45+ Mindfulness Worksheets for Adults & Kids (Incl. PDF)
It involves “ Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 2012, p. 1).
Given its ability to enhance emotional balance and wellbeing, mindfulness represents a useful therapeutic approach among psychologists. Fortunately, many helpful mindfulness worksheets are available for therapists and clients alike.
Given the diverse applicability of mindfulness in the field of psychology, mindfulness worksheets cover a variety of mental health topics (e.g., anxiety, addiction, stress, etc.). Such worksheets also target specific audiences (e.g., children, adults, groups, etc.) and treatment approaches (e.g., Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, etc.).
This article will present 65+ mindfulness worksheets across issues, people, and treatment approaches. Many links to informative books, articles, and downloadable worksheets are also provided. Those interested in enhancing mindfulness in themselves or others will find an abundance of resources at their fingertips.
The importance of mindfulness tools cannot be overstated. After all:
If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free . These science-based, comprehensive exercises will not only help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life, but also give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
8 best mindfulness worksheets.
- 10 Worksheets for Kids and Students
6 Mindfulness Coloring Worksheets
- For Anxiety and Stress-Reduction
Useful Worksheets for DBT Sessions
For your cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, for treating addiction and relapse prevention, 4 group mindfulness worksheets.
- Valuable Resources From PositivePsychology.com
A Take-Home Message
Handout 2-8: Loving-kindness for Self and Others
This worksheet guides individuals in picturing different people in their minds (including themselves) and learning how to send them love and kindness.
Handout 2-9: Journal About Your Understanding of What Mindfulness is
Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn mindfulness while processing their feelings through journaling.
Handout 2-16: Journal About a Time You Felt Afraid
Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn how to get in touch with implicit memories that may be associated with fear.
Handout 2-13: The Prefrontal Cortex
This worksheet helps individuals to understand the functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by using an orchestra conductor analogy.
ACT made simple: Your values
Here are several more worksheets to download and use on yourself or with clients:
Connect the DOTS
This exercise is adapted from Russ Harris’s (2009) The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT Books , which includes numerous useful worksheets centered around acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Individuals are asked to consider the methods they have used to avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings, along with the long-term impact of such practices. They are then asked to write about their attempted solutions and long-term outcomes.
Distraction Opting out Thought processes Substance use & other
Thoughts and Feelings – Struggle or Acceptance
Mindfulness involves nonjudgmental acceptance of one’s thoughts and feelings. In practice, however, this can be hard to do. This Thoughts and Feelings: Struggle or Acceptance questionnaire helps the reader better understand the degree of control they believe they have over their feelings and thoughts.
Willingness, Goals, and Action Plan
Individuals are asked to complete an action plan that includes specific goals, values, underlying goals, actions needed to achieve goals, thoughts and other sensations they are willing to be open to in order to fulfill goals, as well as other useful reminders such as small steps.
STOP the Panic
Individuals are asked to follow the STOP approach in times of crisis.
This approach involves the following steps:
- Slower breath
- Thoughts and feelings
- Personal values
8 Worksheets for Kids and Students
Mindfulness training has also been associated with increased psychological wellbeing, self-regulation, and self-esteem among adolescents (Shruti, Uma, & Dinesh, 2018).
Here are some useful worksheets that cover a range of topics for children across grades:
Inside and Outside Worksheet helps kids to understand the value of changing their thoughts to make them more positive and helps trusted adults to understand their emotional experiences.
Right Here, Right Now helps children from preschool to fifth grade to use five sentences to learn about the meaning of mindfulness.
Fun Mindful Eating helps kindergarteners and first-graders to practice mindful eating by focusing on various sensations during a meal or snack.
Feelings Wheel helps second- and third-graders to better understand their feelings by creating a feelings wheel.
Gratitude Gifts promotes gratitude in kindergarteners and first-graders by thinking about the positive impact of gratitude on their lives.
Mindful Listening Challenge! – With this fun worksheet, second and third-graders design their own game that helps others to learn about mindful listening. In doing so, children learn various socio-emotional skills.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Easy Basics provides a deep-breathing exercise to promote emotion regulation and relaxation in children. Caregivers are instructed to read a script aloud to a child and take part in the activity with them to demonstrate deep breathing. Here is an example:
“With your back nice and straight, settle into a comfortable standing or seating position. Now gently close your eyes. Begin with three deep, calming breaths through your nose. Feel the air flowing in, and out. In, and out. In… and out again.”
Dragon Fire Breathing is similar to deep breathing but includes a few more methods for activating the calming parasympathetic nervous system. Children are asked to breathe in normally and focus on their exhale, making it as close as they can to a fiery dragon’s breath. When children regularly practice Dragon Fire Breathing in a calm state, they will be better able to use this technique to diffuse volatile or explosive situations.
Two Other Useful Worksheet Sources
Along with the above useful worksheets, there also are many terrific insights and worksheets for young people in Burdick’s (2014) book Mindfulness Skills for Kids & Teens: A Workbook for Clinicians & Clients .
