Stress is a part of life. You can get stressed at work, at home, at school, with a loved one, a colleague, or a friend. You have no control over it, it happens and will happen whether you like it or not. What you can control is how you respond to it. Here are 18 simple ways to manage stress:
Being active is a good way to take your mind away from what’s stressing you. It may sound conflicting but mental stress can be relieved by physical stress. You don’t need to go to the gym and lift weights to do this. Walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and playing sports are a great way to reduce stress.
The scent of essential oils can help to put you in a better mood, make you feel calm, and invigorated. Studies have shown that aromatherapy could be a very effective method to manage stress. It can also help in alleviating pain.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that occurs naturally on coffee beans, cocoa beans, and tea leaves. These are used for making coffee, chocolate, and tea respectively. Caffeine helps you stay awake and may escalate the levels of blood adrenaline. It can also boost the brain activity of norepinephrine and dopamine which are both neurotransmitters. However, too much caffeine can also be bad for you. If you feel anxious or jumpy after a few cups of coffee then it’s time to cut down on caffeine. Take note of your daily caffeine intake.
Chew some gum
Chewing gum is an easy and quick stress reliever. A study has shown that chewing gum can help reduce stress after the gum has been chewed for some time. It can also reduce anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
Meet with family and friends
Getting social support from family, friends, and colleagues can be a big help when you are stressed. A study showed that oxytocin is released when you spend time with children and friends, this happens more with women than with men. It also showed in another study that both men and women with very few social support tend to become afflicted with anxiety and depression.
Say no when needed
Some stressors can be controlled such as the amount of work or responsibilities you get. Don’t take on more than you can handle, learn how to say No.
Imagine you have a big deadline coming but you keep on putting it off until there’s little time left to finish your work. You get all tensed up, you can’t relax, you can’t sleep, and you’re so stressed that you can’t give it your best. This is what procrastination does to you. Be organized, keep a schedule, know your deadlines, stay on top of the game, always do what you can do today, and stop putting off things until tomorrow.
Laughing makes you feel good. Laughter releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins that help to lighten your mood. The levels of cortisol, a stress-causing hormone, is also lowered when you laugh. Watch a funny movie or meet up with people who always make you laugh.
Learn to be mindful
Mindfulness has many benefits and relieving stress is one of them. You can practice mindfulness through mindfulness meditation, mindful movement, and mindful eating. There’s also mindfulness-based-reduction programs and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Get a hug
A hug can make a big difference. Studies have shown that physical contact can help reduce stress levels. It can releases oxytocin and decrease cortisol levels.
Listen to relaxing music
Listening to soft relaxing music can help relieve stress. Being in a relaxed state lowers both heart rate and blood pressure. Sounds of nature like falling rain, blowing wind, and flowing water can also calm you down.
Breathing exercises help you clear your mind and oxygenate your blood. In breathing exercises, you focus on making each breath deeper and slower. This leaves you feeling relaxed and at peace.
Yoga is known to relieve stress. It reduces stress by promoting relaxation through exercise, meditation, and controlled breathing. Yoga can also help alleviate pain.
Stay away from unhealthy habits
Avoid using alcohol and nicotine to escape from your stressors. Smoking and too much drinking are bad for your health. Too much of these can also worsen stress and induce panic attacks.
Get a good amount of sleep
Stress can cause you to sleep less and lack of sleep can cause stress. This a vicious cycle that could worsen over time. Make sure to sleep 7-8 hours a day. Listen to relaxing music or use soothing scents to help you get a good sleep.
Get a pet
A study has shown that interactions with pets have a positive effect on humans. It can possibly help in releasing oxytocin and having a pet around gives you purpose, provides companionship and helps keep you active. You can get a cat, a dog, or any other pet that you think suits you best and you can responsibly take care of.
Think of things that induce positivity and things that you’re thankful for. Appreciating the good things you have can help drive negative thoughts away.
Keep a journal
Write down the things, people or situations that stress you. Avoid them as much as you can and if you can’t avoid them, prepare for a way to manage those stressors by using any of the methods mentioned above.
Stress can be manageable if you have the patience to try each and every method to see which one works for you. It could be just one or a combination of methods. Practice these tips daily and you’ll be able to manage stress easily.