You probably know stress can cause havoc on our minds and bodies.
Stress is always around the corner…
It’s one of those things that can’t simply be “cured”.
Since we can’t eliminate stress and anxiety from our lives, the least we can do is learn how to manage it.
With these 25 ways, we are confident you will use one or a few of these things right away to effectively reduce your stress levels.
Let’s dig in…
1. Guided Imagery
Imagination can greatly reduce stress.
Lots of people use it and you may not even know it.
They picture a person, a situation, or a time which in turns makes them feel relaxed, calm, and happy.
Imagery is different from other stress management hacks because it relies on all four senses.
These senses create a powerful relaxation experience in managing stress.
Get started with guided imagery with the 3 steps below.
Step 1. Make sure the place is quiet.
Step 2. Choose a scene (Start picturing a pleasant environment or anything that draws your emotions). The scene can be your favorite picnic spot, a waterfall in the forest, at the beach, or in the forest.
Step 3. Stay in the setting or scene until you feel relaxed, calm, or comfortable. You can also close your eyes if it suits you.
Mindful meditation starves stress and helps you feel more in control of your breathing and thoughts.
The practice involves sitting in a comfortable position, focusing on breathing, and getting your mind’s attention to the present without experiencing distracting thoughts.
Besides reducing stress, many people use meditation to increase awareness and develop concentration.
If you learn to calm your body and mind, physical and emotional stress can be a thing of the past.
Meditation will leave you feeling better, calm, and ready to face any challenge. Meditation is simple, but people make it look complicated.
Here are the three steps to start meditating:
Step 1. Start small, meditate for 5 minutes every day for a month and improve each month to 20 or 30 minutes.
Step 2. Count in-breathe and out-breathe.
Step 3. Meditate using binaural beats.
Meditating the traditional way will tell you quieting your mind is challenging.
It takes years to get better at meditation.
Using binaural beats will help you stay focused without negative thoughts disturbing you.
3. Practise Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a stress relief technique that curbs stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
The method involves subtle muscle movement to facilitate deep relaxation and stress relief.
The idea behind this concept is if you tighten or release all the muscle groups in the body exaggeratedly.
You’ll feel relaxed and peaceful.
Consciously releasing those muscles tensions helps you to learn and realize which muscle you are holding unnecessarily.
Then you can release it.
Here’s how you can achieve it.
Step 1. When inhaling, contract one muscle group like the upper thigh for 5 to 10 seconds. Exhale and release the tension in that muscle.
Step 2. Relax for 10 to 20 seconds. Second, move to the next muscle group let’s say the buttocks.
Step 3. Inhale for 5 to 10 second while contracting the buttocks. When exhaling and releasing the tension focus on the changes that happen when you release the muscle. You can imagine anything, just like you do in Guided Imagery.
Step 4. Focus on all other major muscle groups like hands and arms, facial muscle, neck, chest, shoulders, upper back, abdomen, and legs.
4. Taking A Walk
Taking a walk can relieve you from stress.
A recent study from the Annals of Behavioral Medicine that students who walked or did moderate exercises daily experienced lower stress level than students who did strenuous exercises.
Unlike any other exercises, walking gives you time to reflect, or think as a way of getting out of the stressful environment.
When you walk, you naturally loosen up tensing muscle in the body.
Walking with good posture puts those muscle into work.
Here’s how to start a walking routine:
Step 1. Start at a moderate speed. Aim for 140 steps a minute or begin with a 15-minute walk per day.
Step 2. In between the paces of 4 to 5 minutes, stretch the calves and hamstrings for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 3. Repeat the same process until you are through.
5. Practise Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is one of the effortless ways to reduce stress.
It involves exposing yourself to a strong-smelling substance, which affects hormone production and stress.
Aromatherapy employs a sense of touch and smell.
Although aromatherapy is effective, it needs more research to prove it’s effectiveness.
Early research has shown that aromatherapy alters brain waves and behavior.
For a busy person who needs something quick, you can try aromatherapy.