Additionally, the Nebraska Honors Program CLC Expanded Learning Opportunity Clubs Information Shee t (Schendt, 2019) contains the following fun and creative worksheets aimed at increasing healthy habits among middle-school-aged children:
- Noodle Tower (for cognitive stress coping)
- Fluffy Slime (for diversion stress coping)
- Stress Balls (for diversion stress coping)
- Gratitude Letters (for social/interpersonal stress coping)
- Letters to Future Self (for cognitive stress coping)
- Positive Affirmations/Mantras (for cognitive stress coping)
- Music and Coloring (for diversion stress coping)
- Team Building and Mindfulness
- Yoga and Meditation
In fact, mindfulness coloring books used as part of art therapy are related to significantly reduced anxiety (Ashlock, Miller-Perrin, & Krumrei-Mancuso, 2019) and stress (Simmons, 2016) among young adults. Here are some excellent examples:
The coloring book The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People (Farrarons, 2015) helps both adults and children to reduce stress through creativity.
It contains 70 attractive drawing patterns (e.g., butterflies, flowers, and kaleidoscopic designs) intended to promote a sense of serenity.
Education.com also provides many mindfulness-focused coloring worksheets .
Here are six examples:
Puppy Mind Artwork is a social-emotional worksheet designed to promote mindfulness and kindness among second and third graders.
Family Pride: My Family Rainbow is designed to help children to celebrate and be more mindful of the palette of their families and communities.
Yoga for Kids: Happy Baby Pose is a coloring worksheet and movement activity designed to improve children’s attention, performance, and focus, as demonstrated by ‘Muggo.’
For Anxiety and Stress Reduction
Mindfulness techniques have been found to help anxious and stressed individuals by promoting relaxation while removing negative judgments (Blanck et al., 2018). Many mindfulness-focused worksheets have been created to reduce stress and anxiety, and we share 11 examples below.
The book teaches numerous skills designed to enable anxious individuals to be “ less avoidant and less tangled up with difficult thoughts, and more present, flexible, compassionate, kind with [themselves], and accepting of [their] internal experiences just as they are” (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016, p. 2).
For each type of anxiety disorder, readers checkmark the symptoms that refer to them. They also are provided with a vignette describing one individual’s experience with that particular disorder. The book is loaded with worksheet exercises, such as the following:
- Your Life Book of Possibilities is a mindfulness exercise that helps readers to shift perspective to the here and now, rather than looking backward.
- Centering into Your Heart allows readers to understand the difference between anxiety and fear by providing a list of potential situations within each category.
- Has Responding with Fear and Worry Been Useful to Me? asks readers to describe a dangerous event along with their responses to it. By also noting how useful their response was, they can see how fear sometimes results in actions that promote safety.
It includes both guided mindfulness exercises (with audio downloads available online) as well as written exercises.
Like the previous book, Fleming and Kocovski (2013) are focused on an ACT approach to anxiety. Here are a few worksheet examples:
- Situations Involving Social Interaction provides information about different social situations along with a checklist of specific cases where social anxiety may be triggered. The worksheet is followed by two more with the same format but focused on the anxiety situations that involve being observed by and performing in front of others.
- Top Three Feared Social Situations asks readers to describe their top-three most-feared situations.
- The Costs of Outright Avoidance helps readers to identify how avoiding difficult social situations has a cost. It involves listing each avoided situation in one column and the associated costs in the next column (e.g., situation: avoiding parties; cost: loneliness).
- What Are You Giving Up for Safety? helps individuals identify the various costs for their safety behaviors as pertaining to their top-three feared situations.
Education.com also provides several mindfulness-focused worksheets specific to children dealing with stress and anxiety. Here are four examples:
- Let’s Breathe, Five-Finger Style! is designed to help kindergarteners and first-graders learn five-fingers mindful breathing.
- Range of Emotions is designed to help kindergarteners and first graders learn to recognize their range of emotions.
- Belly Breathing to Calm, Focus, and De-Stress is designed to help kindergarteners and first graders use belly breathing to calm themselves and deal with stress.
- Negativity Bias is intended to help second and third graders to understand why humans tend to remember negative experiences. It enhances stress management by asking kids to write or draw 10 recent positive experiences, as well as to send positive messages to others.
Download 3 Free Mindfulness Exercises (PDF)
These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients enjoy the benefits of mindfulness and create positive shifts in their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Download 3 Free Mindfulness Tools Pack (PDF)
By filling out your name and email address below.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapy technique used for the treatment of a variety of mental issues and disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation.
Developed by Marsha Linehan, DBT teaches individuals the skills to deal with their painful emotions. Given Linehan’s extensive Buddhism background, DBT is grounded in mindfulness philosophy. Indeed, Linehan uses this experience
as a subtle learning device that opens up the current moment without reserve or grudges including emotions (feeling states) and understandings of the inner world of being.
