Dealing with Stress: 19 PROVEN Ways to Relieve Your Stress
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Dealing with stress is part of our modern, hectic, fast-paced lifestyle.
Stress then leads directly to low self-esteem, headaches, irritability, fatigue and even a huge assortment of potential health issues.
Rather than helping us conquer our problems, severe stress can reduce our competence and make us less able to cope with the problems we need to face.
People will often say, “Don’t stress” or “You need to reduce your stress”. But that can be easier said than done.
If you are dedicated to building a stress reducing habit, it can be done.
Stress is, after all, a state of the mind that is caused by outside influences. You can't change the external pressures, but you can work on the way you react to these pressures.
This article details 19 proven strategies for managing stress. Each of these tips are backed by links to medical journals or reputable news organizations.
19 Strategies for Dealing with Stress
Making a habit change to reduce stress can be tricky. It may be impossible to get rid of the sources of your stress. What you can do is implement these 19 strategies to alleviate some of the problem.
1. Drink Tea.
Chamomile tea has been noted to be a sleep aid. It helps to calm the nerves and relax. Taking a moment out of your hectic day to just stop and have a nice cup of chamomile tea gives you a moment of worry free peace. It also helps you consume herbs that have been known for their relaxation and calming effect for hundreds of years.
[See what the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says about chamomile tea.]
2. Go for a walk (or get more exercise).
When you are stressed it is easy to assume that you have “too much to do” and simply don't have the time to take a walk. It might seem counter-intuitive, but talking the time for a walk actually decreases stress, which makes you ready to handle stressful situations.
According to this Mayo Clinic report, walking (or any regular exercise) works can reduce your stress in a number of ways:
- It makes you feel better by pumping up your brain’s “feel good” receptors, your endorphins.
- It lowers the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
- It can raise your confidence and ability to handle problems.
- It gives you a feeling of control over your own body and mind.
- It can be a form of calming meditation in motion.
Exercise beats #stress. When you feel particularly #stressed, take a 30 min. break and go for a walk
I find this last one particularly fruitful. I have often come up with “out of the box” solutions to work-related problems while exercising.
So if stress has you down and you haven’t been active in a while, make a commitment to walk 10,000 steps a day.
3. Reduce/Eliminate Coffee and/or Caffeine.
This is one I certainly need to work on myself. Sometimes it's hard to get through a day without a caffeine “pick me up.”
According to a study led by Dr. James D. Lane, coffee has effects that are, “long-lasting and exaggerate the stress response both in terms of the body's physiological response in blood pressure elevations and stress hormone levels, but it also magnifies a person's perception of stress.”
It may be rough at first to scale back or eliminate that daily caffeine intake, but in the long run, it will do wonders for your stress reduction.
4. Eat more ginger.
This is a nice and simple way to help combat stress. Ginger has long been deemed as a homeopathic stress reliever and recent studies published by the NCBI back up those claims.
5. Disconnect from technology.
Technology itself has caused some of our modern issues with stress, as Dr. David Volpi illustrates in this Huffington Post article.
In our modern age, “permanent” disconnection from technology simply is not feasible. However there are still two steps you can take to disconnect from technology to reduce stress.
I: If you are feeling overwhelmed, simply get away from technology. A quick walk around the building would be a perfect de-stressor in this case. (Plus it helps you get more steps for 10,000 steps daily goal.)
II: Disconnect from technology an hour before you go to sleep. One of Dr. Volpi’s major points is that the screens of our technology can throw off circadian rhythm and make a good night’s sleep nearly an impossibility.
6. Get a good night’s sleep.
It is no secret that stress and a good night’s sleep are symbiotic. It is hard to get a good night’s sleep if you are stressed and it is hard not to be stressed if you do not get a good night’s sleep.
All you can do is remove impediments. In this article I talk about some of the tips for getting to sleep at a decent hour.
7. Avoid processed foods.
Foods that are rich in refined sugars and white flour are known to skyrocket insulin levels and release the stress hormone. Junk food, fried foods, artificial sweeteners and foods with lots of preservatives are also on this stress, “no-no” list. (University of Maryland Medical Center)
Refined food increases insulin levels, releasing stress hormones.
