Stress Relievers: 25 Ways to Reduce Stress
By: Elizabeth Scott, M.S., About.com Guide
We all experience stress from time to time. When stress gets to be too much, it can take a toll on our health and wellbeing. That’s why effective stress relievers are essential in restoring inner peace and physical health. Here is a growing list of stress relievers that can help you feel less affected by stress in your life.
Practicing guided imagery is a fun and simple way to take a break from stress, clarify what you want, and build optimism. It’s a relatively quick pathway to mental peace.
Self-hypnosis provides a simple and relaxing route to changing habits, relaxing your body, altering your thought patterns, and more. Because all of these can be stress relievers, self-hypnosis is well worth the effort.
Autogenic allows you to change your physiology with your mind, and reverse your stress response easily.
Journaling can be used in several different ways, all of which can relieve stress. Because journaling is proven by research to bring several health benefits in addition to stress relief, this stress reliever is highly recommended.
Meditation brings short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try–each one is unique and brings its own appeal.
Progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR, is a technique that allows you to relax all of the muscles in your body, group by group. Beginning sessions take several minutes, and allow you to feel physically and emotionally relaxed when done. With practice, you can achieve full-body relaxation within seconds.
Yoga incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, and light exercise. One session brings initial stress relief, and continued practice brings greater resilience to stress. It’s one of the more potent stress relievers.
Breathing exercises provide convenient and simple stress relief in that they can be used anytime, anywhere, and they work quickly.
Enjoying a good game with a group of friends, or playing something relaxing online can take your mind off of your stressors, and can lead to a more relaxed state. Games are stress relievers that work well because people enjoy them enough to use them regularly.
Within a healthy relationship, sex can be a fantastic stress reliever, as it incorporates several other stress relief ingredients–breathing, touch, social connection, and a few others–and brings a rush of endorphins and other beneficial chemicals with orgasm. It’s another one of the more “fun” stress relievers that can also be quite effective.
The physical act of laughing releases tension and brings positive physiological changes. Finding ways to work more laughter into your day can be an effective route to stress relief.
While biofeedback requires some special equipment, this stress relief technique can allow you to become more aware of and consciously alter the physiological changes that come with stress. By using your mind to relax your body, you can relax your mind to a greater degree as well, creating a positive feedback loop.
13. Music Therapy
Music can alter your physiology in ways that help you to relieve stress. It’s an enjoyable, passive route to stress relief. Formal music therapy sessions can help with a variety of stress-related issues.
14. Take a Walk
Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever that can work in minutes. Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change in scenery, which can get you into a different frame of mind, and brings the benefits of exercise as well. Learn about the other benefits of walking as a stress reliever.
15. Plant a Garden
Getting outside and enjoying the scenery is just one of the ways that gardening can contribute to stress relief. Read about the other stress reliever benefits of planting a garden.
16. Time Management
Honing your time management skills can allow you to minimize the stressors that you experience, and better manage the ones you can’t avoid. When you are able to complete everything on your “to do” list without the stress of rushing or forgetting, your whole life feels easier.
17. Listen To Music
Finding a music therapist isn’t the only way music can help as a stress reliever. Creating playlists for various moods (a cathartic mix for when you want to process feelings, an upbeat mix for when you need more energy, etc.) can help you to relieve stress passively, enjoyably, and conveniently.
A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress. A healthy diet can bring greater physical and emotional wellness. Find some simple go-to meals and snacks, and feel less stressed in your daily life.
Relationships can be great stress relievers. Knowing how to keep your relationships healthy through effective communication is one of the best investments of time and energy for stress relief.
Aromatherapy has proven benefits for stress relief–it can help you to become energized, more relaxed, or more present.
Consuming caffeine too late in the day can affect sleep quality, which impacts stress levels. Consuming too much caffeine in general can make you more emotionally reactive to stress. Learn how much caffeine is too much.
Speaking of knowing limits, maintaining careful limits with alcohol is particularly important. One glass of red wine at the end of the day can bring relaxation, but too much alcohol can obviously bring a host of other problems.
Putting off a stressful or labor-intensive project can only increase the stress you experience. Learn how to stop procrastination can allow you to get done what you need to do, without the added stress of rushing for a deadline.
24. Drink Green Tea
Sitting with a glass of green tea and planning for the day ahead, or reflecting on the day behind (remember–decaf at night!) can provide you with a nice break and a taste of peace. You’ll experience the health benefits of green tea as well.
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If you’d like even more ideas for stress relievers, visit this list of 25 More Stress Relievers To Try!
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The Spirit Way