Eist, 2015, p. 887
The book Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises (McKay, Wood, and Brantley, 2019) provides a number of useful DBT worksheets and exercises. Here are five examples:
- Exercise: Take a REST – Using the ‘REST’ strategy, readers are reminded to Relax, Evaluate, Set an intention, and Take action. After recalling a recent tricky situation, they are then asked to consider what happened, how they responded, and how they might have coped better using the REST approach.
- Radical Acceptance asks individuals to accept situations without judgment.
- Distract Yourself from Self-Destructive Behaviors involves coming up with relatively safe ways to distract oneself from self-destructive feelings and behaviors.
- Create Your Distraction Plan – For this exercise, individuals come up with distraction skills following the REST approach to use when encountering a painful situation. After writing their distraction techniques in a list, they are then asked to write them on sticky notes (or on their phones) to use during tough situations.
- Create A Relaxation Plan asks readers to create a list of soothing and relaxing skills (using their five senses) that they can use at home.
This book is packed with DBT exercises, worksheets, and handouts that cover each of the DBT skill modules.
It involves working with clients to identify the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that impact their ability to modify behaviors.
Mindfulness activities (e.g., relaxation while removing negative or stressful judgments) are often combined with CBT to create a powerful way of dealing with anxiety and other emotional challenges.
Various mindfulness-based CBT worksheets are available elsewhere on this site. For example, our PositivePsychology.com resources include the following examples:
- Core Beliefs Worksheet 1 helps individuals to identify their core beliefs about themselves, others, and the world as a whole. A core belief definition is provided along with some questions to help you challenge those beliefs.
- Core Beliefs Worksheet 2 helps individuals to identify the negative core beliefs they hold about themselves.
- Questions For Challenging Thoughts contains a list of questions that you can use to challenge any unwanted or unhelpful thoughts that bother you.
- Cognitive Restructuring Worksheet uses the Socratic questioning technique to help clients challenge irrational or illogical thoughts.
Relapse is a significant challenge for individuals dealing with addiction. Relapse prevention is grounded in cognitive-behavioral theory and is aimed at preventing relapse (as defined by the individual’s treatment goals), as well as relapse management (Marlatt & Donovan, 2005).
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been found effective for the prevention of depression relapse (Williams et al., 2014). Worksheets provide helpful tools for relapse prevention professionals.
- Core Beliefs Suitcases involves having individuals ‘unpack’ the false self-beliefs that may be influencing them negatively (e.g., “ If I tell others how I feel, they will think I’m weak ”). It uses the suitcase metaphor to illustrate how our core beliefs impact our behaviors.
- Interacting With Your Emotions invites clients to become more familiar with their emotions by reflecting on the different ways they might feel in common situations.
- Linking Feelings and Situations involves having individuals identify past experiences when they felt particular emotions (e.g., anger, fear, etc.) to enable them to connect feelings with situations.
- Negative Thoughts Checklist involves having individuals identify repetitive negative thoughts (i.e., habitual thoughts about oneself and the world that cause emotional pain). It also helps clients consider the core beliefs they are linked to. Potential repetitive thoughts include: “ I can’t deal with this ” and “ Nobody loves me ” etc.
Our free relapse prevention worksheets can also help clients identify coping strategies to manage their recovery journey.
- Preventing Relapse helps individuals to identify relapse red flags, people they can contact to deal with cravings, and things they can do to distract themselves from relapsing.
- Managing Cravings helps clients identify specific scenarios where their cravings are strongest, then create a coping strategy.
- Modes Influencing Recovery is a psychoeducational resource that outlines seven modes that influence recovery from addiction (e.g., affect, behavior, and social modes). Clients can use it to design a plan for tackling challenges they identify.
This approach may be advantageous for some because it is often cheaper than individual therapy and enables participants to experience feedback from multiple group members.
Group leaders may incorporate mindfulness worksheets as a way of enhancing clients’ self-understanding and identifying useful tools to promote mindfulness.
Here is an example:
- Teaching Others About Mindfulness helps students to develop a lesson plan for mentoring younger kids in developing the skills to deal with stress and anger.
Practicing group mindfulness also may be fun. Here is an example of a printable worksheet that teachers or group counselors might want to check out:
- Mini Mindfulness Bingo!
Mindfulness-based team-building worksheets also provide terrific ways to promote positive emotional health:
- Squeeze and Release is a fun team-building activity that uses stress balls to teach participants about the stressful consequences of failing to focus on the present.
- Silent Connections heavily emphasizes mindfulness of others by inviting group participants to build connections through understanding nonverbal communication cues .
It is also worth noting that many of the PositivePsychology.com mindfulness worksheets available to parents, clinicians, and teachers may be adapted to meet the needs of classrooms or group therapy sessions.
