Listen to Music
The right song can change your outlook on the day in just a few seconds. Whether it’s classic rock or classical piano, figure out what your personal de-stressor might be and listen to it when you’re feeling tense.
Practice Deep Breathing
One of the simplest ways to reduce stress is to just breathe. In through your nose; out through your mouth. Close your eyes and imagine yourself inhaling calmness and exhaling anxiety. This technique can be used as long as you think it's necessary.
Go for a Walk
Sunshine and fresh air can go a long way when it comes to calming your mind. Even taking just ten minutes to leave the source of your stress to have a quick walk around the block can have a great impact on your perspective for the rest of the day.
Make a List
Sometimes simply putting all of your worries and concerns down on paper can help you to not feel so overwhelmed by it all. While you are at it, rank each of your tasks by how important they are, and as you complete them, cross them off of the list. The act of checking things off of a list has been proven to make you feel more accomplished than just finishing a project.
Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a technique that involves mentally telling each specific part of your body to relax. Start with your toes and work your way up, muscle by muscle. Focus on slowly tightening then relaxing each one individually. Paired with deep breathing, this technique can be even more relaxing.
There are many different scents that are proven to have calming capabilities, such as lavender, orange, jasmine, chamomile, and even chocolate. These scents can ease your anxiety and bring a feeling of balance and peace. However, it's not so much about specific scents, as it is finding one that resonates with you personally.
Count to Ten
If you ever feel like you are spiraling out of control, force yourself to take a few moments to mentally count to ten. This could prevent you from spouting off and saying things you don’t mean, and it also gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and feel more in control of the situation.
If you are stressed out, a cluttered environment will only make you feel more frazzled. Take a few minutes to take care of the sink full of dishes at home or to organize the paperwork on your desk at work. Even if clutter is not directly related to what's stressing you out, getting organized can make your problems feel much more manageable.
Read a Book
Getting temporarily lost in a good story or a beautiful poem can help your own problems not to seem so huge in your mind. Sometimes distracting yourself from the stress, even for just a few minutes, is all you need to feel more capable of handling everything on your plate.
Don't Forget to Laugh
Even when you don’t feel happy, smiling can instantly lift your mood. Laughter really is the best medicine, so don’t let the day slip by without seeking out something (or someone) that is guaranteed to make you chuckle.
Studies have shown that yoga is one of the most effective ways to boost your mood. Yoga helps relax your mind and body by blending physical and mental disciplines. Not only does it help reduce your stress levels, but yoga can also boost your overall immunity, which will contribute to your long-term health and happiness.
Meditation is a practice that focuses on drawing attention to your breathing and clearing your mind. Meditation encourages you to detach yourself from the stressors and troubles that have plagued you. Mediation can cause lasting positive changes to your mental state and provides its users with a practical way to handle stress whenever and wherever it may arise.
If something like yoga isn't exactly your cup of tea, any activity is an easy way to alleviate stress. Exercise of all kinds produces chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that help keep you stress-free while reducing stress-causing chemicals like cortisol. So, next time you're stressed go for a run, punch a punching bag, do some yoga, or do something that gets you up and active!
Take a Bath
A nice, relaxing soak in a warm bath will almost immediately remove all that tension from your muscles and help them relax. If you dim the lights, then that'll help produce melatonin (the chemical that helps you sleep) and reduce the production of cortisol (which causes stress). Wine, bubbles, and a book are all optional but very highly encouraged.
Get Some Sleep
Stress has clear links to insomnia, and poor sleep habits have been associated with higher stress levels. Poor sleep and stress feed into each other, so if you address your sleep habits, then your stress levels will go down. Make sure you try and get at least eight hours of sleep a night and work on creating a schedule that you can stick to. Doctors also recommend that you turn off screens within an hour before going to bed so your brain can disengage.
Eating your feelings is a bad idea, hands down. Comfort food may be useful while you're stressing, but your body won't be happy with you later. When we're stressed, our brains release cortisol, which makes us crave anything salty, sweet, and fatty for the temporary happiness they bring. So what do you do? Focus on eating healthy foods that fuel our bodies and support your brain. Instead of candy or potato chips, eat fruit or complex carbs like pasta or wheat bread.
Drink Some Tea
Studies have shown that drinking decaffeinated green tea leads to lower stress levels and greater feelings of relaxation after consumption. It can also help you fall asleep. Green tea isn't your only option either, peppermint, chamomile, and black tea are all known for their stress-relieving properties.
Talk With Friends
When we're stressed, it's fairly common not to want to see or deal with anyone. Instead, we just want to be left alone. It's been shown that spending time with someone you care about can actually decrease your stress for a simple reason: we smile more when we're with people we like. Smiling and laughing release endorphins that directly combat cortisol and the stress it causes. If you need to have a more serious conversation about your anxiety, talking it out with a trusted friend can help you get that weight off your shoulders.
Watch a Movie
Watching a funny or cute movie to get you laughing or smiling aka get those good-feeling endorphins pumping through your system. Similar to reading a book, movies allow you to escape into another reality for a little while by continually engaging you and distracting you from your stressors. Comedies will give you that extra laugh boost that helps your body combat stress.
Pet an Animal
Pet owners have been found to have less stress than non-pet owners time and time again. There's just something about those sweet fuzzy faces that releases oxytocin (another chemical promoting happiness). Pets also bring purpose into your life by keeping you active and providing constant companionship. Both qualities help reduce stress and anxiety. And if you can't have a pet? Volunteer at a shelter or find a friend with a furry critter that you can interact with.
Buy a Plant
The color green has long been found to promote feelings of calm, probably stemming from the natural settings it's typically associated with. So, having a little green plant or two can help reinforce that feeling of calm and relaxation. Plants can also act almost as stand-in pets. They provide us a purpose, a small little plant that relies on us to take care of it can motivate you.
Just like yoga and exercise, dancing releases endorphins and flush the body of toxins. Like yoga and meditation, it focuses a lot on strengthening the mind-body connection that helps you reach that peaceful state.
Do Some Journaling
Negative thoughts can be toxic and are easy to dwell upon, which can only ever up your stress and negativity. A simple way to get those thoughts out of your system is to write it down, and journaling is the perfect outlet to do that. Journals allow you to write out all of your thoughts from the good to the bad to the mundane, and they promote a sense of self-reflection and personal growth. Years in the future, you may look back on journals you've written, see the negativity you dealt with, and then see how far you've come.
The body responds to pictures and imagery almost the exact same way as it does to actual, real experiences. Why do you think videos of the ocean, lakes, and libraries are so popular? Positive, relaxing pictures and videos can be an effective tool for relieving stress and reducing blood pressure.
Cleaning up your room or workspace is a surefire way to relieve your stress productively. A messy room or workspace can easily stress someone out or make current stress even worse. Taking time out of your day to get rid of unnecessary clutter can help calm your mind. Even if you don't deep clean whatever room you're in, picking up little bits of clutter can make a huge difference.