9 Ways to Reduce Stress

Do you struggle with anxiety like I do? It’s exhausting and stress can be found everywhere. Work, relationships, the weather, health, and finances can each be a source of stress. These things aren’t stressful in themselves, but we create stress by our interpretation of them. There are many ways to create stress and many way to combat stress. Considering how miserable stress can make life, the time spent learning to reduce stress is time well-spent. Below are some of my favorite quick and easy ways to lessen the stress from day to day. Be patient and try several possible solutions to find the ones that work best for you.

1. Have a good laugh. Laughing is the perfect antidote to stress. You feel better physically and mentally after a good laugh. Keep a book of jokes handy or find a humor-related website for a quick pick-me-up.

2. Have a quick nap. A nap resets and refreshes your brain. Experiment with the duration of your naps as there’s no one solution that fits everyone. You’ll likely find that napping for too long can leave you feeling groggy and grumpy.

3. Meditate. Meditation is simple but requires practice to be effective. Meditation and mindfulness are both extremely popular topics with countless books and websites dedicated to these topics. You’re sure to find an excellent resource by simply Googling the term meditation or mindfulness. Below are some of my favorite meditation and mindfulness resources.

Mindful Minute: A podcast by fellow blogger, Karen McMillan with meditations on various topics.

Intention Inspired: A few blog posts on this site cover meditation, with a focus on specific topics like being present and staying calm.

4. Spend time with a pet. Studies have shown that contact with a pet greatly reduces stress and anxiety. Some pets are better than others for stress relief. You might find that a dog or cat is more conducive to relaxing than a pet tarantula, but it’s up to you to determine what works for you. One of my friends enjoys her exotic animals that I could never envision owning as a pet! For me, cuddles with my pup when I’m feeling down make me feel much better and I’m more able to relax.

5. Write in a journal. If you don’t currently have a journal, get one. A simple spiral notebook and pen/pencil works as well as anything else. When you’re feeling anxious, pull out your journal and write out your feelings. It might seem silly, but writing is an effective way to get negative thoughts out of your head. Try it, and see how much better you feel afterward. If you’re feeling extra creative, you could create an art journal with some gel pens and markers.

6. Go for a walk. All you need is a good pair of shoes and perhaps an umbrella if it’s cloudy or overly sunny. Walking is free, good for you, and a great way to beat stress. Find a way to fit a couple of walks into your routine and you’ll enjoy the results. My little dachshund helps keep me active outside with his constant need to go out and explore along with the usual potty breaks. If it helps, you could create a playlist of meditations or calming music to listen to while you go for a walk.

7. Breathe deeply. The combination of altering your breathing and taking your mind off challenges is magical. Take a slow breath, hold it for two seconds, and then release it slowly. Repeat that 10 times while concentrating on the process, and your stress will melt away.

8. Listen to music. Music is a highly effective way to alter your emotions. With the right choice of music, you can make yourself feel happy, sad, energized, or angry. Choose your music wisely and keep it handy.

9. Make a list of solutions. Are you getting stressed because you’re worrying about the future? Instead of worrying, make a list of ways to deal with whatever is bothering you. You’ll be less stressed if you concentrate on what you can do to resolve your challenges and what you can control right here, right now.

Stress is bad for our physical and mental health. We don’t have to suffer with stress when there are many ways to combat the physical and mental effects that stress creates. With time, you’ll find the methods that work best for you to reduce your stress levels.

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