More Valuable Resources From PositivePsychology.com
Of course, our very own site provides even more excellent resources for promoting mindfulness. For example, 22 mindfulness exercises, techniques, and activities are available on our website and include such approaches as:
- The Raisin Exercise
- The Body Scan
- The Self-Compassion Pause Worksheet
- The 3-Step Mindfulness Exercise
- Mindful Eating for Four Minutes
If you would like to explore even more on the topic of mindfulness, here is an excellent selection of popular blog posts:
- 76 Most Powerful Mindfulness Quotes: Your Daily Dose of Inspiration
- Mindfulness Coaching Using the Mindfulness X Program
- The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)
- How to Benefit From Mindful Running and Mindful Exercise on Your Fitness Journey
Last but not least, there is Mindfulness-X .
Designed for professionals, this online package allows you to personalize a demonstrated, science-based, eight-session mindfulness training and use it to inspire the lives of your clients and students. The course is based on scientific research and is fully referenced. It is an invaluable tool for you to not only master the eight pillars of mindfulness, but also positively impact others by teaching them mindfulness.
These are just a few examples of the numerous mindfulness tools and worksheets provided by PositivePsychology.com; there are many more resources available for those interested in bringing more mindfulness into their lives.
If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enjoy the benefits of mindfulness, this collection contains 17 validated mindfulness tools for practitioners . Use them to help others reduce stress and create positive shifts in their mental, physical, and emotional health.
There may never have been a time in history when practicing mindfulness has been more important. With our fast-paced society and technological advances, many of us find ourselves constantly overexposed to stressful messages and situations.
Or, in the words of Kabat-Zinn:
Even before smartphones and the Internet, we had many ways to distract ourselves. Now that’s compounded by a factor of trillions.
Learning how to live in the moment and accept emotions and thoughts without judgment (i.e., mindfulness) is an effective way to experience greater tranquility and contentment.
Fortunately, modern-day technology also boasts some important perks; namely, a vast amount of accessible information for individuals interested in learning or teaching mindfulness.
This article included 65+ worksheets, along with numerous printable handouts. These resources cover more general mindfulness topics, as well as mindfulness for kids and teens, anxiety reduction, DBT, CBT, addiction and relapse prevention, and group therapy.
Whether you are a therapist, teacher, parent, or simply someone who wants to experience a more mindful existence, a plethora of tools are available to help you. So, go ahead and give mindfulness a try; you may find that:
with mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free .
- Ashlock, L. E., Miller-Perrin, C., & Krumrei-Mancuso, E. (2019). The effectiveness of structured coloring activities for anxiety reduction. Art Therapy , 35 (4), 1–7.
- Blanck, P., Perleth, S., Heidenreich, T., Kröger, P., Ditzen, B., Bents, H., & Mander, J. (2018). Effects of mindfulness exercises as a stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy , 102 , 25–35.
- Burdick, D. (2003). Mindfulness skills workbook for clinicians & clients: 111 tools, techniques, activities & worksheets. PESI Publishing & Media.
- Burdick, D. (2014). Mindfulness skills for kids & teens: A workbook for clinicians & clients with 154 tools, techniques, activities & worksheets . Premier Publishing & Media.
- Burke, C. A. (2009). Mindfulness-based approaches with children and adolescents: A preliminary review of current research in an emergent field. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19 , 133–144.
- Education.com. (n.d.). Free Worksheets and Printables for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.education.com/worksheets/
- Eist, H. I. (2015). Book review: Linehan, M. DBT skills training manual. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 203 , 887.
- Farrarons, E. (2015). The mindfulness coloring book: Anti-stress art therapy for busy people. The Experiment.
- Fleming, J., & Kocovski, N. (2013). The mindfulness and acceptance workbook for social anxiety and shyness. New Harbinger Publications.
- Forsyth, J., & Eifert, G. (2016). The mindfulness and acceptance workbook for anxiety: A guide to breaking free from anxiety, phobias & worry using acceptance & commitment therapy. New Harbinger Publications.
- Hanh, T. N. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/
- Harris, R. (2009). The complete set of client handouts and worksheets from ACT books . Retrieved from https://www.actmindfully.com.au/upimages/2016_Complete_Worksheets_for_Russ_Harris_ACT_Books.pdf
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012). Mindfulness for beginners: Reclaiming the present moment—and your life. Sounds True, Inc.
- Linehan, M. (2015). DBT? Skills training handouts and worksheets. Guildford Press.
- Marlatt, G. A., & Donovan, D. M. (Eds.). (2005). Relapse prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
- McKay, M., Wood, J., & Brantley, J. (2019). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills workbook: Practical DBT exercises. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
- Schendt, T. (2019). “ Healthy habits”: After school club lesson plans (Honors portfolio). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/honorshelc/21/
- Shruti, M., Uma, J., & Dinesh, N. (2018). To what extent is mindfulness training effective in enhancing self-esteem, self-regulation, and psychological well-being of school-going early adolescents? Journal of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health , 14 , 89–108.
