Each one of us faces stress. That is the reality of modern-day lives where there is no time to relax and enjoy some quality time with our loved ones. Right from dozens of unread emails to an unrelenting boss who keeps assigning more and more work, our lives have become more hectic than we can handle. However, just because there is way too much stress in our lives, it doesn’t mean you’re supposed to live in stress and anxiety all day long! To help you relax and de-stress when you feel life is becoming way too unrelenting, we have compiled a list of 30 ways that would help you in doing so. So, relax and go through the points given below.
Smile – even if you don’t feel like doing so!
I know it sounds crazy to smile when you’re probably stressed about your life, but it actually works! Like they say ‘fake it till you make it’, definitely stands true in this case. In fact, a report published in Psychological Science actually corroborated the fact that smiling even when you don’t feel like doing it reduces stress and anxiety to some extent.
During the study, researchers asked a group of volunteers to dip their hands in a bucket full of cold water, where some were asked to smile and others to react naturally. The results showed that those who were asked to smile actually had a lower heart rate and reported lesser anxiety. On the other hand, those who reacted naturally had higher levels of stress and heart rates. So, smile until you make it to a happy and stress-free situation.
Sit straight up
According to a study published in Health Psychology journal, sitting upright while you’re stressed and anxious can actually boost your spirits and bring on higher self-esteem. This is based on a concept known as ‘embodied cognition’, which states that our body affects our emotions and vice versa. So, if you are stressed out and anxious, don’t forget to stand straight, look straight and keep your back straight – it will help ease that anxiety.
Smell a sweet-smelling essential oil
If you want to have a relaxed and calm mind, consider buying a few sweet-smelling essential oils and a diffuser. According to various studies from around the world, the smell of essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and clary sage can actually bring down your stress levels. Further, the smell of oil also relaxes every part of the brain, to ensure you have a nice, deep sleep as well.
Or, smell some flowers!
If you do not believe in the authenticity of essential oils or just don’t feel like using a diffuser, you can smell flowers and feel rejuvenated and fresh as well! According to a report published in the Journal of Psychological Anthropology, touching or smelling sweet smelling flowers actually helps in reducing stress levels significantly. So, the next time you feel stressed out, go out of your home or office and spend some time in the garden – smelling those beautiful flowers would definitely make you feel better.
You may find this funny (which is a good thing to lower your stress levels, by the way!), but drawing is actually a good solution for calming your mind. According to an article in The Atlantic, several former presidents of the United States actually used this technique to go through their daily, stressful lives. The funniest ones, apparently, were drawn by Ronald Reagan who used to draw cheery cartoons of people around him! So, the next time you feel life has been too harsh on you recently, just grab a piece of paper and a pen and unleash those drawing skills!
Watch a funny movie
At the risk of sounding clichéd, laughter is indeed the best medicine for overcoming stress and anxiety. There have been numerous reports and studies, which suggest that laughter actually brings a lot of positivity and fresh energy into your life. So, the next time you feel down and out because of stress, do yourself a favor and watch a funny movie and laugh out the stress out of your life!
A quick bath
Almost everyone agrees that one of the easiest ways to de-stress is to take a bath in the tub. This belief has now been backed by scientific research as well. According to a recent study, people who took a bath in hot water for ten minutes a day for over two weeks showed improved signs of emotional and mental health. So, the next time you feel anxious, spend some time in the tub and refresh your mood and push the stress away!
Chew a gum
Here’s something you need to chew on: according to a study published in 2009, chewing a gum helped in reducing cortisol levels and anxiety significantly. The study was published in the Physiology & Behavior journal. If you’re feeling stressed out, you know what to do – chew some gum and relax your mind.
Hit the gym
This is no rocket science. Doing any form of exercise – whether mild or extreme, not just helps keep you in shape, but also keeps stress at bay. This is so because while exercising, your mind produces the feel-good neurotransmitters that immediately start improving your mood, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. So, hit the gym more and keep stress away from your life.
Do kind deeds for others
Kindness shouldn’t be restricted to any specific situations in our life. But when you are stressed out, doing acts of kindness can especially be a game changer. When you help someone else, the neurotransmitters associated with happiness are released that lift your spirits immediately and make you forget the stress-causing situation for a while. And helping someone can be anything – right from helping a blind man cross a road to paying for someone’s drinks, a kind act goes a long way in bringing a smile on your face as well.
Enjoy some time with your pet
There are a lot of advantages of owning a pet, one of which is definitely stress alleviation. A 2002 study that was published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine that went on to state that compared to people who own pets, non-pet owners had higher levels of blood pressure and heart rates. Further, the pet owners, according to the study, showed that they reacted in a calmer and composed way as compared to people who did not own a pet. They were also able to handle anxiety a lot better as compared to non-pet owners. So, clearly spending time with your cute little pets can do wonders in tackling stress.
Join a boxing class
If you are really in a hurry to get that stress off your shoulders, ‘punching’ your way through it is the best option – literally. Studies show that boxing is a great way to lower your cortisol levels and get stress relief. Further, it is a great body workout as well! So, do yourself a favor and the next time you feel stressed out, ‘punch’ your way through it!
Yoga is the perfect way to make your body healthy – both physically and mentally. In fact, yoga is a holistic method that focuses on bringing harmony and synchronism between the mind, body and soul. This is the perfect recipe for getting rid of stress and anxiety for good. Start with fifteen minutes of yoga a day and gradually increase it for better results in tackling stress and anxiety.
Enjoy soothing music
Music has been out there since ages and has been used as a tool to de-stress. Kings in the good old times used to listen to some calming soothing music after a hectic day in their room. In modern times, things remain the same and music continues to heal minds and souls. Find yourself some soothing music and listen to it whenever you feel stressed out, it will not only push away stress, but also make you feel more confident and full of energy.
