15 Easy Techniques to Relieve Stress
Activities that promote self-care may help relieve stress and anxiety. Exercise and mindfulness practices are examples of these.
Many people experience stress and anxiety on a regular basis. In fact, millions of adults in the United States report feeling stressed or anxious on a daily basis.
Every day, many people deal with stress. Work, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are all aspects of daily life that can cause stress.
Furthermore, genetics, social support, coping style, and personality type all influence a person’s susceptibility to stress, implying that some people are more likely to become stressed than others.
Furthermore, studies show that parents, people in professions such as healthcare and social work, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be stressed.
It is critical for overall health to reduce chronic stress in daily life as much as possible. This is because chronic stress is harmful to your health and increases your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression.
It’s critical to understand that stress is not the same as mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, which require medical attention. Although the suggestions below may help with many types of stress, they may not help people suffering from these conditions.
Here are 15 evidence-based ways to relieve stress.
Increase your physical activity.
If you’re feeling stressed, moving your body on a consistent basis may help.Increase your physical activity.
A 6-week study of 185 university students discovered that doing aerobic exercise twice a week reduced overall perceived stress and perceived stress due to uncertainty. Furthermore, the exercise regimen significantly reduced self-reported depression.
Many other studies have shown that physical activity reduces stress and improves mood, whereas sedentary behavior can lead to increased stress, poor mood, and sleep disturbances.
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that regular exercise improves symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Start with gentle activities like walking or biking if you’re currently inactive. Choosing an activity that you enjoy may improve your chances of sticking with it in the long run.
Maintain a healthy diet
Your diet has an impact on all aspects of your health, including your mental health.
According to research, people who eat a diet high in ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to have high levels of perceived stress.
Chronic stress can cause you to overeat and reach for highly appealing foods, which can harm your overall health and mood.
Furthermore, not eating enough nutrient-dense whole foods may increase your risk of deficiency in nutrients important for stress and mood regulation, such as magnesium and B vitamins.
Reduce your intake of highly processed foods and beverages while increasing your consumption of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, and seeds. As a result, your stress resilience may improve.
Reduce phone and screen time.
Smartphones, computers, and tablets have become an unavoidable part of many people’s daily lives.
While these devices are frequently required, using them too frequently may increase stress levels.
Several studies have found a link between excessive smartphone use and “iPhone addiction” and higher levels of stress and mental health disorders.
Too much screen time in general is associated with lower psychological well-being and increased stress levels in both adults and children.
Furthermore, screen time may interfere with sleep, leading to increased stress levels.
Several vitamins and minerals contribute significantly to your body’s stress response and mood regulation. As a result, a lack of one or more nutrients may have an impact on your mental health and ability to cope with stress.
Furthermore, some research suggests that certain dietary supplements may help reduce stress and improve mood.
When you are chronically stressed, for example, your magnesium levels may become depleted.
Because this mineral is essential for your body’s stress response, it’s critical that you get enough of it every day. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce stress in people who are chronically stressed.
An 8-week study of 264 people who were deficient in magnesium discovered that taking 300 mg of this mineral daily helped reduce stress levels. This dose of magnesium was even more effective when combined with vitamin B6.
Other supplements that have been shown to help reduce stress include rhodiola, ashwagandha, B vitamins, and L-theanine.
Dietary supplements, on the other hand, may not be appropriate or safe for everyone. If you want to use supplements to help relieve stress, talk to your doctor first.
Take care of yourself
Setting aside time for self-care may aid in stress reduction. Examples in practice include:
- going for a walk outside
- taking a bath
- lighting candles
- reading a good book
- preparing a healthy meal
- stretching before bed
- getting a massage
- practicing a hobby
- using a diffuser with calming scents
- practicing yoga
According to studies, people who practice self-care have lower stress levels and a higher quality of life, whereas a lack of self-care is associated with a higher risk of stress and burnout.
Taking care of yourself is essential for living a healthy life. This is especially important for people who are under a lot of stress, such as nurses, doctors, teachers, and caregivers.
Self-care does not have to be elaborate or difficult. It simply means looking after your own happiness and well-being.
Certain scents, such as those found in candles or essential oils, may be especially relaxing. Here are some scents that are soothing:
- Roman chamomile
- orange or orange blossom
Aromatherapy is the practice of using scents to improve one’s mood. Several studies suggest that aromatherapy can help with anxiety and sleep.
Reduce your caffeine consumption
Caffeine is a chemical that stimulates your central nervous system and is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks.
Excessive consumption may aggravate and heighten feelings of anxiety.
Furthermore, excessive consumption may interfere with your sleep. As a result, stress and anxiety symptoms may worsen.