8. Take flax-seed oil.
Flax seed oil is a supplement with quite a few positive effects. It helps reduce blood pressure, constipation, inflammatory diseases and cholesterol. In this Livestrong article, they talk about the positive benefit of combating stress and anxiety with flax seed oil.
9. Breathing techniques.
One of the single most stressful events around is childbirth. One way to deal with the stress and pain of natural childbirth is to use deep breathing. This is an old and time tested way to beat feelings of anxiety and stress. Web MD says it is specifically one of the best ways to beat stress.
There are a few different techniques for deep breathing, but they all have the same effect; getting a larger than normal volume of air into the lungs and holding it there for a short time.
If you are feeling stressed, try this breathing technique:
- Take 5 seconds to slowly inhale a larger than normal volume of air.
- Hold it in your lungs for 5 seconds.
- Take 5 seconds to slowly exhale the air.
- Do this 9 more times.
In less than two minutes time, this exercise can significantly reduce any stress and anxiety you are feeling.
If you feel stressed try a deep breathing relaxation techniques.
10. Listen to soothing music.
Music can calm, it can make us happy and it can make us want to get up and dance. Music can make you think more clearly. Of course, all of this leads to a reduction of stress and anxiety. (To learn more, read this article on the Power of Music to Relieve Stress.)
11. Take a break to do something you enjoy.
Read for a bit. Watch a TV show. Go chat with friends. Check out an online humor site.
Your problems will not go away with escapism, but we all need to take a break now and then. Finer Minds reports that reading fiction is specifically one of the best ways to beat stress. Cutting stress levels by 68%: more than walking, listening to music or drinking tea.
12. Learn your own stress signs.
What do you do when you begin to stress too much. Some people bite their nails, some people sweat, some people tap their feet. (I grind my teeth.)
If you identify your indications of stress, you can know when to take that break, do that exercise, take that walk or do those deep breaths.
To fix yourself, it is important to know yourself
Sometimes a little bit of time with friends and family can be, “just what the doctor ordered” when it comes to stress. A little relaxation, laughter and fun can do wonders to relieve your tension and stress. (To learn more check out this Readers Digest article that discusses all the ways friends can help you beat stress.)
14. Write it all down
Journaling is considered to be an effective stress management technique to many. One of the most popular methods of this stress management techniques is to write a daily journal where you explore the feelings and thoughts of your everyday life.
This form of self-exploration works best when done consistently, so you need to make this daily journaling a habit. However, even sporadic journaling helps you to process emotions and can have a cathartic effect.
15. Take a day off.
We all need the occasional day with zero stress. Take a day and just get away. Go on a hike in the mountains. Sunbathe at the beach. Go on a long bike ride. Go to the movies. Occasionally it is important to disconnect from your normal routine and just get away. (ABC News discusses how time off can reduce stress and increase productivity.)
16. Try Mindful Mediation.
I have never been a huge fan of meditation. It seems a little, “new age” to me. But Mindful Mediation has been proven in some fairly serious studies (see this Harvard Health article) to have a positive effect on stress and anxiety.
17. Roll your way to health.
Back and body alignment specialists claim that there are many foam roller benefits that have a serious positive effect on stress. It works not only by relaxing the muscles and the body but also by working pressure points that effect the nervous system. Additionally using a foam roller regularly will increase the elasticity in the muscles and fascia. This will help to deepen breathing capacity, which in turn brings your body to a more calm state of being.
18. Cater to your sense of smell.
All of our senses are hardwired into your brain. Many of them interact in ways that you might not think they would. Experiments (according to NCBI) have proven that aromatherapy using essential oils, specifically lavender scents, have a positive effect on stress reduction.
19. Learn more about reducing your stress
Read more about relieving stress and anxiety. There are lots of good books that will go far deeper than the previous synopsis mentions of anxiety and stress relieving techniques here. If you want to learn more -read more. Check out my collection of the Best Self-Help Books where I have a section on dealing with stress.
With these 16 ways to deal with stress, you are now armed with strategies to live a calmer, more-fulfilled life. You can't control many of the things that cause stress. What you can do is take a proactive approach and control the way you handle this problem.
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