Tips For Less Stress – From NAVY SEALs

Photo of Navy SEAL men standing side by side.  On the left, "tips for less stress from Navy Seals" is written in all black, and "navy seals" is inside a red text box.

Navy SEALs are an iconic example of extremely tough and resilient people who have learned to manage their stress and anxiety. Their skill sets are not unique, we all can learn from them.  Below, we list tips for less stress from Navy SEALs. This includes how to manage stress, and remain resilient in tough times, as well as tips to visualize success.  As teens, we can apply these techniques into our life, to help us deal with our own stress.

1. Box-Breathing

Navy SEALs use box-breathing to calm down in stressful situations. As a teen, I’ve also tried this technique – and found it really helpful.   So, what is box breathing?  We know that taking deep breaths helps us calm down (click here for why). This method also helps you think clearer, stop thinking about stressors, increase attention, and even “deactivates” that fight-or-flight reaction.  

When you’re feeling stressed, picture this box in your mind.  Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4, and repeat.  Navy SEALs usually repeat for around 5 minutes, but I’ve found that even just two or three rounds of box-breathing helps me calm down. 

Light yellow background, with a white box in the centre of the page. Inside the box is the Small Bits of Happiness logo. On each side of the exterior of the box is an arrow, going clockwise. At the top of the box "breathe in 1,2,3,4" is written. On the right of the box "hold 1,2,3,4," is written. At the bottom of the box "breathe out 1,2,3,4" is written. On the left of the box "hold 1,2,3,4" is written.

2. Embrace the Tough Moments

Navy SEALs need to power through those tough moments, whether they’re cold, tired, or ready to give-up.  Even though it can feel almost impossible to keep going when things are difficult, the SEALs manage stress by remembering one thing, and so should we:  The hardest moments are when most people give-up, but the tough people, they find a way to keep going.   When we find the will to keep going, we can power through any situation.  Also, keep in mind that it’s easy to excel when things are going well, but when things are hard, finding the will to keep going will allow you to succeed.  Whether you are a Navy SEAL or a teenager.

Young teen girl on the left with brown hair and grey sweater, with a hand on her face, looking really sad.  On the right, is her mom, also in a grey sweater, and black hair, trying to comfort her daughter.

3. See Yourself Succeeding

Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed in a situation that we think we’re bound to fail.  However, Navy SEALs handle stress by visualizing themselves successfully completing their tasks, step-by-step,  before they do it.  When you visualize yourself successfully doing something, step-by-step, it boosts your confidence and helps you see the way through the problems, into the end goal.

One of the best NAVY SEAL tips is to visualize success when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or any other way about an upcoming event. Think /visualize (see yourself) doing those hard things and succeeding at them!  For example, if you’re really stressed about doing a presentation in class, take some time a few days/hours before, in the car, while laying in bed, or listening to music, and visualize yourself. See yourself going up confidently, speaking loud and clear, and getting a good mark. You can do the same thing for an upcoming test, visualize going into the room, calmly writing the test, finishing at a good time, and then getting a good mark.  Another example might be if you’re feeling worried about going to an event (your parents’ Christmas party), and having to meet, talk, and spend time with new people.  While getting ready for the event, or driving to it, visualize yourself going in feeling confident, imagine having different conversations with people (such as what would you say to them, subjects of conversation), and overall, visualize yourself having a good time!

Regardless of the cause of your stress, remember you are not bound to fail, instead see yourself succeeding. 

Bright yellow background with teen girl standing, wearing a long-sleeve yellow sweater and blue jeans.  She has long blonde hair, and has an excited expression on her face.

We hope that you can incorporate these 3 Navy SEAL resilience hacks into your daily life.  They really are helpful in dealing with stressful, overwhelming situations, and giving you a small bit of happiness.


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