5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
Are you looking for ways to relieve stress? We’re here to help. Our ever-changing world environment introduces new stressors that compound in our everyday life. Turning on the news can be overwhelming; things outside of your control can cause you stress. From affecting your mood and making you feel sad or irritable, to physical complications like causing upset stomach and heartburn, stress can be detrimental to our overall health and well-being. Thankfully, there are a number of simple ways to relieve stress, many of which are quick and easy enough to fit into your day-to-day routine. Discover five of our favorite ways to reduce stress when you explore the info below.
5 Ways to Relieve Stress
1. Take care of your body
Your body and mind work together to make you, you. When you neglect one side of yourself, the other side feels it, too. Establishing healthy lifestyle habits like eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough rest each night can benefit your mind and body, helping you handle stressful situations better when they arise. Think of food like fuel; a nutritious, fiber-rich diet benefits our gut health to help us feel our best day in and day out. Eating foods like lean meats, whole grains, and leafy greens help ensure the body gets the vitamins and nutrients needed to conquer the day. As far as sleep goes, sleep allows the body to revert to a parasympathetic state.1 The parasympathetic nervous system is important because it helps you recover from stress you experience during the day.2 In addition, there are other benefits to sleep. Being well rested will also help you avoid those midmorning and midafternoon slumps, which always seem to set in right when your inbox is blowing up.
2. Take care of your mind
Taking care of your body is important. Whether you’re trying a new fitness class for the first time or cooking a healthy recipe you’ve never made before, caring for your physical health can be fun and helps reduce stress levels; but remember: taking care of your mind is an effective tool in fighting stress as well. When you feel overwhelmed, step away from what you’re doing for a few minutes and give your mind a break. Spending even just a few minutes meditating each day can help calm your stress levels.3 The benefits of meditation are both emotional and physical. Emotionally, meditation can help you focus on the present moment, while reducing any negative emotions you may be feeling.4 As far as physical benefits go, some research suggests meditation can help you manage symptoms of high blood pressure, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and much more.5 If you’re experiencing stress, try meditating to feel healthier and happier.
3. Get some exercise
Daily workouts are a great way to relieve stress. According to the American Heart Association, exercise can help relieve stress and improve your mood;6 and the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise can also help you control your appetite, improve your sleep quality, increase your stamina, and lower your blood pressure.7 Don’t worry if you don’t like the gym, or if you don’t belong to one. Physical activity like walking, biking, and dancing can also help with stress. If you’re interested, try yoga. Yoga uses breathing exercises and mindfulness practices to manage stress. It doesn’t matter which type of exercise you choose—only that you choose one that makes you happy and relaxed.
4. Wake up your senses
Sometimes, stress can cause you to get stuck inside your own head. When this happens, the only voice you hear is your own, reminding you of all the things you still need to finish before the day is complete. One suggestion: tune out that voice, and tune into your senses instead. Actions like lighting a candle with your favorite scent or putting on a song you love can help you relax and relieve your stress levels. If you have a furry friend, you might want to reach down and give them a pet. Pets provide love and companionship, making their presence especially helpful during stressful times.
5. Plan, prioritize and set expectations
The world is constantly changing, and our ways of working and living have changed with it. If you feel like your schedule is always packed, or that balancing your work life and home life has grown more challenging, you’re not alone. Being busy can definitely increase stress levels for many of us. One thing you can do to mitigate this stress is to plan ahead. Instead of hitting the hay with worries about tomorrow fresh in your mind, write down what you would like to accomplish the next day and when you would like to do it. Putting a plan in place for yourself can help tasks look and feel more manageable (and allow you to catch some nice shut-eye that night). If your schedule is busy, prioritize the items that are most important. To do this, you’ll need to set clear expectations for yourself—and for others. Remember, no person can be every place at once, and it’s okay to say no. Don’t guilt trip yourself about what you can’t finish. Do the best you can, and be your best self whenever you can. The rest is outside of your control.
You can’t always predict or prevent the stressful situations we encounter. However, you can control your reactions to them. Remember, when it comes to stress, sometimes it’s as simple as just taking a deep breath.
- Autonomic activity during sleep predicts memory consolidation in humans. PNAS. https://www.pnas.org/content/113/26/7272. Accessed 7/8/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
- Stress Effects on the Body: Nervous System. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress/effects-nervous. Accessed 7/8/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
- Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858. Accessed 5/7/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
- Working Out to Relieve Stress. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/working-out-to-relieve-stress. Accessed 7/8/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.