, but right now you are focusing on item A. Items B, C, D and E will be dealt with another day; today is just for item A. Choose to let the stress associated with those other items go; you have a plan for them and will deal with them at the proper time. Deep breathing can be really helpful here! Today is just for item A and you can get some thing done towards that item today; that will help bring down your stress level. We tend to feel overwhelmed and stressed because we feel as though we have to accomplish everything today (or yesterday). That's not true nor is it realistic. Break it down into smaller pieces and focus on one thing at a time. You'll find your stress level will decrease some. The more you practice this, the more your stress can decrease. If you have trouble with this or with managing your overall stress level, consider counseling as an option to get better tools for managing stress!