Stress is a natural part of everyday life, and it can be caused by anything that excessively demands your attention. When faced with a stressful situation, your heart rate increases, you breathe faster, your muscles tense up, and the brain requires more oxygen.
The stress response can be detrimental to your health if it lasts too long.
You cannot completely avoid stress in life. However, you can learn to manage it better.
17 effective ways to reduce stress and tension
Here are 17 quick and effective ways to reduce stress and tension.
- Breathe – Slow and deep breaths can aid in lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate.
- Play some music – Listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood.
- Set your priorities – Decide what needs to be done immediately, and what can wait. If you are overwhelmed, learn to say “no” to new tasks that would add to your stress.
- Partake in relaxing activities – Take the time to engage in relaxing activities that you enjoy, such as reading, yoga, or gardening.
- Do physical activity – Moderate physical activity can help elevate your mood and reduce stress.
- Spend time in the sun – Sunlight can be an effective treatment for people suffering from depression, and can even improve the mood of those who are not depressed.
- Stretch – Quick stretches can relieve muscle tension and help you to relax.
- Avoid obsessing over problems – Instead of focusing on what you have been unable to do, focus on what you have achieved!
- Spend some time alone – 10 minutes of alone time can help you collect your thoughts and clear your head.
- Utilize essential oils – Using essential oils or lighting a scented candle can help you calm down. The most relaxing scents include ylang-ylang, chamomile, rose, geranium, and orange.
- Meditate – Five minutes of silent meditation is all it takes to enjoy the many benefits of the practice.
- Laugh – Laughter is one of the best ways to beat stress.
- Journaling – A great way to deal with stress is to write down your thoughts in a notebook. For example, write down how your day was, what conflicts arose, and how you could most effectively deal with or solve them. Writing will allow you to externally view your thoughts and gain a different perspective.
- Get good quality sleep – Sleep reduces stress levels, and it is best to get at leat 7 hours of sleep. This will allow you to achieve what is known as “deep sleep,” which is the third stage of sleep in which the body restores energy and allows you to start your day more energized.
- Disconnect – It is almost impossible today to fully disconnect from social networks, but it is important to remember that excessive use of them causes anxiety, and consequently stress. Try to disconnect for a few hours a day. If possible, practice some meditation and breathing exercises during this time to clear your mind.
- Take a short walk – Combining exercise with time outside can be an excellent stress reliever. While you are walking outside, pay attention to the world around you. Listen to the sounds of nature, look at all of the colors and textures, touch the leaves and flowers, and feel the earth under your feet.
- Hug someone – There are studies that show a hug can reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Remember, we only live once. There is no doubt that it would be more satisfying if instead of living our lives under pressure and stress, we enjoyed a life of peace and calm.
Merav Dayan is a business and life coach, and an expert in increasing self-confidence and changing thinking patterns.