15 Simple Ways To Reduce Stress
Reducing stress comes with countless benefits. High stress levels can quickly and seriously affect your physical and mental health making it crucial to learn how to manage your stress.
If your stress levels are high you can experience side effects like headaches, increased depression, heartburn, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a higher risk of heart attack.
Almost everything in our lives can either create more stress or help relieve stress so it’s crucial to realize how your environment affects this. You can create spaces in your environment that help you combat stress and discover relaxation techniques you can turn to when you feel overwhelmed.
Everyone can benefit from relaxation techniques and learning how to best create a personalized environment that will either help you de-stress or gear up for a productive workday.
There are several relaxation techniques for stress relief that allow you to handle stress in healthy ways. Everyone runs into stressful moments every day, but there are ways we can be mindful of our stress level and not let it run our lives.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Breathing is an essential act and breathing exercises are a great mental health tool when you need to slow down.
Don’t force yourself to do breathing exercises because that can cause more stress if it feels like a chore, but there are ways to achieve the best calming effect with breathing techniques. Trying to do them once or twice a day in a comfortable area in comfortable clothes for 10 minutes or more is a good general goal.
There are several different breathing techniques including ones for deep breathing and practicing breath focus and breath control. Being aware of and bringing focus to your breathing is one of the best healthy alternatives for handling stress.
Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
There are different types of relaxation techniques that you may not have heard of before including progressive muscle relaxation. The progressive muscle relaxation approach is a particular type of breathing technique that adds another step of tensing and releasing tension in particular muscles.
This technique stands out from other breathing exercises because it helps you relax both mentally and physically. Typically, you tense a group of muscles as you breathe in and then release that tension as you breathe out.
This breathing technique allows you to completely release any tension in your muscles and has you feeling calm within 10 minutes.
Use An Air Purifier To Fight Environmental Stressors
There are various kinds of environmental stressors that can increase your stress level throughout the day. Noise, light, and colors are just a few examples. But, there are invisible environmental stressors too, and the biggest one is air quality.
Poor air quality can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health, but purchasing a trusted air purifier can help maintain healthy air quality in your home or office. It’s important to breathe clean air especially when doing deep breathing exercises. Controlling your air quality can also help with your mental health and productivity as it circulates clean air into your home.
Pay Attention To Your Sleep Schedule
According to the American Psychological Association, your sleep schedule is directly tied to your stress level. In short, it’s a vicious cycle where stress affects your sleep, and not getting enough sleep at night makes you stressed.
Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and those who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night reported higher levels of stress, fatigue, and lethargy after not having enough quality sleep the night before.
There are several simple things you can try to get to bed quicker at night and get quality sleep. Some tips from the Mayo Clinic include not looking at electronics 30 minutes before going to bed, making sure your bedroom is cooler, dark, and quiet at night, not going to bed hungry or stuffed, and adding more physical activity into your daily routine.
Spend Time With Your Pets
That’s right, the NIH reports that recent studies have shown that spending time with your pets can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, boost your mood, decrease feelings of loneliness, and increase feelings of social support.
Dogs are known to be therapy pets that help individuals or visit hospitals or schools to help patients or students lower their stress and boost their mood. If you already have a pet try taking a break from whatever is stressing you and go pet the dog or watch the fish swim in the tank for a few minutes.
Having an animal in the house is a big responsibility and shouldn’t be a decision that’s made lightly, but if you’re in a place where you can take care of a new best friend whether it’s a cat, dog, bird, or fish, you and your new bestie will both benefit.
Take A Walk Everyday
Introducing simple physical activity throughout your day and getting outside can help reduce your stress and help maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Walking improves your mood and leads to meditation and reflection as your mind is clear and there are no distractions. Any kind of exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress, but taking a walk is an achievable goal for most people.
Find The Best Environment For You
Different types of environments affect us in different ways and finding what works best for you is important. There are several ways to create a relaxing environment for yourself that will help to reduce stress.
Try to have a clean and clutter-free environment that’s still personalized to you. Add personalized touches with photos of family or friends, decor that you love, and comfortable furniture that you enjoy.
Even the color scheme of your environment can play a factor in your mood. There are calming colors like lighter shades of greens, blues, pinks, and purples. There are also colors that have the opposite effect and are more energizing and stimulating like red and orange.
Having your workspace filled with red might be a great choice, but wouldn’t work for an area where you want to relax. Painting the walls of your bedroom light blue will probably help you calm your anxieties before going to sleep.
These are general guidelines and suggestions that should help you begin to build the most beneficial environment for you, but it’s personalized to you, so try to have fun while you look for the best fit!
