Feeling stressed? Everyone faces stress from time to time. It is a common experience for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress daily.
It is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Too much of untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems.
The good news is that in many cases, stress is manageable. With some patience and a few useful strategies, you can reduce your stress, whether it’s family stress or stress at the workplace. Here are 15 simple ways to relieve stress.
Regular exercise can help lower stress by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.
Exercise even for a minute. It doesn’t necessarily mean powerlifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office and at home or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation.
- Take Yoga
Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure. The concept of a meditative approach to mental health has become popular recently.
From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem. Try joining a class.
- Light a candle
Aromatherapy can help lower stress. Light a candle or use essential oils to benefit from calming scents. Here are some of the most calming scents:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Orange or orange blossom
- Reduce your caffeine intake and instead drink tea
High quantities of caffeine can increase stress. However, people have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.
Instead of coffee or energy drinks, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect on the nervous system.
- Write it down
One way to handle stress is to write things down. Keeping a journal can help relieve stress, especially if you focus on the positive.
- Chew gum
According to several studies, chewing gum may help you relax. It may also promote well-being and reduce stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.
- Spend time with friends and family and have a laugh
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with your friends and family or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy.
- Learn to say no and avoid procrastination
Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your stressors.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
A positive touch from cuddling, hugging, kissing and sex may help lower stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure.
- Listen to soothing music
Listening to music you like can be a good way to relieve stress. It can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too.
- Deep breathing
Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper.
When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful and clear your mind.
- Spend time with your pet
Spending time with your pet is a relaxing, enjoyable way to reduce stress.
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce stress.
- Eat right
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.
Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.
- Sleep better
Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time.
Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.
- Consider supplements
Certain supplements can reduce stress, including ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, green tea, and lemon balm.
Although stress may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. These tips often involve getting your mind away from the source of stress and will improve your overall work-life balance as well.
Don’t worry about seeming crazy — just tell yourself why you’re stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.