18 Easy and Effective Ways to Relieve Stress

Effective ways to relive stress

Stress usually results from the challenges and problems of life. We tend to get stressed while going through the struggles and hassles of life. The fact is that so long as we are alive, life is never devoid of problems and challenges.

While we can’t control the problems that life throws our way, we can always control how we respond to those problems and life situations. You must seek effective ways to relieve yourself of stress.

When stress becomes constant and overwhelming, it can cause a significant problem to your mental health and general wellbeing. This is why health experts recommend some effective stress-relief methods.

Below are 18 easy and effective ways to relieve stress.

One of the most common and most effective ways of dealing with stress is through exercise. You might not understand how it works, but physical stress can help relieve mental stress in the form of exercise.

You will gain more benefits from exercise when you have a regular exercise routine. Studies have shown that people who exercise often tend not to experience anxiety than people who don’t exercise.

Exercise for Stress relief

One of the most common and most effective ways of dealing with stress is through exercise. You might not understand how it works, but physical stress can help relieve mental stress in the form of exercise.

You will gain more benefits from exercise when you have a regular exercise routine. Studies have shown that people who exercise often tend not to experience anxiety than people who don’t exercise.

Exercise has direct benefits for the mind and body both – it clears your head and strengthens your heart. Initially, it may seem like work but as you get into shape you will sure start enjoying every bit of it.

Exercise has an impact on stress hormones. The primary stress hormone of the body is cortisol. Exercise reduces the level of cortisol that the body releases. It also triggers the release of endorphins, which are hormones that help keep the body relaxed and act as natural pain relievers.

Exercise acts to improve the quality of sleep, which in turn is effective way of relieving stress. Exercise tends to increase confidence and competency, which in turn is an effective way to relive stress and has positive effects on mental health.  

2. Reduce intake of Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant. You will find it in beverages and drinks such as tea, coffee, energy drinks, and chocolate. Studies have revealed that when in high concentration, caffeine can cause anxiety. As both Caffeine and stress can elevate your Cortisol levels

Are you a coffee lover? It would be best if you were careful not to take it in high amounts. Also, note that caffeine threshold tolerance differs in people.

If you consume caffeine, take it in a moderate dose, especially if you notice that you feel anxious and jittery after finishing it.

Some studies have suggested that it is, in fact, healthy to take coffee in ‘moderate amounts,’ but coffee is still not for everyone.

What amount of coffee is considered moderate?

On average, five cups or fewer daily can be said to be moderate.

3. Keep a Diary, write down things

Keeping a diary is a good habit

One right way to relieve stress is by venting through writing. Even if you have no one to talk to, you can put the things you want to say into writing.

Write about the things stressing you; write about the challenges and problems that seem to be stressing you and causing you anxiety.

Aside from writing about the stressors, it might help write about the things you are grateful for. You tend to feel more stressed and anxious when you focus your thoughts on life’s negative aspects.

Do not dwell just on the negativities; look at the positive side, and be grateful for those things. You can get yourself a personal diary for jotting things down or, better still, shop for journals online. This is one of the most proven and effective way to relive stress.

4. Spend more time with your family and friends

The best place you can get support is amid family, loved ones, and friends. This is why you should spend more time with these people who care about you, especially when you are going through stressful times.

If you are going through a state of mental or emotional breakdown, it will help to join a network of friends who have gone through or experienced similar things you experienced. This way, you feel some sense of belonging, which is an effective way for stress relief.

A study showed that for the female gender, in particular, being in the midst of family and friends triggers the release of oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever. 

Another name for this effect is “tend and befriend.” It is the exact opposite of what we know as “fight or flight response.”

5. Laugh More to Reduce Stress

Perhaps you do not know the power that laughter and smile wield. Laughing is an excellent and effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. The fact is that when you are laughing, you are much likely not to feel anxious- you are set free from the grips of anxiety.

