Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of life for most people. Over time, chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health, so it’s important to minimize it as much as possible. It’s great if you can find ways to avoid the things that cause you to stress, but many times it’s out of your control. If life’s got you feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed, give these 10 tangible ways to reduce stress a try. Not only are they good for your mental health, but many of them will also improve your physical health, too!
1. Get Some Exercise
Exercise is one of the best was to reduce stress. Studies show that people who exercise regularly experience less anxiety than those who don’t. One of the main reasons for this is that exercise encourages the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood boosters and pain killers.
Exercising regularly is also a great way to improve the quality of your sleep, and that plays a key role in reducing the negative effects of chronic stress. Exercise also promotes mental wellbeing by helping you feel more comfortable and confident in your body.
But that doesn’t mean you have to drag yourself to the gym every day. Any type of exercise that you enjoy can reduce stress, including yoga, walking, dancing, swimming, and more. Exercise that involves repetitive movements of large muscle groups is especially good for relieving stress.
2. Try Supplements
There are many vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other nutrients that can be extremely helpful for combating stress. Holistic health and nutrition experts at Rahav Wellness recommend a “combination of vitamin C, B complex, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B5, and zinc to keep stress and anxiety in check and improve sleep patterns.” They administer this formula as an IV cocktail to provide immediate stress relief.
Valerian, kava kava, and lemon balm are traditional herbs used for reducing stress and relieving insomnia. Studies also show that the popular Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha is very effective against stress and anxiety. If you’re a tea drinker, you might also consider drinking more green tea because it contains polyphenols that could lower stress by boosting serotonin levels.
3. Use Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a lovely way to reduce stress. You can introduce essential oils into your environment in many different ways. Try scented candles, a diffuser, or add them to your massage or bath oil. Many scents are soothing and stress relieving, so experiment to see which ones you like best. Some of the most popular are:
- Ylang ylang
4. Cut Back on the Caffeine
While it’s true that tea and coffee contain beneficial antioxidants, caffeine is also a stimulant that can increase anxiety. Everyone has a different threshold for how much caffeine they can consume before they begin to feel anxious or jittery. Consuming too much caffeine from day to day can also interfere with your sleep patterns.
Anxiety and lack of sleep are major contributors to stress. If you consume a lot of coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages, consider cutting back to see if it helps reduce your stress levels.
5. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is a great way to handle stress. Writing your problems down on paper helps to clear your mind and look at issues in a new way, but don’t stop there. You should also write about the things you’re grateful for. This helps you focus more on the positive things going on in your life.
6. Spend Time with Your Loved Ones
Relying on your loved ones when you’re going through a stressful time is a healthy way to combat stress. Having a strong support system gives a feeling of belonging and acceptance, which is crucial when you’re feeling down.
In fact, one study showed that spending time with good friends and close family encouraged the release of oxytocin in women, which is a natural stress reliever. Another study showed that men and women who don’t have strong social connections are more likely to be overwhelmed by stress and depression.
7. Laugh More
They say laughter is the best medicine, and when it comes to stress, laughter can be beneficial in a number of ways. Have you ever noticed that it’s kind of hard to feel stressed when you’re laughing? That’s because laughter relieves tension, relaxes your muscles, and relieves the body’s stress response
Regular laughter can even boost your mood and strengthen the immune system. So, hang out with your friends and family and watch something funny on TV when you’re feeling stressed. Look for ways to find the humor in life!
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
This is a big one, and it’s something many of us struggle with. While you can’t control everything that stresses you out, there are definitely some things you can take charge of. Do you find yourself overcommitted often? If so, you need to learn how to say no!
Stop taking on more than you can handle. Juggling too many commitments and responsibilities will just leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Being more selective about what you commit to can significantly reduce your stress levels.
9. Stop Procrastinating
Another way to reduce stress is to stay on top of your responsibilities. When you put tasks off until the last minute, it can leave you scrambling to get caught up, which only creates more stress. Try creating a to-do list and prioritize the things that need to be done first.
Be sure to give yourself realistic deadlines and focus on the things that need to be done today rather than jumping around between tasks. Trying to multitask on several products at once is a sure way to increase stress.
10. Practice Yoga Regularly
Yoga is a very popular way to reduce stress and it’s effective for every age group, from children to seniors. There are many different styles of yoga, but they all focus on strengthening the connection between the body and mind by increasing breath and body awareness.
Research shows that yoga is a wonderful way to boost your mood naturally, and some say it’s just as effective as taking an antidepressant. Yoga can lower cortisol levels and improve your heart rate and blood pressure, which is crucial when you’re dealing with chronic stress.
Chronic stress can have a major impact on your health and quality of life. Although you can’t always avoid stress, there are lots of things you can do to combat it and reduce its effects. Try incorporating one or two of these techniques into your everyday routine for a proactive way to minimize the impacts of stress on your life.
About Donna Maurer
As an experienced content creator, Donna has covered health and wellness topics for numerous publications. She is a former writer for an alternative medicine clinic and can often be found researching the latest industry approaches and trends. Donna loves sharing the insight she’s learned from her own wellness journey on her portfolio, in the hopes that it will inspire others to pursue a healthier, more holistic lifestyle.
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