- Simmons, C. (2016). Effects of coloring on immediate short-term stress relief (Honors theses). Retrieved from https://egrove.olemiss.edu/hon_thesis/230
- Williams, J., Crane, C., Barnhofer, T., Brennan, K., Duggan, D. S., Fennell, M., … Russell, I. (2014). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression: A randomized dismantling trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , 82 , 275–286.
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hi My child has anxiety. What are the best stategies in your opinion to control her meltdowns. She is 14years old.. Thanks
I’m sorry your daughter has difficulty with anxiety. It would be difficult to recommend specific strategies without the benefit of a proper psychological assessment. A therapist or other appropriate professional could help understand the nature and roots of such anxiety, and recommend the most suitable interventions. So, it could be worth seeking out this support. Psychology Today has a great directory you can use to find therapists in your local area.
While this blog is no substitute for a therapist’s psychological assessment and intervention, you may also find some of the worksheets in this blog post useful.
I hope this helps, and all the best.
– Nicole | Community Manager
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What is stress, acute vs. chronic stress, symptoms of stress, stress management strategies, build resilience, relaxation techniques, time management, cognitive restructuring.
Work, deadlines, bills, homework, chores... and the list goes on. The demands of daily life pull us in all different directions, requiring time and energy that we don’t always have. At some point, just maintaining a to-do list becomes a to-do of its own. When these demands grow out of hand, they may lead to the all-too-familiar feeling of stress.
Stress is insidious. When stress goes unchecked, its symptoms linger and chip away at both physical and mental health. Many grow used to the constant feeling of stress pressing down on them, while others wear their stress as a badge of honor.
That being said, it’s okay to have some stress. A healthy level of stress pushes people to take care of their responsibilities, without keeping them up at night or damaging their health. The goal isn’t to eliminate all stress—it’s to keep stress at levels that are helpful, rather than harmful.
In this guide, we provide an overview of stress, its symptoms, and how it presents in daily life. Then, we will introduce 5 strategies for managing stress in a healthy way.
Stress is a feeling of being tense, overwhelmed, worn out, or exhausted. A small amount of stress can be motivating, but too much stress makes even small tasks seem daunting. Symptoms can range from mild (e.g., headaches and stomachaches) to severe (e.g., anxiety and depression).
Acute stress is brief but intense. Short-term stressors—such as giving a speech, getting into an argument, or studying for an exam—cause acute stress.
Chronic stress , on the other hand, is long-lasting. The symptoms may not be as intense in the moment, but the long-term effects are more severe. Long-term stressors—such as a difficult job, an unhealthy relationship with frequent arguing, or financial difficulties—cause chronic stress.
The symptoms of acute stress, such as sweating, irritability, and headaches, are disruptive in the moment. The symptoms of chronic stress might go unnoticed in the moment, but cause serious long-term health problems.
Stress causes physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. Some people will have an easy time identifying their symptoms, and connecting them with stress. Others—especially those who have had chronic stress for years and years—will need more guidance before recognizing their symptoms as stress-related.
Resilience refers to the ability to handle stress when it arises, and to protect oneself against future stress. Research has shown that there are a number of qualities that contribute to resilience, including social support, optimism, sense of humor, spirituality, self-esteem, and adaptability ( 7, 10 ). Many of these qualities can be fostered in therapy.
Here are a few ways to build resilience:
Using social support can help reduce stress. Social support may come from friends, family, or community organizations. Identify current and potential sources of social support. For help doing so, try the social support worksheet:
Positive journaling can foster optimism, which contributes to stress resilience. Positive journaling involves writing about daily positive experiences. It tends to be easy to remember negative experiences, but it takes more work to recall and appreciate positive experiences. Positive journaling is a great way to appreciate these experiences. For a journal template, try the positive journal packet:
Showing gratitude can increase self-esteem, which contributes to resilience. There are a number of ways to show gratitude, including gratitude journaling, telling someone “thank you”, and visiting someone you appreciate. Check out the following gratitude resources:
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, are a fundamental part of stress management ( 5, 14 ). These techniques trigger the relaxation response, which counters the body’s stress response.
This section focuses on how relaxation skills fit into stress management treatment. For information, instructions, and resources about specific techniques, see our guide on the subject:
Relaxation techniques not only provide immediate stress relief, but the effects also generalize. This means the benefits of relaxation continue to be felt long after the exercise is complete. These techniques work best when done regularly and during times of calm, rather than exclusively when stress is at its peak.
Begin by teaching and practicing relaxation skills in session, then developing a routine that includes daily relaxation. Practicing only in session is not enough—relaxation skills must be used outside of therapy to be effective in the long-term.
Tips for Making Relaxation a Habit
- Model relaxation practice by starting or ending every session with a relaxation technique. This also reinforces the positive effects associated with practicing relaxation.
- Assign daily relaxation practice as homework. Reinforce the importance of the homework by following up at the start of every session, and discussing the experience.
