One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to break things up. No, that doesn’t mean you should go out and smash things to pieces ñ instead, you should take whatever task is causing you stress and break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces.

For instance, if you’re facing a messy room that needs to be cleaned up, but you have been avoiding it because it causes you stress, then you need to think about that mess in a new way. Don’t think about it as a whole. Think about the mess in its smaller parts.

What is one small thing you can do in the room to make the mess appear smaller? Is there some garbage that can be easily thrown away? Are there clothes or blankets that can be put away or moved to the laundry room? Are there books, movies, or music that could be returned back to their proper shelf? Simply pick one small task ñ the simpler the better ñ and get it done. Once that task is completed, pick another.

The same goes for large projects or assignments. Stop avoiding the situation just because it stresses you out. The longer you avoid it, the more stressed out it’s going to make you feel. Instead of getting stressed out, take some time to think about how you can break the task up into smaller, less stressful pieces.

Say your assignment requires you to write a detailed comparison of three different products. What are the steps you will need to take in order to complete the assignment? You will need to do some research on each of the products, decide upon their pros and cons, write up a rough draft, and then edit it to perfection. By determining the steps needed to complete the assignment, you can think about which small part you need to complete next instead of stressing over the finished product.

As you can see, breaking things up into a series of smaller tasks will allow you to take a step back from the larger picture and look at things from a new perspective. By only focusing on a smaller portion, you will feel less stressed out when faced with larger or more difficult tasks. This will make it easier for you to make real progress towards completing the task at hand.