Here’s what you need to do to create a soothing environment using aromatherapy:
Step 1. Buy a pleasant essential oil that can lift your mood and make you feel calmer. Feel free to include candles like incense to create a soothing and calming atmosphere.
Step 2. Put a few drops of the soil in 2 cups of water. Stir the water. Dip a washcloth and wipe on your face, hands, and neck.
Step 3. Close your eyes and try to breathe in and out. While exhaling breathes out slowly.
6. Art Therapy
Art therapy is a stress relieving activity that use creative expression to help reduce stress.
Art therapy includes painting, sculpting, drawing, and photographs.
All those rewarding hobbies that lower the stress level and make you feel calm and closer.
Creative art trains one to focus on details and concentrate on the environment.
That way, acting like meditation.
A popular creative activity adults can engage in is called adult coloring books.
According to Megan Carleton, an art therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the benefit of art does not depend on a person’s skill.
The benefit comes from the process. Megan Carleton links art therapy to better memory, thinking ability, and resilience in senior people.
Decades of studies show that creative art reduces stress level and promotes relaxation to people suffering from illness.
Step 1. Get yourself an adult coloring book/printable color page.
Step 2. Colouring supplies like colored pencils and markers.
Step 3. Start coloring.
Step 4. If you are not sure of what to do, you can seek the service of an art therapist to help you.
7. A Diet
Diet is often overlooked as a stress factor, yet when properly balanced, it can have a positive impact on stress levels, and we have the studies according to research.
A senior researcher scientist at Abbott, Mathew J. Kuchan, states that a well-balanced diet reduces the stress in the body.
In other words, building a healthy eating habit improves your health and leads to low-stress levels.
According to Dr. Mathew Kuchan, stress affects blood pressure and flow.
Therefore when you eat a nutritious meal, you improve blood flow, and this has a positive effect on brain health.
Step 1. Decide you are going to eat a healthy diet every day.
Step 2. Choose a diet plan. You can consult a certified dietician to guide you.
Step 3. Make sure you drink herbal tea like green tea, chamomile tea, or lavender. The tea promotes calmness and a warm feeling.
8. Listening To Music
The power of music has a unique connection to our emotions.
That’s why music is a useful stress management technique.
Classical music has tremendous relaxation effects on our mind.
Any slow or classical music can slow the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress levels.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be classical music either.
Your favourite genre is also a great option because listening to what you love helps you keep calm.
Music provides a calming atmosphere in our heads as we explore our emotions.
That way, it helps aid meditation and can help you focus.
Recent studies at McGill University by Professor Daniel J, Levitis shows that listening to good music reduced a patient’s stress level.
The research went on to say music also improved the immune system and was effective than stress medication.
Here’s how you can use music.
Step 1. Find your favorite classical music or your favorite song.
Step 2. Get yourself good headphones.
Step 3. Close your eyes as you listen to music. Closing the eyes helps you focus on the music.
9. Journal Writing
Journal writing is a beautiful way of organizing one’s mind because it expresses the conscience and lets one get in touch with their thoughts and feelings.
You become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Gaining this focus makes you achieve clarity to what is essential to you.
You can also decide to keep a gratitude journal.
Maintaining this type of journal helps you focus on creating a habit of positivity in your life.
The biggest challenge is maintaining a habit of journaling every day.
The more you write every day, the more your attitude changes towards life.
Best of all, you’ll notice things every day you may want to include in your journal.
Here’s how to start a journal book:
Step 1. Decide you are going to journal and commit to a schedule.
Step 2. Get a pen and a book/writing pad.
Step 3. Write about what you feel in the morning. The best time to will be early in the morning before anyone wakes up. You can write what made your day exciting in the evening.
The daily practice of journaling keeps you creative and reduces the stress level in the body.
10. Practise Yoga
Yoga can help you fight stress and find serenity.
Yoga combines lots of actions such as relaxation, physical pain, and breathing to reduce stress.
Many forms of Yoga exists, but the best choice for stress management is Hatha Yoga.
Unlike other types of Yoga, Hatha techniques invoke slow paces and easy movements.
The only challenge with Yoga is, you need to commit to a schedule to reap its full benefits.
