Improving Stress Tolerance through Lifestyle Changes

Improving Stress Tolerance through Lifestyle Changes

Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Therefore, learning to cope with stress is important to maintain good health and wellbeing. Improving our stress tolerance is one of the many ways by which we can manage stress effectively. So, what is stress tolerance and how can we increase its level? Read on as we explore these issues and more in this article.

What is Stress Tolerance?

Stress tolerance is defined as the level at which a person can effectively and consistently deal with and manage stressful situations.1 It is the ability to remain calm, relaxed and composed when faced with difficult situations.2 An individual is described as having positive stress tolerance if they are able to stay calm and not get overwhelmed by strong emotions.2 However, a low stress tolerance means finding it harder to relieve stress and getting easily annoyed or frustrated by minor inconveniences.4

1,612 Stress Tolerance Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock


Common Life Stressors

Stress is a normal, natural reaction that occurs when our bodies secrete the stress hormone called dopamine in response to challenging or difficult situations.1 Small amounts of stress can be beneficial by allowing us to focus on routine tasks and trigger warnings against potential threats. However, high levels of stress can lead to health problems, difficulty in relationships and ability to function.1

Life stressors are events or experiences that cause stress.3 They can be small and easy to manage like a little disagreement with a colleague at work, or they can be significant life changes like bereavement or divorce.3 These stressors often contribute to feelings of anxiety, panic attacks and depression.1,3 Some of the most common stressful life events we can experience are as follows:

  • Death of a spouse: the loss of a life partner or spouse can be agonizing and may even lead to a decrease in life expectancy3
  • Divorce: divorce often requires a readjustment in routines and lifestyle. The stress of this major life change is usually made worse by legal difficulties and custody battles3
  • Death of a close family member: the loss of a loved one such as a parent, sibling or child is a very stressful life event and is often difficult to cope with3
  • Serious illness or personal injury: a major personal injury or illness can cause a lot of distress. This is because it can disrupt our routines, lifestyle and livelihood. The burden of medical bills can also add to the stress of the situation3
  • Loos of a job or unemployment: losing your job is also a major source of stress. Sudden unemployment can bring about feelings of shame, depression, loss of identity and financial anxiety.3

How to Increase Stress Tolerance

It is important to know our stress tolerance level in order to avoid detrimental impacts on our health. When we exceed our stress tolerance, we may experience anxiety, panic attacks and other long-term health problems.4 Constant exposure to stress that exceeds a person’s stress tolerance can lead to being overstressed. Symptoms of being overstressed include insomnia, depression, weakened immune system, loss of appetite and substance abuse.4

Stress tolerance involves developing coping mechanisms to better handle stress. These coping mechanisms can include healthy diet, adequate rest and sleep, positive thinking and attitude and a strong support system, including family and friends.1

Here are some useful tips on how to develop positive stress tolerance:

  • Mindfulness and meditation: meditation allows us to increase our awareness of our environment as well as our present experience. Studies show that practicing mindfulness and meditation can help relieve stress and improve quality of life and sense of wellbeing4
  • Eating healthy: eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats has been associated with increased happiness, life satisfaction, wellbeing and better mental outcomes4
  • Adequate sleep: studies show that people who sleep well are more satisfied with life compared with those who do not have adequate sleep.4 Poor sleep has been linked with negative psychological outcomes such as depressed mood, anxiety, poor emotion regulation and negative thoughts4
  • Regular exercise: physical activity improves general wellbeing and helps reduce anxiety, depression and negative mood. It also improves self-esteem and cognitive function.4 Simple physical activities like walking can help combat stress, release tension and improve mood.4
  • Strong social network: High-quality relationships and a strong support network of colleagues, friends and family can help people cope better with stress. Sharing problems with a close friend or loved one can provide some relief and new perspective to a situation4
  • Positive mind set: studies show that focusing on the positive aspects of your life and practicing gratitude contributes to the feeling of happiness and general well-being.4 By simply learning to look for and appreciate the little things, such as a cup of coffee, reading your favorite book or spending time with your family, can help relieve stress.4 Also, learning to accept what you cannot change, and instead focus time and energy on what you can control, can improve overall mood and wellbeing4
  • Journaling: keeping a journal allows you to process thoughts and emotions by the end of the day, which can help manage stress and prevent it from building up. It also helps you to better understand the sources of your stress and how you can avoid them.4

Lifestyle Changes for Better Stress Tolerance

Adopting new habits and lifestyle practices can help significantly manage stress and improve stress tolerance. Some simple lifestyle changes for better stress management and tolerance are as follows:

  • Learn how to say “no”: avoid taking on more than you can handle. Know your limits and stick to them5
  • Avoid people and situations that increase stress5
  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up: learn to share your feelings by talking to a friend, colleague, loved one or a therapist5
  • Be willing to compromise5
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Learn to manage your time better by prioritizing tasks, breaking projects into small steps and delegating responsibility
  • Build relationships and connect with others
  • Make out time for leisure and relaxation: practice doing something you enjoy everyday. Practice including rest and relaxation in your daily schedule
  • Practice mindful rhythmic exercise like walking, running, swimming, dancing, cycling and aerobics
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.5


If you're interested in learning more about healthy habits that can affect your long term health, download our app today!

With the Jevitty app, you can learn from experts about how to improve your lifestyle, diet and nutrition. Jevitty technology also offers a body composition scan that provides an in-depth look at all of your body composition. With the Jevitty Scan, you can discover all of your body’s important measurements including lean mass, bone density, body fat percentage and its distribution. Our experts will review the results with you and recommend specific activities and lifestyle modifications based on your report to improve your health. Learn more about the Jevitty Scan here


  1. Workplace Testing (2020). Stress Tolerance.
  2. University of Waterloo (2023). Stress Tolerance. Learning Services. Waterloo Student Success Office.
  3. Ferguson S. (2022). Top 10 life-stressors that can trigger anxiety. PsychCentral.
  4. Gene Planet (2022). All you need to know about stress tolerance and 12 ways to manage it.
  5. HelpGuide (2022). Stress Management. Stress.

Related Content