Caffeine tolerance levels vary from person to person. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, try substituting decaffeinated herbal tea or water for coffee or energy drinks.
Although many studies show that coffee is healthy when consumed in moderation, it is recommended that caffeine intake be kept under 400 mg per day, which is equivalent to 4-5 cups (0.9-1.2 L) of coffee.
However, caffeine sensitive people may experience increased anxiety and stress after consuming much less caffeine than this, so it’s important to consider your individual tolerance.
Spend time with family and friends.
Friends and family can provide social support to help you get through stressful times and cope with stress.
A study of 163 Latinx college students found that lower levels of support from friends, family, and romantic partners were associated with loneliness, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress.
A social support network is essential for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling lonely and don’t have friends or family to turn to, social support groups can be beneficial. Consider joining a club or sports team, or volunteering for a worthy cause.
Establish boundaries and learn to say no.
Some stressors are beyond your control, but not all. Taking on too much may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you have for self-care.
Taking control of your personal life may aid in stress reduction and mental health protection.
One way to accomplish this is to say “no” more frequently. This is especially true if you are taking on more than you can handle, as juggling multiple responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Stress can be reduced by being selective about what you take on and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load.
Furthermore, setting boundaries, especially with people who contribute to your stress, is a healthy way to protect your well-being. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member not to drop by unexpectedly or canceling standing plans with a friend who is prone to causing drama.
Develop the ability to avoid procrastination.
Another way to manage your stress is to prioritize your tasks and avoid procrastination.
Procrastination can reduce your productivity and force you to scramble to catch up. This can lead to stress, which has a negative impact on your health and sleep quality.
Procrastination was linked to higher stress levels in a study of 140 Chinese medical students. Procrastination and delayed stress reactions were also linked to more negative parenting styles, such as punishment and rejection, according to the study.
If you frequently procrastinate, it may be beneficial to develop the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Set realistic deadlines for yourself and work your way down the list.
Work on the tasks that must be completed today and give yourself blocks of uninterrupted time. Changing tasks or multitasking can be stressful in and of itself.
Attend a yoga class
Yoga has grown in popularity as a stress-relieving and exercise method for people of all ages.
While yoga styles vary, most have the same goal in mind: to connect your body and mind by increasing body and breath awareness.
Several studies have found that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety and depression symptoms. Furthermore, it has the potential to improve psychological well-being.
These advantages appear to be related to how it affects your nervous system and stress response.
Yoga may help reduce cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate while increasing gamma aminobutyric acid levels, a neurotransmitter that is low in people with mood disorders.
Mindfulness refers to practices that bring you back to the present moment.
Meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, are two stress-reduction techniques that use mindfulness.
Meditating on a regular basis, even for short periods of time, may help improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
If you want to try meditation, there are numerous books, apps, and websites that can teach you the basics. There may also be MBCT-trained therapists in your area.
Human touch may have a calming effect and aid in stress management.
Positive physical contact and sex, for example, have been shown in studies to help relieve stress and loneliness.
These types of interactions may aid in the release of oxytocin and the reduction of cortisol. As a result, these effects aid in lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Both high blood pressure and increased heart rate are physical symptoms of stress
Surprisingly, humans aren’t the only animals who cuddle to relieve stress. Chimpanzees will also cuddle stressed out friends.
Spend time in nature
Spending more time outside may help reduce stress. Spending time in green spaces, such as parks and forests, and being immersed in nature, according to studies, are healthy ways to manage stress.
A review of 14 studies found that spending as little as 10 minutes in nature can help improve psychological and physiological markers of mental well-being in college-aged people, such as perceived stress and happiness.
Hiking and camping are excellent options, but not everyone enjoys or has access to these activities. Even if you live in a city, you can find green spaces such as parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens.
Practice deep breathing
Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, causing your body to go into fight-or-flight mode.
Stress hormones cause physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, faster breathing, and constricted blood vessels during this reaction.
Deep breathing exercises may assist in activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.
Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration are all examples of deep breathing exercises.
Deep breathing aims to focus your attention 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 slows your heart rate and allows you to relax.
Spend time with your pet
Having a pet can help you relax and improve your mood.
When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body produces oxytocin, a hormone associated with happiness.
Furthermore, studies show that pet owners, particularly dog owners, have higher levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem, lower levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods.
A pet can also help relieve stress by giving you a sense of purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.
Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, chronic stress has a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, there are several evidence-based strategies that can assist you in reducing stress and improving your overall psychological well-being.
Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, limiting screen time, and spending more time outside are all effective strategies.