If you practice Yoga in the right way, it can have a calming effect, reduce tension, and relax the body muscles.
Step 1. Enroll for Yoga class. You need expert guidance before you can start doing it at home.
Step 2. Buy yourself a non-slip Yoga mat and comfortable, loose-fitting cloth.
Step 3. Pay attention to your breathing or Pranayama.
Step 4. Commit to a schedule with your Yoga instructor at least for a month.
Any form of exercise, including aerobics and yoga can be a stress reliever.
Stress is a condition affecting the brain.
In other words, when the brain feels the stress impact, the rest of the body worsens.
Likewise, if your body feels better, your mind also feels better.
Physical exercises produce endorphins.
Endorphins are hormones that make someone experience a mental high.
They improve the sleep, reduce stress, making you feel energized.
Scientists have found regular aerobic exercises decreases tension levels, stabilizes the mood, and improves one’s self-esteem.
Step 1. Consult with your physician whether you are fit to do exercises or not.
Step 2. Get a training buddy/gym instructor who will encourage you to work out.
Step 3. Start with baby steps. Start small as you build up and commit to a daily schedule.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Not only does it relieve you from stress, but it also improves your immune system.
Laughter draws people together and promotes emotional changes in the body.
Laughter will boost your mood and shield you from the harmful effects of stress.
Humour will always lighten your body, inspire you, and keep you grounded.
Any time you have stress, all you need is a good hearty laugh to relax your muscle.
Most important, diffusing anger and negative thoughts fast.
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1. Find and join a funny club.
Step 2. Watch an entertaining Tv Show or Comedy that will make you laugh.
Step 3. Read a comic book full of jokes.
13. Own a Pet ( A Dog or Cat)
Recent studies show that owning a pet can decrease stress.
Studies from science direct and hypertension journals found that pet parents with high blood pressure have low blood pressure during mental stress than people without pets.
In other words, for parents who love animals, it’s impossible for them to stay in a bad mood.
Picture this scenario, when a lovely puppy or kitten meets you or when you rub against it.
You will smile automatically — same way like having a baby that smiles most of the time.
But that’s not all.
Pets also encourage you to walk outside, which further helps you to reduce stress in the body.
Step 1. First, you need to commit to all the advantage and disadvantage of owning a pet.
Step 2. Save at least $2000 upfront (because it’s not cheap to buy and raise a dog).
Step 3. Find a breed you prefer. There are so many breeds. It would depend on you.
14. Start A Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is a treatment where a therapist controls and fixes your body’s muscle and soft tissues to free you from pain.
Massage therapy does vary and come in many forms.
Some therapists suggest the Swedish massage, which involves focusing on deep tissues.
Others will want to start with reflexology.
While having a message is an excellent idea of relieving you from stress, not everyone is qualified to offer you one.
You may need a certified massage therapist to.
Why is getting a massage therapy necessary when you are stressed?
This is because stress affects every part of the body.
Too much tension lead to muscle stiffness and pain. According to Mayo Clinic, a good massage session will do your body a big favor.
Here are the steps one needs to follow:
Step 1. Find an excellent certified massage therapist. Not all massage therapists are professional.
Step 2. Try different types of massage and choose the one that you like.
Step 3. Make sure to relax when a therapist massages you.
Hypnosis is the least understood stress management technique.
It’s possible to relieve yourself using self-hypnosis in one way.
First, you need to get into a deeply relaxed state to fight tension and trigger relaxation response in the body.
In other words, Hypnosis improves the ability to manage your stress.
The process of hypnosis entails getting into a trance or relaxed and focused state (like meditation).
The biggest drawback with hypnosis is people find it challenging to get into a relaxed state.
A trained professional can help you solve this challenge and get into a relaxed state.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1. Seek or consult a trained professional whom you trust to teach you the process.
Step 2. Likewise, you can also use books, videos, or read a few articles to learn about hypnosis.
Step 3. Make sure you are in a quiet room or sitting on a comfortable chair.
Step 4. Be away from distraction so that you can focus on getting into the trance state.