Humour is good for stress

Laughing relieves stress response; it is an excellent way to respond to stress and relax the muscles. Laughing reduces muscle tension and is also said to improve both mood and the immune system in the long run.

Laughter is a form of intervention that can be used for people suffering from certain diseases such as cancer to stress management.

Are you thinking of a way to induce laughter? Try watching funny TV programs, comedy shows and hang out often with people who put smiles on your face.

6. It is Okay to say No.

Know this; it is okay to say no. You can’t control every stressor. However, other aspects or things are posing as a challenge to you that you can handle. For instance, if your work environment is stressful for you, you can control the situation by changing your work environment.

You can say no to your boss in a respectful manner if they put much pressure on you.

Juggling too many tasks will only end up stressing you and would even reduce your work efficiency.

Learn to say no when it is necessary and also be selective when it comes to tasks. Cut off some unnecessary things and save yourself the anxiety – a real effective way to relieve stress.

Learn to say No

7. Stop Procrastinating

Are you surprised that this came in as one of the easy and effective ways to relieve stress? You need not be, as doing things at the right time, and staying on top of your priorities is one of the key ways to avoid stress in the first place.

Procrastination is bad for stress

When you leave out some things you are meant to do, not doing them at the right time and pushing them to some time in the future, it can make you respond reactively when the deadline for that task is close by.

You see yourself scrambling and struggling to catch up with the deadline. This can affect your quality of sleep, cause undue stress, and adversely affect your health.

Make it a habit to make a to-do list. Organize your list in order of priority and set for yourself realistic deadlines even as you work your way down the to-do list you created.

8. Take a Yoga Class for Stress Relief

Yoga is good for Stress Management

Over the years, health experts have recommended yoga as an effective way of relieving stress among people of all age groups.

However, different yoga styles share a common goal: to relax your body and mind and put you in an excellent physical and mental state.

Quite a few studies show the effect of yoga on mental health. Such studies found that yoga enhances mood and acts as an antidepressant for relieving anxiety and depression. 

The beneficial effects of yoga on stress can be traced to its effects on stress response and the nervous system. It has the potential to lower blood pressure, cortisol level, and heart rate.

9. Practise mindfulness

What does mindfulness here mean? It merely means those activities that keep you fixated in reality and the present moment. 

Mindfulness for relieving stress

When you practice mindfulness meditation, it helps you deal with the anxiety caused by negative thinking. Several methods have proven to increase mindfulness. Such strategies include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy. 

A study that was carried out on university students suggested mindfulness as a way of increasing self-esteem. Increased self-esteem, in return, plays an essential role in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety and as such an effective way to relieve stress.

10 Listening to music for Stress Management

Music relaxes the body and soothes the soul; you should listen to music more often. Music, especially slow-paced instrumental songs, can induce relaxation as it can trigger the reduction of heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones.

Music for Stress relief

If you are wondering about the kind of music to listen to, you should try our app – Zen Lounge. Native American, Celtic, and Indian music also tend to be soothing to the body and soul.

Another effective way to relieve stress using songs is simply by listening to the music you enjoy. Any music of choice that puts you in that good mood would do.

11. Deep Breathing is an Effective way to Relieve Stress

When you are stressed out mentally, your brain activates the sympathetic nervous system, which induces the fight or flight response. During the fight or flight mode, your body releases stress hormones, putting your body on alert.

While the fight or flight response helps your body in times of danger, it can destabilize your mental health when it is often activated. It induces a chain of reactions such as quickened breathing, increased heartbeat, and blood vessel constriction.

Deep breathing to relive stress

You can offset the sympathetic reactions by activating the parasympathetic system. One way of doing this is by doing deep breathing exercises during Meditation. Deep breathing exercises are of different types, such as belly breathing, abdominal breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and paced respiration.

In deep breathing, you focus on your breathing, make it not just slower but more profound as well. Your lungs expand during deep breathing, taking in more air, which helps slow down the heart rate.

