How to relieve stress | 10 ways to get started

We are all faced with stressful situations in our everyday life, and it’s normal because stress is a psychological and physical reaction that kicks in when you’re under pressure. However, stress can also be the entry point to several health conditions and disorders. 

Chronic stress can cause life-threatening issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity when left unchecked. And that is why stress management is crucial; you need to know how to relieve stress to keep it from leading to these chronic health conditions.

We have taken a deep dive into the most relevant and helpful ways to relieve stress so that you can protect yourself from the horrible illnesses it leaves in its wake. Let’s dive in!

How to Relieve Stress – Science-Based Solutions

1. Get Some Sleep

There are several benefits linked to sleep; it also helps reduce stress and improves mood. When you shut your eyes and give your body a few hours of rest, the brain and body will get an extra boost and be super-charged when you wake. So, if you want to relieve stress, find time to sleep and recharge.

It might not be easy, especially if you work a job or have a side hustle that takes most of your day. But, it is one of the best things to do to manage your stress. Find time to sleep, even if that means going to bed an hour or two sooner. You want to ensure you’re getting quality sleep, not a few minutes.

You may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate sleep and make it a routine. If you struggle to sleep, prime the environment to help induce sleep. Use a comfortable bed, play soothing background music, turn off the lights, avoid using your phones or computers before bed, and get your mind off work.

Best water exercises for seniors
Best water exercises for seniors

2. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation soothes the mind, calms the nerves, and makes you appreciate the present moment.

Meditation also helps you set aside worries, doubts, regrets, and anything bothering you while refocusing your mind on healthy thoughts. You will feel much better and live a more balanced life when you do this regularly.

You can practice several forms of meditation, including guided imagery, visualization, mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, yoga, etc.

The beautiful thing about meditation is that you can practice it anywhere and still get excellent results. If you’re a shy person, people around you may not even pick up on what you’re doing unless you want them to.

If you’re in a dire situation and need more help, you can find therapists and groups in your area and sign up for MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy). This type of therapy combines cognitive therapy, meditation, and mindfulness.

3. Turn to Your Loved Ones

Spending time with family is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Sometimes all you need to feel good are the people who love and care about you.

Studies have shown that people without family or friends are more susceptible to stress, anxiety, and depression. And the reverse is the case; it’s high time you benefited from your loved ones.

Take a step back from all the craziness and schedules and spend quality time with family and friends. This social interaction is therapeutic and will keep you sane, calm, and collected.

If you don’t have these people in your life, all hope is not lost. There are support groups that may help. Also, consider volunteering for a social cause you’re passionate about. You will meet and make friends with people in the process.

4. Start Exercising

Hey, you don’t have to be a gym buff to get the benefits of exercise; you only have to start and keep a routine. Like sleep, exercise has many benefits to physical and emotional health, and stress reduction is one of them. While most exercises can help, the following are some of the best ones to relieve stress:

● Dancing

● Running 

● Brisk walking

● HIIT workouts

● Swimming

● Cycling

● Yoga

● And team sports

Like meditation, exercise will take your mind away from your stressors and focus on the exercise you’re doing. Pick an exercise you enjoy doing as you’re more likely to make a routine and stay the course.

Your activity will not only reduce stress but will also boost your overall health. As the saying goes, health is wealth.

5. Take a Break

Are you frustrated because you can’t seem to complete a task, or have you been brainstorming ideas without success? Your body can react negatively to these scenarios, leaving you feeling bad about yourself. Now is the time to take a break and cool off. 

Get your eyes off the screen, leave your workstation, or stop thinking about that fleeting idea. Sometimes you need a break to refresh and come back swinging again.

Take as long as possible and ensure your mind is calm before returning to that issue. If you can put it off until the following day, go for it. 

6. Take a Walk

Sometimes it’s not enough to take a break and remain in the same spot. You may have stopped the action but remaining in the exact location could bring it back again.

Taking a walk will ensure you do not only stop thinking or acting on the thing causing your stress, but you move as far away from it as possible. 

Taking a walk is also a form of exercise, so you’d also benefit from physical activity. If you can get outside, the better; expose yourself to nature and appreciate what you see around you. You’ll notice that your stress levels will reduce, and you will feel much better in a few minutes. 

7. Use Aromatherapy 

If you’re wondering how to relieve stress without leaving the comfort of your home, aromatherapy is a great solution.

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing approach that helps boost overall health – body, mind, and spirit. You can use several products to create the right atmosphere that will help reduce your stress. 

Some of the helpful products to use are:

● Inhalers

● Facial steamers

● Candles 

Essential oils

● Clay masks

You can use these products to inhale scents, create a mood, or apply oils to your skin. The effect is reduced stress levels. Aromatherapy also helps with sleep anomalies, improves digestion, and boosts immunity. 

8. Healthy Diet

You may be surprised to learn that your eating habits can affect your mood and mental well-being.

A healthy diet has several benefits, including lowering your blood pressure, elevating your mood, keeping your stress levels in check, and improving your immune system. If you’re not on a healthy diet, there’s no better time to make a change.

On the other hand, unhealthy, processed, or junk foods will harm you and your mental health. When you’re stressed, these foods are more appealing but eating them won’t help your condition. If anything, you’d be worse off. Don’t wait until you’re stressed to clear junk from your meal plans; only eat a healthy diet that will benefit you.

Eat vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and foods containing essential nutrients. Get a dietitian if you have to and commit to the meal plan. When you consistently eat the right foods, you will feel good in and out. 

9. Deep Breathing 

Deep breathing is a relaxation technique you can use to reduce stress. It is a natural call to your body to take a chill pill and relax. When you practice deep breathing, and your body relaxes, heightened stress will naturally fizzle away.

The science behind it is that while performing this exercise, oxygen is sent to your brain and calms the part of it that handles your ability to stay calm.

There are different deep breathing exercises you can practice, and each one can help relieve stress. They are:

● Resonant or coherent breathing

● Breath focus technique

● Pursed lip breathing

● Diaphragmatic breathing

● Belly Breathing

● Box Breathing

● 4-7-8 Breathing

● Lion’s Breath

Besides helping to decrease stress, breathing exercises can reduce blood pressure, improve digestion, support proper posture, and boost the immune system. 

10. Laugh Often 

Laughter is therapeutic. While it may not directly cure illnesses, it positions your body and mind for positive outcomes.

For stress reduction, laughter helps calm the nerves and puts you in a relaxed state. And because happiness accompanies laughter, stress will have nothing on you afterward. 

How to relieve stress with laughter? Connect with people who make you laugh and happy, watch comedians tell jokes, play a prank on your friends, remember funny moments, or make a funny face in the mirror and laugh at your goofiness.

You can even break into fits of laughter without cause, and your brain will probably not know the difference. 

Conclusion

Stress can be overwhelming and lead to various health issues, and you’re better off clipping its wings before the situation deteriorates.

These are some of the best, simple ways to relieve stress without complications. While these techniques are helpful in the heat of the moment, you’ll benefit more by consistently practicing them.

Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.