Want to know how to relieve stress? In this article, I’ll be sharing my 9 ways I love to use to reduce stress and anxiety.
Oh, stress. The problem we’re all facing more and more in today’s turbulent lifestyle. Not too many of us lead a simple life in a quaint little house on the prairie anymore, do we?
Between work, relationships, relationships AT work, and our children… Most of us have a lot on our plate. Yet, more and more studies are coming out speaking of the dangers of stress on our health. Good grief. That on its own is enough to stress a person out even more!
Today, I’d like to reassure you that managing stress is not as difficult as it sounds. You can breathe easy now (which you’ll find out is good for you anyway). Even with your ever-changing and ever-frustrating lifestyle, you CAN take the time to relieve stress.
If you can’t take the time to read the article right now, here’s the video. I do suggest giving the article a read later, because there are some fascinating studies I’ve included for you to look at.
Method #1: Meditate.
Believe me, I know what you’re thinking. “Sharon, I don’t have time to meditate.” We all have the same 24 hours in the day. It’s not about HAVING time, it’s about MAKING time. Being able to make time for relieving stress is all a matter of priorities.
Think of the person going through college, with two jobs at the same time to make ends meet. It sounds like an impossible situation, but they make it work. Why? Because they’ve found a compelling enough reason to.
You can make time to do anything that really, really matters to you. If you want it, you’ll find a way. Don’t want it badly enough? You’ll find an excuse instead.
If you’re stressed out all the time, it’s more than likely that you’re not being your best self. Both for you, and for other people, too. With too much weight on your mind, it’s harder to apply yourself in all of your relationships.
If it’s not enough reason to learn how to manage stress for you, do it for them too.
When we’re emotionally and energetically drained, we struggle to give of ourselves fully. You will love and care for others better if you’re feeling good yourself.
Why is it so easy to make excuses for things like this that actually do seem important to us? Because it’s easier and more comfortable at the time to stick with living life just the way it is. Working too hard to move things around requires an investment of time planning at first. It could be difficult and take time to adjust.
You have to decide that it’s more important to you to take the time NOW to plan and adjust. Decide that it’s better to live a more fulfilling life in the long run than to just stay the way you are because it’s the path of least – albeit temporary – resistance.
Method #2: Exercise.
One of my favorite things to do to relieve stress is exercise. It’s why you often see me in my workout gear!
You’ve likely been advised time and time again by the news, magazine covers, doctors, and maybe even family that exercise is good for you. But beyond looking and feeling healthy, there’s another benefit. It’s been proven to reduce the stress hormone Cortisol.
Often, I do feel a sense of stress just pulling into the parking lot of my gym. Trying to find a locker in a crowded room full of other ladies is stressful, too. This is my own personal experience, because the gym that I go to is very busy. (Seriously, Colorado… you need more gyms.)
If you find yourself in this same place where you’re actually dreading the thought of going to the gym, you need to just consider the alternative. Consider the extra stress and other negative effects on your quality of life you will be left with if you don’t.
Make your happiness – and the happiness of everybody else who talks to you – a bigger priority than avoiding that short-lived pain. We’re not just talking about a strong heart, healthy lungs, and a tight derriere. We’re talking about de-stressing here!
Read this fantastic article by the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Society of America) to learn more about the benefits of exercise on your mental well-being.
Method #3: Long Walks.
I did another video on this, and it’s so important if you can actually be out in nature while you do it. You’ll be shocked at how it reduces your stress!
When you’re dealing with stress, I can understand why most kinds of exercise would feel like too much energy for you. A long, casual stroll is an easy way to relieve stress.
You get a long stretch of alone time to clear your mind, think about improving your situation, and you get the extra exercise without hardly trying.
Take it a “step” further, yes the pun was intended 😉 Consider an actual hike on a winding, scenic trail in the woods. This is what I get to do several times a week and it ALWAYS helps to clear my mind. Ironically, I am better able to solve those nagging issues that linger in my mind too. Hiking is yet another way to reduce anxiety and depression so strap on your hiking shoes and hit the trail!
Method #4: An Art project.
You can go to a class to create art on a canvas, or a clay molding class. Something else that has been really popular lately is adult coloring books. Even if you’re not a great artist, just doing it at all will help you.
Another creative project that I enjoy is Sudoku, or a board game with my daughter. The brain-power these require is enough to take my mind off of my feelings about a stressful situation. I can usually return to the issue with a clearer mind afterward, because I’ve had the chance to calm down.
As long as it’s an activity that channels your creativity while requiring some focus, it’s an effective way to reduce stress by changing your state to a calm one while taking your mind off of negativity for a while. If you’re feeling good when you return to the issue at hand, you’ll be able to deal with it better.
Method #5: Deep breathing.
Breathing deeply is scientifically proven to reduce stress. It slows the heartbeat, reduces blood pressure, and brings a healthy and therapeutic dose of oxygen to the brain.
Focusing on the breath is also the easiest way to divide your focus from the problem. Unlike the art project, you can also do it almost anywhere.
Here’s an interesting study at the Harvard University on deep breathing to get rid of stress.
Method #6: Self Hypnosis & Tapping
These practices are a bit more time consuming. There are programs you can purchase to guide you in self-hypnosis to make it easier, but you still have to lay down.
I find tapping to be more convenient and doable because it’s fast, making it something you can do often and on the sly. In the bathroom at work, or in the car during your commute are good times you could use this tactic.
Method #7: Get a Massage.
This is a luxury for many people, and not something that can fit into every budget. But if you can afford it, I highly recommend making time in your week for a massage.
Here is a study on the dramatic shift from stress hormones to happy hormones after getting a massage.
Method #8: Sex!
Did I really just say that? Yup, you bet I did. Because it’s absolutely true. Studies have proven that the intimate moments we share help us reduce stress. Even if you’re not totally happy with your spouse, do it anyway – it may even bring you closer together.
Human touch on its own is enough to reduce stress, so even just hugging more often could help you. More of my personal experience with that below.
Method #9: Hugging.
My youngest daughter is just under 9 years old, and talk about pushing my buttons! She is a smart girl. She’s beautiful and kind, too. Yet, she really tests my patience from time to time. One of my favorite ways to release that is to just grab her and hug her… HARD.
It looks like I’m squeezing the life out of her, but it’s a win-win. She feels like I’m giving love to her, and I feel like I’m getting my frustration out WHILE enjoying her sweetness. You know when something is so darn cute, you just want to hug the life out of it? She’s that cute to begin with, but it helps me to calm down when she’s making me angry.
Maybe you don’t need to squeeze someone so forcefully, but getting a hug is something I definitely suggest.
Thanks for reading! If these tips have worked for you or if you have any of your own to add, feel free to comment below.