12. Spend time with your pet

Pets are the next closest thing to a human companion. If you don’t have a pet, getting one might help you reduce stress as pets tend to improve their owners’ moods.

Spending time with pets

Some studies in this area have shown that interacting and playing with pets may help release oxytocin, a hormone and brain chemical that enhances mood.

When your mood is enhanced, it automatically helps to relieve you of stress. Your pet does not only keep you engaged but also keeps you active, which is another effective way to relieve stress.

13. Spend Time with Nature

Nature is one of the best healer.  A walk in the park is one of the most easy and effective way to relive stress. The trees which stands as great symbol of meditation observing everything silently for ages while providing life is a great inspiration.

Nature for stress relief

Nature is soothing for the soul and will rejuvenate you with the gentle rustle of the leaves, the bird songs the green ambience and much more. You can either choose to simply relax below a tree, sit on a bench or take a walk across the green grass forgetting everything else for the time being.

Recent research with college students has found that even spending 10 minutes in natural setting can help feel happier and is one of the easiest and effective way to relive stress.

14. Create Artwork for Stress Relief

Creating artwork is something we all loved doing when we were kids, but who told you adults shouldn’t create paintings? Have you lost touch with creativity? You should bring back that part of you that is creative. You will need it to get your mind off the worries and stressors.

There are different artworks you can create. You can delve into drawing, sculpturing, coloring, or painting. Tapping into the creative side of you and nurturing it can be an effective way of relieving stress.

Studies have shown that creativity that involves art like coloring can cause meditative effects. It can help alleviate anxiety, thus, making it an effective stress reliever.

Creative work can help reduce stress

15. Show and express gratitude.

Gratitude enables you to identify everything you are thankful for. There are many things to be grateful for; you don’t even need to think twice about it.

Express gratitude

You have your life; you might have been promoted at work or even have a job at least, you are healthy, you have a roof over your head, you have family and friends who love you. These and many more are things to be grateful for. How about focusing on them and be thankful for them?

Gratitude reminds you of the good things that have come your way and help you cope with stress. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude makes for better mental health, reduces stress, and improves life quality.

16. Set Realistic Goals to Avoid Frustration

While it is important not to procrastinate and create a to-do-list, you should also remember to set realistic goals for yourself. 

Set realistic goals

Set goals that are feasible and achievable within a stipulated time frame. If you attempt squeezing three days’ worth of work into one day, it will affect you in the wrong way. The effect is that you give yourself undue stress, which would even end up reducing your work efficiency or even making you fall sick.

17. Get Quality Sleep

If you have been taking your sleep for granted, you should stop. Better sleep can help immensely in better mental health. We all know that sleep and stress are interlinked. You tend not to get quality sleep when you are stressed. Also, lack of adequate sleep is one of the significant causes of stress.

It is like a vicious cycle that can cause both your body and your brain to go haywire. It doesn’t get better but only worsens over time if you do not correct it.

At least 7 hours of sleep at night is recommended for adults. Even more hours of sleep are recommended for children. 

Quality sleep for stress relief

Get yourself in the sleeping mood by dimming the light in your room, putting off the TV, and other sources of noise. Sleep is one of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve stress.

18. Drink Tea and avoid Alcohol and Nicotine

Since science has shown that taking caffeine in a large dose can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure and can also cause overdrive of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, it would be wiser to consume it in a minimal amount.

Drink Tea

Instead of drinking coffee or beverages that might contain caffeine, you should opt for green tea instead. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee and contains antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress. Theanine, an amino acid in the tea, also has a soothing effect on the nervous system.

Conclusion

Even though we cannot totally avoid stress, we should still try our best to prevent it or respond to it in a better way. Constant undue stress can harm both your mental and physical health.

The good part is that stress is not a severe life-threatening issue as it can be managed. It only becomes life-threatening when it is not controlled, and effective measures are not taken to relieve it.

You can reduce your stress level by adopting the strategies and practical methods mentioned in this article.

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