Clean Your House
Cleaning is a coping technique that can help reduce anxiety and stress along with creating a more comfortable and clutter-free environment. Cleaning allows you some control over your life if you feel overwhelmed by things out of your control.
The act of cleaning also allows you to feel productive about something good and check off a task that’s probably on your schedule. The act of cleaning helps reduce stress and having a clean, clutter-free home as a result also benefits everyone making cleaning a win-win.
Pay Attention To Your Diet
Your diet can impact your stress levels as well. Foods high in fiber like greens and berries can help reduce stress and anxiety. Adding foods or supplements with probiotics and vitamin C can also help.
It’s also important to cut out any foods or drinks that you notice are consistently hurting you instead of helping you. Being more mindful of your diet and making adjustments when needed should help you reduce stress and maintain healthy physical and mental health.
Put Down The Electronics
A survey from the American Psychological Association found that constantly checking electronics throughout the day was linked to higher levels of stress. Social media creates most of this significant stress and stopping yourself from checking social media throughout the day can help lower your stress levels.
Since many jobs these days involve some sort of technology and checking work emails, it’s difficult to get away from electronic devices. It’s important to take breaks throughout the workday and walk around your space. Try to avoid being hunched over your laptop looking at emails for long periods of time.
Looking at electronic devices all day also strains your eyes as well as your mind. If you find yourself getting frustrated and stressed, then walk away from the computer or phone for a while.
Listen To Music Or Watch A Movie
This use of technology is different from hunching over your phone or laptop and doom scrolling.
Similar to colors, different kinds of music have different effects on us while listening. A slower tempo can help quiet your mind and relax your muscles while a faster upbeat tempo can help you feel more alert and able to concentrate. Mixing a slower tempo song with ambient sounds of thunder or rain will reduce stress and anxiety.
Listening to the right type of music can help calm you and get your mind off whatever is upsetting you. Plugging in a pair of headphones, lying down, and closing your eyes while you listen to some of your favorite songs, or try something new, can be incredibly relaxing.
Watching a movie has similar stress reducing effects and other psychological benefits beyond stress relief. Watching a movie allows you to disconnect and focus on another story for a few hours. Comforting movies like comedies might be a go to, but stressful movies, like horror films that are designed to get your blood pumping, can also help as we release stress in a more controlled way over fictional characters and their storylines.
Yoga is one of the best activities to help you ward off the effects of stress. Yoga combines several benefits including relaxation, breathing exercises, meditation, and physical exercise all in one.
Finding a yoga routine that works for you doesn’t have to be stressful as most yoga poses and breathing techniques will help even if they aren’t the perfect fit. Like everything else on this list, it’s a personalized routine that might take some time to figure out.
Just doing yoga 10 minutes a day can help reduce stress levels, anxiety, and depression while also being a form of exercise that keeps you moving.
Pay Attention To Your Caffeine Intake
Coffee and caffeinated tea are go-to drinks throughout the workday. They help you keep focused and awake when you need that pick me up in the morning and middle of the day, but it’s important to pay attention to whether you have too much caffeine in a day, which can lead to anxiety and stress.
Typically 400 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee, 4 shots of espresso, or 7 cups of black tea, in a day is a healthy maximum for most adults. Anything more than that and the negative effects of caffeine begin to outweigh the benefits.
At a healthy intake level, caffeine can help reduce stress, but when overdone on a daily basis it can mimic the effects of chronic stress. Paying attention to your caffeine intake and when to switch to decaf can help keep your stress levels down and keep your sleep schedule on track.
Work On Your Time Management Skills
Having a proper schedule that lays out what you need to accomplish and giving yourself enough time to accomplish those things will help with your productivity and your stress level. Procrastinating always creates more stress so having an easy to follow schedule is key to maintaining a healthy stress level.
If you’re constantly trying to play catch up with your to-do list, then readjust your schedule so you can start realistically looking at your productivity instead of always pushing yourself too hard. It’s important to celebrate small victories and finish tasks incrementally instead of trying to finish everything all at once.
Try To Meditate
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation has several benefits including relieving stress and helping mitigate the symptoms of illnesses like anxiety, asthma, depression, chronic pain, and even cancer.
There are different types of meditation like mindfulness meditation and Tai chi. Meditation practices can also be done at the same time as your breathing exercises or yoga routine. Relaxed breathing, a quiet location, and a comfortable position are some elements of meditation.
If you can’t relax in a completely quiet setting, adding calming music can help, or going on a walk or reading and reflecting can achieve the same results.
There are several ways to reduce stress, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for you. And then working those actions into your daily routine where you can look forward to them and their stress reducing benefits.