- Plan where relaxation can fit into a daily routine. It may help to set an alarm as a reminder, or connect relaxation practice with another activity. For example, practicing deep breathing for 10 minutes after each meal.
- Keep practicing even if the positive effects are small. The benefits of relaxation accumulate and grow with practice.
Too much to do, and too little time. Balancing responsibilities and fitting them into a busy schedule is a common stressor. Time management skills can reduce the mental burden of juggling tasks, and increase the likelihood that everything gets done ( 4 ).
Time Management Tips
- Use a to-do list or appointment book. Writing down your responsibilities has a number of benefits. Not only will it ensure you don’t forget anything, it also reduces stress by allowing you to drop your mental to-do list.
- Prioritize your tasks. Focus on completing the most important, and the quickest tasks, first. If you have a few “to-dos” that will only take five minutes, knock them out quickly for the peace of mind.
- Break large tasks into smaller pieces. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a really big task before you. Breaking big tasks into small pieces will help you get started, which is often the hardest part. For example, writing a paper can be reduced to pieces such as doing research, preparing an outline, and writing an introductory paragraph.
- Limit distractions. Spend a few days recording how much time you spend on distractions such as social media or TV. Then, cut out the distractions you don’t actually enjoy, and schedule time for the ones you do enjoy. Always set an alarm so you know when to get back to work.
- If you can’t limit your distractions, get away from them. If you know that you will succumb to distractions, get away from them. Create clear boundaries between work and play by putting up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, turning off your phone, or going to a coffee shop without a TV. Everyone is different in this regard— make the changes you need to focus.
- Give yourself time between tasks. Plan on arriving to appointments 15 minutes early, and bring something to do in case you find yourself waiting. Scheduling some buffer time will help to reduce your stress when things inevitably run long.
- Let yourself be less than perfect. If you try to complete every task to perfection, some of your other responsibilities won’t get done at all. Focus on completing everything to an acceptable level, and then go back to improve upon your work if you have time.
When stress is at its worst, hobbies, relationships, and free time are neglected. As a result, stress worsens. This creates a cycle where self-care is neglected, and stress grows.
“Self-care” refers to your favorite activities that help you relax, have fun, or feel energized. These could include talking with a friend, going for a walk, reading, listening to music, or whatever else you enjoy. The important part of self-care is not so much what you do—it’s just that you do it.
To start, the Self-Care Assessment can be used to explore current self-care habits while giving ideas of where self-care can be improved:
- Self-care means taking time to do things you enjoy. Usually, self-care involves everyday activities that you find relaxing, fun, or energizing. These activities could be as simple as reading a book, or as big as taking a vacation.
- Self-care also means taking care of yourself. This means eating regular meals, getting enough sleep, caring for personal hygiene, and anything else that maintains good health.
- Make self-care a priority. There will always be other things to do, but don’t let these interrupt the time you set aside for self-care. Self-care should be given the same importance as other responsibilities.
- Set specific self-care goals. It’s difficult to follow through with vague goals, such as “I will take more time for self-care”. Instead, set specific goals, such as “I will walk for 30 minutes every evening after dinner” ( 8 ).
- Make self-care a habit. Just like eating one apple doesn’t eliminate health problems, using self-care just once won’t have much effect on reducing stress. Choose activities that you can do often, and that you will stick with.
- Set boundaries to protect your self-care. You don’t need a major obligation to say “no” to others—your self-care is reason enough. Remind yourself that your needs are as important as anyone else’s.
- A few minutes of self-care is better than no self-care. Set an alarm reminding you to take regular breaks, even if it’s just a walk around the block, or an uninterrupted snack. Oftentimes, stepping away will energize you to work more efficiently when you return.
- Unhealthy activities don’t count as self-care. Substance use, over-eating, and other unhealthy behaviors might hide stress temporarily, but they cause more problems in the long run.
- Keep up with self-care, even when you’re feeling good. Doing so will keep you in a healthy routine. Plus, self-care might be part of the reason why you’re feeling good!
Not sure what to do? Use the Activity List worksheet to get some ideas.
Stress is caused by our thoughts about a situation, not by the situation itself. Two people in the exact same situation might have different levels of stress (or no stress at all), just because of how they think about it ( 2 ).
Oftentimes, the thoughts that cause stress are irrational or exaggerated, but we respond to them as if they are factual ( 2 ). Irrational thoughts that lead to stress may look like the following:
“I’ll never get through this.” “I have to be perfect all the time.” “If I don’t get an A on the test, I’m a total failure.”
The process of identifying and changing these irrational thoughts is called cognitive restructuring. See our guide and worksheets on cognitive restructuring to learn specific techniques:
Other stress management resources:
1. Arck, P. C., Slominski, A., Theoharides, T. C., Peters, E. M., & Paus, R. (2006). Neuroimmunology of stress: skin takes center stage. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 126(8), 1697-1704.