Stay away from your smartphone for a while
While smartphones can make our lives much easier, they are also a big reason why stress and anxiety are present in our lives much more than they used to be. The constant phone and message notifications keep our flight and fight mode on all the time – leading to lots of stress. So, if you are feeling a bit too stressed out, do yourself a favor and stay away from your phone for a while. It will do wonders to your overall mental health and relieve stress a great deal.
Stretch a bit
If you cannot find time to exercise a bit every day, even a simple task such as stretching can keep stress at bay. A study conducted in Spain found out that people who stretch for even ten to twelve minutes a day are seen to have a lower level of heart rate and blood pressure. Stretching improves blood circulation and boosts the mood quite significantly. So, the next time you are stressed out, get up from your office chair, walk around and stretch a little to bring down the stress levels.
Just like yoga, meditation is perhaps the best ever tool against stress and anxiety out there. And contrary to the popular belief, you don’t really need to meditate for hours to reap its benefits. Even as little as five minutes of meditation in a peaceful environment can boost your energy levels and bring down stress, anxiety and depression drastically if you follow it regularly. If you are unable to meditate, just download one of the apps that help you in guiding you through the process of meditation.
Locking lips can help you in countering stress and anxiety. Sounds bizarre, right? Well, it actually works! A research published in the year 2009 in the Western Journal of Communication found that locking lips released hormones that counter stress and anxiety in both the sexes. So, the next time you feel stressed out, you know what to do.
Sex is a powerful stress buster, as it releases endorphins related with positive feelings and relaxation, thereby relieving from stress and anxiety. This has been corroborated through many studies and reports as well. If you are feeling stressed, sex might be a good option to get rid of it quickly!
Squeezing a stress ball can also relieve you from stress and anxiety. According to psychologists, squeeze balls and fidget spinners take your mind away from everything that has been bothering you, thereby reducing stress levels quite a bit. If you feel like stress is getting the better of you, it’s time to squeeze that squishy little ball. Plus, it’s fun!
Make a list of things you are grateful for!
Journal all the things you feel grateful about. Yes, this might sound like a futile exercise, but researchers have found the contrary – journaling about the things you feel grateful for can actually bring about a chance in your mood. It makes you feel more confident and happy instead of being gloomy and depressed. In a study carried out in 2015, researchers found out that people who write down things they are grateful for actually had lower heart rates.
Talk to your friends
Having a friend to talk to can actually be a real saver if you are struggling due to stress and anxiety. According to numerous studies, a strong support system ensures that your cortisol levels remain in check. So if you are feeling a bit stressed out, it would be a good idea to call one of your friends and have a chat. It would not only reduce your stress level, but also boost positive energy.
Take some deep breaths
Taking a few deep breaths can also do wonders in combating stress and anxiety. When we’re feeling anxious, your breath becomes shorter, which further makes you more anxious. To counter this, you can take a few deep breaths. It would not only bring back your heart rate to normal, it would also make you feel more calm and happy. The best way to ensure you are doing it correctly is to watch your belly. If your belly goes out when you take your breath in, and the belly goes in when you exhale, you are doing it correctly.
Spend time outside
In a research published in 2018 in the Health and Place Journal, researchers pointed out that spending more time in the natural surroundings increases the overall mental health and reduces stress and anxiety. This is because of the fact that humans are designed to stay in greener forests and water bodies. If you cannot afford to go out in the open during daytime, even looking at pictures of forests and water bodies actually reduces stress levels!
Get some sunlight
If you haven’t been out in the sun for a long time, its time you head out of your place and get some sun. According to health experts, exposure to sunlight increases the release of a hormone known as serotonin, which helps boost your spirits. If you find it difficult to spend time under the sun, you can at least spare a few minutes a day for this and you would actually feel the difference soon!
Eat your veggies
One of the best ways to ensure low levels of stress is the age old advice of having your greens. Numerous studies have found a correlation between eating more fruits and veggies to lower the levels of stress. So if you want to change how you feel, start with your plate. Start eating more fruits and veggies and it will not only make you healthier, but also calmer and happier over a period of time.
Yes, surprisingly, scientists have found that cursing your favorite expletive when you are feeling stressed can actually reduce your stress levels. In a study conducted on this issue, some people were asked to curse with their hands dipped in freezing water, while the rest of the people were asked to react naturally. The results showed that people who cursed actually kept their hands in the cold water longer. So, the next time you are stressed about something, you know what exactly you are supposed to do!
Dance your way out of stress
Just like listening to music, dancing is actually also a good way to reduce those stress levels. In fact, dancing is a combination of both music and exercise – both of which are a good way of getting rid of stress. So what are you waiting for? Turn on the music and dance your way out of stress in no time!
Replace coffee with tea
Although coffee is a good way to start your day with a fresh and energetic note, having too much of it is simply harmful for your overall health. Drinking too much coffee elevates stress levels in the body and hormones associated with it. According to various reports, notably ones published in Psychopharmacology reveal that those who drink black tea several times a day actually had a forty-seven percent drop in the release of cortisol levels after a stressful task. On the other hand, those who were given just fake tea for placebo effect, actually had a cortisol level reduction of only 27 percent! So, replace coffee with black tea and say goodbye to stress!
Look at happy photos!
While smartphone and social media apps may have their disadvantages, a good thing is that they give you instant access to photos. And according to a recent study, looking at pictures that you associate with happiness and good times helps reduce cortisol levels by quite a margin. If you face stress again, just open your Instagram and check out your anniversary photos or a party you threw for your friends and you will find your mood change for the better in a matter of seconds.