Feeling frazzled or bored lately? Now is the perfect opportunity to renew your commitment to accomplishing your health goals. Learning to relax and undo the damaging effects of stress is one worthy cause to take on. Feeling overwhelmed can negatively impact our health, from minor issues of feeling irritable and tired all the time, to more serious things like weight gain and potential heart problems.
Completely eliminating stress might not be possible, but you can make some progress with these 20 stress busters right now.
1. Go for a walk.
We all know that exercise can help keep muscles strong and ward off weight gain, but it can also improve our mood. A walk, like any cardiovascular exercise, boosts endorphins while reducing stress hormones.
2. Take a deep breath.
Breathing exercises are a quick and effective method that you can do almost anywhere. The American Institute of Stress offers three simple breathing techniques that can leave you relaxed, calm, and focused.
3. Keep in touch with friends.
Don’t you always feel good after talking to your bestie? That’s because being around friends decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to one study. Instead of just texting, try video chatting to help you feel better connected.
4. Add a plant to your home office.
In addition to purifying the air and adding beauty to your space, plants are actually good for your mental health. This study showed that office plants improved concentration, productivity, and staff well-being by 47%.
5. Take a tech break.
The blue light emitted from digital devices hurts our eyes and wreaks havoc on our sleep, leaving us more prone to the effects of stress. Harvard University recommends avoiding bright screens before bed and exposing yourself to lots of natural light during the day to improve your mood and alertness.
6. Or use technology to help you relax.
When used the right way, digital devices can actually promote mindfulness. There are several guided relaxation and meditation apps you can try, including one mobile app that’s been shown in clinical trials to reduce stress.
7. Get help with homeopathy.
Nervous? Unable to sleep? Racing thoughts? Homeopathy provides a bevy of options for all kinds of stress symptoms. Boiron’s top stress relief single medicines include Ignatia amara, Gelsemium sempervirens, and Coffea cruda. You can also try a multi-symptom approach with Sedalia.
8. Unwrap a stick of gum.
According to studies, chewing gum lowers stress and anxiety. Some researchers think the rhythmic act of chewing may relax your brain, while others believe the smell and taste positively influence your mood.
9. Sniff calming scents.
Certain smells can do wonders to improve your mood and help you unwind. Popular stress-relieving scents include lavender, clary sage, and jasmine, but any scent you love will help you relax.
10. Create a journal.
Writing can be a very therapeutic exercise, allowing you to express all of your emotions and pour them out on the page. Journaling can also help keep track of your moods and identify stressors in your life.
11. Sing it out.
Like journaling and breathing, music is yet another tool that helps us explore our emotions and manage stress. In fact, it’s so powerful that it’s even used during surgery. Different music can inspire a wide spectrum of moods, but only you can choose what is most suitable for you.
12. Have a chuckle.
Laughter is one of the best medicines to fight off stress because it releases feel-good endorphins and also stimulates circulation. Look for funny videos or pictures on the internet to make you laugh.
13. Play hooky.
Have you felt drained and mentally exhausted at work lately? It might be time to take a “mental health day” or day off. This neuroscientist agrees and says you’ll be more productive for it.
14. Sip on some tea.
Chamomile tea has been used for generations to promote relaxation. Brew yourself a cup if you’re feeling anxious during the day or drink before bed for a better night’s sleep.
15. Indulge in a chocolatey treat.
New research found that chocolate had a positive impact on stress levels, while also improving memory, immunity, and mood. Researchers believe this is due to a large amount of antioxidant-rich flavonoids found in cacao.
16. Grow a garden.
Planting a garden mean you will spend more time outdoors, which always has mood-enhancing benefits. Tasks like weeding and watering also offer a distraction from daily worries.
17. Take time for self-care.
Self-care is an important aspect of stress management that can help you refresh and reset your mindset. Whether it’s reading a good book, getting a massage, or enjoying a hot bath, make sure to carve out time just for yourself every week.
18. Get more sleep.
Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand. It’s hard to get quality shuteye if you’re stressed out, and poor sleep makes you more susceptible to stressors the next day. The CDC recommends seven to nine hours of rest for most adults to prevent issues like concentration difficulty and low energy.
19. Strike a pose.
The combination of physical movement with controlled breathing and meditation in yoga can have a profound effect on reducing blood pressure, lowering heart rate, and relieving stress. You don’t need to be young or an expert to practice either. Here are some tips and easy poses to get you started.
20. Identify triggers and limit exposure.
Are you always in a bad mood after talking to a colleague, or feel depressed after watching the news? These are known as stressors or stress triggers and can be induced by work, significant changes in your life such as a move or divorce, or relationships. These aren’t entirely avoidable, but being able to recognize the triggers and limit them when possible is a strategy that can help you cope. This quick test from Psychology Today can help you determine yours.
Looking for more ways to keep calm and carry on? Here’s a deep breathing exercise from a yoga and fitness expert, plus this post on homeopathic helpers if you’re experiencing burnout from your career.