The Platter Exercise: How to Manage Your Stress, and the Stress of Others

At this current moment in time, there is a great deal of tension, stress and uncertainty in the world. Which is why it’s so important that you learn how to manage your stress and the stress of others. So today I’m sharing The Platter Exercise with you.

The Platter Exercise is an easy and important tool to keep handy in your stress management toolbox.

We’re all feeling the stress of the world right now.

And appropriately so, we’re turning to each other for support, counsel and a safe place to lean.

Yet, as much as you want to be there for others, you also want to ensure you’re not taking on other people’s stress, i.e. fears, angst, uncertainty.


There are a variety of tools I share with clients in my coaching practice, but one of my personal favorites is what I call, The Platter Exercise.

Imagine I’m holding out a beautiful ceramic, platter in front of me. (Feel free to design your own.)

As a friend, family member, or stranger in the grocery checkout line shares their thoughts, woes, opinions, fears, i.e. STRESS, I allow all of THAT STRESS to rest on the metaphoric platter I’m holding in front of me.

Go ahead, pile it on,” I think to myself.

I hold that platter for them, knowing it can grow in size to accommodate.

a platter to hold other's stress

Free Yourself from the Stress of Others

After all the stress, angst and uncertainty have been piled atop this metaphoric platter, that is the moment for you and your companion to assess, analyze and advise as necessary.

Or maybe not.

Often just sharing all their stress is enough for your friend, family member or grocery store stranger to relieve themselves of their burdens, at least temporarily.

But here is THE KEY to the entire Platter Exercise and a step that should never be missed!

This is the vital piece that will free you up from taking on the stress of others. 

When the “platter exchange” is complete; when all that STRESS on the platter has been held and examined, the entire contents of the platter go back to the owner.

Let me repeat – Everything on the platter goes back to the owner of the original stress.

That way, You do not take on the stress of others!!!

It’s Up to Them

Then it’s up to them.

Do they want to take all that stress back on?

Perhaps. It’s up to them. But it’s not yours to take on.

Do they want to “let it all go”?

Perhaps. To drop the entire platter? Pick and choose a few items to keep? Let it all fly away into the ethers?

Again, it’s up to them. Not YOU.

None of this is yours to take on.

You have enough of your own stuff to carry.

They can choose to take the stress back on, let it fly away, or whatever, BUT THEIR STRESS IS NOT YOURS TO TAKE ON!

You have enough of your own stress in your life to carry, right?

The Platter Exercise is a kind and loving way to be fully present to others; to hold and hear what they have to say and honor what is theirs (not yours).

It’s a way to send the message that you trust and believe in them so much, that you know they can manage their own stress.

And Now for Your Stress

It’s not healthy to take on the stress of others, right? Because you already have enough of your own to carry?

So I have another wonderful tool to alleviate yourself from your own stress and all the burdens you may carry.

You can download my helpful (and free) tool here –

The Overwhelm Solution: 3 Simple Steps to Move from Overwhelm to Ease

In many ways, it’s like The Platter Exercise, but designed to help manage your own stress, rather than others.

​As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the tools and techniques I’ve shared, as well any of your own that you’ve found successful.

I’d also love to connect over on Instagram. 

Many Blessings!