Step 5. Close your eyes and focus.
Dancing is a universally known way of expressing emotion.
It’s an art. Dancing to good music allows your body muscles to relax.
It’s also really fun if you do it with friends or a group.
Relaxation of the body allows the tense muscles to loosen up, making you feel light.
Recent studies prove dancing activates the release of hormones called Endorphins.
These hormones promote excitement and happiness in a person.
That’s why it is challenging to dance to your favorite music while you are sad.
But that’s not all.
Dancing encourages social interaction.
You meet several people on the dancing floor who you can connect and make friends.
Not only does this make you active, but helps you ward off negative thoughts.
Here’s how you can get started with dancing:
Step 1. Find social places where dancing events take place like salsa, ballroom, or Zumba.
Step 2. Sign up for a dancing class of your genres. Make sure the class have excellent instructors.
Step 3. Dance, have fun, and meet friendly people.
17. Take Supplements
Did you know that stress consumes vital vitamins and minerals from our body?
If you don’t replace these essential minerals and vitamins, stress worsens.
Even the production of stress hormones called Cortisol consumes lots of nutrient reserves.
This effect shuts down several systems in the body, such as the digestive system.
It won’t surprise you to find that most people who experience stress also have poor appetites.
That’s why it makes sense to use a supplement to relieve the body of stress.
Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplement, it is challenging choosing the right supplement.
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1.Consult an expert/doctor who is knowledgeable about the supplement.
Step 2. Stay away from supplements made from China because of poor manufacturing practices.
Step 3. Conduct thorough research about the supplement from reputable sites like the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, USP verified Dietary Supplement, and FDA safety alert.
Recent research from Speedo, a world-leading swimming brands, states swimming relieves tension and stress.
Besides that, it makes the person feel confident about the way they look.
It’s also incredibly refreshing during the summer.
Don’t you love a pool day?
Swimming, like any other physical activities, affect neurotransmitters, which influence your mind and produces ANP, which reduces stress.
In swimming, you will naturally breathe repetitively, just like in meditation.
Unlike other exercises, swimming will make you utilize the whole body as you pay attention to your legs and arms.
Any time you feel stressed, you take a deep swim even for a few minutes.
Here’s how to get started in swimming:
Step 1. Pick a beautiful soothing spot. You can do it in a lake, river, or forest if you want to connect with nature.
Step 2. Start swimming and have fun.
Step 3. If you don’t know, find a swim instructor who will teach all the swimming techniques.
19. Soaking in a Hot bath/Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is an ancient Japanese and Chinese practice which involves healing yourself with a warm bath.
The Japanese believe in the healing power of water.
Dr. Bobby Buka, a dermatologist, states that if you keep your body in a hot tub, the skin will release endorphins because of the soothing warm water.
The immersion has a therapeutic benefit that boosts blood flow into the skin.
Stress makes your muscle contract, and hot bath improves blood flow causing the muscles to expand and loosen.
Besides relieving you from stress, soaking yourself in a warm bath can help you sleep better at night.
And lack of sleep is something that contributes to stress.
Step 1. Find a hospital near you that have hydrotherapy pools.
Step 2. Consult a physiotherapist to determine whether you will be suited for hydrotherapy.
Step 3. Check the quality of the area. A hydrotherapy session will always last for 20 to 30 minutes.
Here’s the good news:
Acupuncture does relieve stress.
The Journal of Endocrinology did a study on rats and found out stress hormones were lower on rates that had acupuncture than those who did not use acupuncture.
Acupuncture involves inserting a fine needle into points called meridians connects to specific organs on the body.
According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, meridians are thought to be a highway of energy or “qi.”
When congestion happens on this highway, it is difficult for energy to flow.
Meridians are treated using this process, so that energy flows freely.
According to Psychology today, western medicine proves that acupuncture activates endorphins, which reduces stress.
Here’s how to get started with acupuncture:
Step 1. Seek the services of a well certified licensed acupuncturist. Check he is accredited with NCCAOM. Do a simple google search.
Step 2. Ask the Acupuncture specifics techniques they will be using before you receive treatment.