2. Barlow, D. H. (2007). Principles and practice of stress management. Guilford Press.
3. Chrousos, G. P. (2009). Stress and disorders of the stress system. Nature reviews endocrinology, 5(7), 374.
4. Eerde, W. V. (2003). Procrastination at work and time management training. The Journal of psychology, 137(5), 421-434.
5. Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2010). The neurobiology of stress management. Neuroendocrinology letters, 31(1), 19-39.
6. Gelberg, S., & Gelberg, H. (2005). Stress management interventions for veterinary students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 32(2), 173-181.
7. Grafton, E., Gillespie, B., & Henderson, S. (2010, November). Resilience: the power within. In Oncology nursing forum (Vol. 37, No. 6, p. 698).
8. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Goal-setting theory of motivation. International journal of management, business, and administration, 15(1), 1-6.
9. Michie, S. (2002). Causes and management of stress at work. Occupational and environmental medicine, 59(1), 67-72.
10. Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K., & Prkachin, K. M. (2011). Gratitude and well‐being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention?. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(3), 350-369.
11. Rose, R. D., Buckey Jr, J. C., Zbozinek, T. D., Motivala, S. J., Glenn, D. E., Cartreine, J. A., & Craske, M. G. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of a self-guided, multimedia, stress management and resilience training program. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(2), 106-112.
12. Schetter, C. D., & Dolbier, C. (2011). Resilience in the context of chronic stress and health in adults. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(9), 634-652.
13. Southwick, S. M., Vythilingam, M., & Charney, D. S. (2005). The psychobiology of depression and resilience to stress: implications for prevention and treatment. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol., 1, 255-291.
14. Varvogli, L., & Darviri, C. (2011). Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health science journal, 5(2), 74.
15. Wieckiewicz, M., Paradowska-Stolarz, A., & Wieckiewicz, W. (2014). Psychosocial aspects of bruxism: the most paramount factor influencing teeth grinding. BioMed research international, 2014.
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9 Printable Stress Management Worksheets & Templates
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Looking for the right tool to help manage stress? Stress management worksheets work very well for this purpose.
In today’s article, we’re sharing a collection of printable worksheets you can download, print out, and use to help manage and lower your stress and anxiety levels.
Table of Contents
Stress Can Be a Good Thing
In small amounts, stress can be a good thing. It gives us motivation and helps us to get things done.
Unfortunately, we live in an age where chronic stress has become a problem. Many of us have to deal with daily challenges in the workplace, making ends meet, and looking after our family’s and our own welfare.
Our fight-or-flight response is triggered to cope with what the body perceives as threats. When this happens constantly, we develop physical ailments such as respiratory problems, digestive issues, and heart disease that can lead to stroke.
Knowing how to manage stress is important not just for our health, but also for the overall quality of our life.
Some Techniques for Lowering Stress Naturally
Chronic stress is not caused by a single factor, and for many people it gets to the point where they need to take medication to keep it at bay.
Here are some suggestions on how to reduce stress naturally .
- Get enough sleep. The habit of going to bed after midnight has negative effects on your health. Find healthy ways to fall asleep earlier and you will likely see a decrease in your stress levels.
- Learn to let go. Holding on to negative feelings can put you constantly on edge. Develop the habit of letting go and moving on from the past to reduce your stress response.
- Eat whole foods. Research show that there is a correlation between the consumption of ultra-processed food and elevated stress levels . If you’re constantly stressed out, consider eating foods that are close to their natural state (e.g., fresh meat instead of hotdogs or deli meat and fresh fruits instead of canned).
- Develop an exercise routine. Moderate exercise is beneficial for lowering stress levels. You might want to consider signing up for yoga, going for a swim, or taking a walk to improve your mood and keep stress and anxiety at bay.
- Use a worksheet. Worksheets are a wonderful tool for learning how to control your stress response. They are easily accessible through different resources. The key is finding reliable resources that are designed or created by experts in stress management.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best worksheets that can be printed out and used instantly. Continue reading to check them out and see what works best for you.
1. Stress Management Tool
via Solutions For Living
If you’re looking for a worksheet that helps you manage stress quickly, here’s one from Solutions for Living that you might want to try.
This free, printable worksheet has sufficient space for writing down crucial information you need for stress management.
Use this worksheet to identify the following:
- Your stressors
- Your reactions
- The solutions that help you cope
2. Taking Control of Your Emotions
via Professional Counseling
Perhaps you’re currently experiencing a personal crisis and need something to help you cope with the stressful situation. This workbook created by Elly Prior is a great option.
In a gentle, informative way, the worksheet walks you through the emotional rollercoaster you may be going through right now and helps you find solid footing through actionable ideas that keep you from being overwhelmed.
3. Yoga Art Therapy for Stress Management
via Creative Counseling 101
This worksheet gives you the chance to work off steam and lower your stress levels. It has a fun theme of incorporating art and movement to alleviate anxious thoughts and emotions.