Step 3. One session is not enough. You need multiple sessions to see positive results.
21. Get Social Support/Therapy Support Group
People with stress often feel insecure about opening up their problems with friends and relatives.
Studies found that sharing your problems with others make you feel better.
Sarah Townsend did a study at USC Marshall School of Business and found out interacting with people who understand your emotions provides relief from stress.
That said, find like-minded people who you can open up with.
It doesn’t have to be your family or friends if you are scared.
You can go for a therapy support group.
Here’s how to get started:
Step 1. To find an excellent group, you need to consult your Physician/ Psychologist for suggestions.
Step 2. Find out if the group is open or closed. With an open group, any person can join anytime. Private groups begin at the same time and no one can join after it’s formed.
Step 3. Don’t feel shy to share your concerns. Take your time.
22. Take Time Off
Very few people take an annual vacation.
The sad part is, the majority of people who take vacations, go there for work-related issues, which makes your mind busy instead of free and relaxed.
A good vacation reconnects you with yourself, gets you into a journey of self-discovering and helps you to feel best.
Research proves that taking a vacation away from a stressful, busy life helps you get back to life feeling energized and excited to deal with challenges.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a well-managed vacation will make you happy and relaxed.
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1. Plan two or three months in advance.
Step 2. Go far away. Vacationing doesn’t have to cost you more money. They are affordable places to travel and explore.
Step 3. Use sites like monograms to meet people who are knowledgeable of the place.
23. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CPT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is a form of psychotherapy treatment that boosts happiness.
What happens is, there is a modification of dysfunctional emotions and thoughts.
This form of therapy rests on the idea your thoughts and perceptions will influence your behaviors.
The feelings of stress may affect one’s thoughts and actions about reality.
And the best way to heal is to get rid of negative thoughts out of your life.
CPT may treat many issues besides stress, such as anxiety and depression.
Unlike other therapy that focuses on the mind alone, CBT focuses on the mind and body.
Research from the University of Pennsylvania states that CBT is more effective than pharmaceutical treatments for patients suffering from depression.
Here’s how you can get started with CBT:
Step 1. Search for cognitive behavior therapy. The approach will require you and therapists to be heavily involved.
Step 2. Make sure to check his background, education, and certification.
Step 3. Start your first session. Here the therapist will gather information regarding your mental health conditions.
24. Adaptogenic Herbs
These are herbs that naturally help you cope up, resist stress, and fatigues by invoking your hormonal response.
Phytotherapy is the use of plants to heal ailments.
Adaptogenic herbs belong to the family of healing plants.
Their main task, according to Dr. Axe, is to balance, restore, and protect the body.
Dr. Edward Wallace, a Naturopathic doctor, states that adaptogen helps in responding to the influence or stressor to normalize the physiological function in the body.
When that happens, the stress level in the body reduces.
Here is how to choose the right adaptogen:
Step 1. The herb has to be safe or non-toxic to the physiological functions of the body.
Step 2. It has to bring back the body to equilibrium/achieve Homeostasis.
Step 3. Must not be a stimulant or a sedative.
You may have to do research or consult for you to pick the right adaptogen or herbs.
25. Sleep Well
People with high stress levels rarely sleep well.
Lack of sleep can lead to insomnia, which makes it even worse.
That’s why you will always toss and turn during the night or wake up in the middle of the night.
The good news is, you can have more sleep and dramatically reduce the amount of stress you have.
If you are going to reduce stress, then you need to have a regular sleeping routine.
That way, you’ll feel calmer and you’ll better restore your body and mind.
You are much more efficient at solving problems if you have a full night’s rest.
On the other hand, lack of sleep makes you emotionally unstable and sensitive to negative vibes.
The good news is, you can reduce stress using sleep.
Step 1. Before you sleep, make sure to take a warm shower, get a massage, and so some light stretch before bed.
Step 2. Learn to meditate before sleep. There are so many sleep meditation aids.
Step 3. Never do something stressful or stimulating before bed like texting, working, or watching TV. Instead, have a dim light, read an exciting book, or listen to soothing music that will calm you.