Yoga poses are printed on the first column of the worksheet. The second column encourages users to copy the picture and draw the pose.
Finally, the third column asks users to copy the picture by actually doing the yoga pose.
The activity works in two ways.
First, drawing the poses encourages mindfulness and moves your attention away from what’s causing your stress. Second, doing the yoga poses incorporates moderate exercise that helps lower stress levels in a natural way.
4. Stress Management Workbook
SafePost provides a series of Wellbeing Workbooks to help users learn more and cope with the stress they’re experiencing. There are four workbooks in this series, and the example above is workbook number one.
This printable workbook features 45 pages of helpful information for understanding stress, as well as activities and writing prompts that promote stress management.
5. Stress Diary
via Personal Development Insights
The habit of keeping a journal is a cathartic practice that provides a safe place where you can write down thoughts about what’s stressing you out.
This free, printable worksheet provides gentle encouragement and useful tips for alleviating stress and maintaining a stress diary where you record emotions, experiences, thoughts, and situations that give you stress or feelings of discomfort.
6. Stress Management Journal Worksheet
via TherapyAids on Etsy
This worksheet helps you regain control of your life and minimize your stress.
It can be used for your daily or weekly reflections, as well as stress management. The worksheet is helpful for identifying the things causing your stress, depression, or anxiety.
Some of the writing prompts in this worksheet help determine:
- What you need to do
- What you don’t need to do
- What you can’t control
- What is not your responsibility
It also features several mantras to remind you to stay grounded and let go of whatever is causing you stress.
7. Manage Stress Workbook
via US Department of Veterans Affairs
This workbook was designed for veterans as a guide for identifying and tracking stress, as well as for utilizing a variety of techniques and strategies for coping.
The workbook has 20 pages that provide valuable tools for stress management, such as:
- Key techniques for managing stress
- Stress management tracker
- Stress symptoms checklist
- Identifying your stressors worksheet
- Practicing mindfulness worksheet
8. Stress Journal
via ONTSpecialNeeds on Twitter
This Stress Journal emphasizes the importance of learning to recognize what causes stress before determining the coping strategies to be used.
To track the main stressors in one’s life, the user records the date, time, and details of the stressful situation(s) they encountered during the week.
The user also rates their stress level during that moment (high, medium, or low).
Finally, the user records their reaction to the stressful event.
When users keep track of stressors and their stress levels, much can be revealed about the nature of their stress. With this knowledge, they can then begin addressing it.
9. Introduction to Stress Management
via Therapist Aid
Finally, we have this printable worksheet from Therapist Aid. This is a three-page worksheet featuring questions and prompts to explore more deeply the user’s understanding of stress, as well as identify situations in their life that are a source of stress for them.
The worksheet asks users to identify the major physical symptoms that manifest as their response to stress.
This technique promotes self-awareness and mindfulness and can hopefully be a way to resolve a person’s extreme response to stress.
Final Thoughts on Stress Management Worksheets
There you have it—printable stress management worksheets to help improve your response to stressful situations.
Bear in mind that most stressful situations are beyond our control. The best thing you can do is to be aware of how you react to situations like this and, when necessary, change your reaction so as to protect your health and overall quality of life.
The following resources are worth checking out to learn more about stress management and improving your quality of life:
- Dealing with Stress: 19 Proven Ways to Relieve Your Stress
- How Does Visualization Promote Relaxation and Stress Reduction?
- 9 Eustress Examples of Good Stress in Your Life
- Eustress vs. Distress (How to Benefit from the Different Kinds of Stress)
- 5 TED Talks on Stress Management: Kelly McGonigal & Others
- 9 Benefits of Journaling on Your Health and Mental Well-Being
worksheet Stress is a feeling of being tense, overwhelmed, worn out, or exhausted. A small amount of stress can be motivating, but too much stress makes even small tasks seem daunting. Sometimes stress is the accumulation of many small hassles, while other times it is the result of major life changes or long-term problems... Self-Care Tips
Multiple, evidence-based stress reduction techniques have been shown to lower stress levels, “ resulting in a reduction of disease symptoms, lowering of biological indicators of disease, prevention of disease and improvement of patient’s quality of life ” (Varvogli & Darviri, 2011).
Many mindfulness-focused worksheets have been created to reduce stress and anxiety, and we share 11 examples below. The book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016) includes a great deal of information about anxiety, along with how ACT may help to disarm anxiety and fear.
worksheet Positive journaling can foster optimism, which contributes to stress resilience. Positive journaling involves writing about daily positive experiences. It tends to be easy to remember negative experiences, but it takes more work to recall and appreciate positive experiences.
There are two types of Stress. Eustress: positive, good stress that comes from situations that are enjoyable. (e.g., wining a game) Distress: Negative, bad stress that can be harmful to the body. (e.g., doing poorly on a test) Review your Stress Diary. From your stress list, identify examples of eustress and distress in the space below.