How to Reduce Stress
Once I quit a job, and my stress was almost gone. This might be the best for reducing stress, but nobody can choose it, unless they can afford to. However, there are some suggestions which can help you reduce your stress. Travelling, gardening, and baking are good ways to reduce stress.
Travelling is an effective way to reduce any kind of stress. Planning the trip gives people an exciting mood that inspires them to be active. By escaping from pressure, their mind will be refreshed and positive. Therefore, by travelling, people will gain great energy to control their stressful lives.
Gardening is another favourable way of treating stress, because it protects people from mental and physical problems. As people know, flowers and their scents have wonderful effects that give people a peaceful and cheerful feeling. Likewise, gardening in the sunshine strengthens their bodies to resist the stresses. For these reasons, gardening is a valuable way to avoid stress.
If people have stress outside, baking at home is a great protection. Kneading bread dough is especially effective in controlling their temper. By touching dough, the smoothness and softness of the dough can heal their depression or stress. Because the baking is homemade, their worries will be reduced and thus is worthwhile for stressed people.
Spending time for holidays, garden work, home baking is a reliable way to help people to value their existence. In this generation, people have excessive information that makes them confused and mislead. For reducing a stressful life, people should with the simple ways that are all around them.
How to Reduce Stress
Five Parts:Relaxing Your BodyRelaxing Your MindBeing ProactiveReflecting on Your StressStress Reduction HelpCommunity Q&A
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure becomes stress when you feel unable to cope. Everyone reacts differently to stress and experiences different stressors, or things that cause stress. Common stressors include work, relationships, and money. Stress can affect how you feel, think, and behave. It can also impact how your body functions. Common signs of stress include anxiety, worrisome thinking, sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating, among others.  It is worth taking the time to learn different strategies and techniques for managing your stress before there are serious consequences for your mental and physical well-being.
Part 1Relaxing Your Body
1Exercise. Just 30 to 45 minutes of exercise three times a week can make you feel much healthier and in control of your own life. Studies have shown that exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve your cognitive function. Exercise also releases endorphins, chemicals that trigger positive feelings. Here are some great ways to exercise:
- Take up running. Running releases endorphins and can make you feel great after you do it. Try setting a goal for yourself, like running a 5k or 10k race. This will keep you motivated and make you feel more capable of meeting and tackling challenges.
- Join a pool and swim a mile every other day. Immersing yourself in water will make you feel stronger and will wash away any of your stressful thoughts. This is also a good activity if you have any joint or muscle pain.
- Take a yoga class. Yoga is not only great for you physically, but it will help you learn to regulate your breath and your mind's wanderings.
- Join a team sport, like bowling, volleyball, or softball. You'll be able to make new friends and workout at the same time. In other words, you get the benefits of socialization AND exercising in one go.
- Take up hiking. You'll feel less stressed if you spend more time in nature and exposed to fresh air.
2Get a massage. Massage therapy can help reduce stress. A massage is a great way to relax and to minimize the physical and emotional tension you are experiencing. You can give yourself a massage by massaging your neck, forearms, and palms, ask a friend to give you a massage, or even go to a professional masseuse.
- A professional massage can be pricey, but well worth it. A masseuse will literally be able to knead some of the stress out of your body. Check to see if massage therapy is covered by your insurance plan.
- Massaging is also great foreplay. If you have a willing significant other, ask him to massage your feet or back, and see where it takes you.
3Eat well. Maintaining the right diet is the key to reducing stress. Well-nourished bodies are better able to cope with the physical and emotional side effects of stress. Moreover, stress has been correlated with overeating; people tend to seek high-calorie, high-fat foods when they feel stressed. If you want to reduce the stress in your life, then you should pay particular attention to your diet. Here's how to do it:
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so take the time to eat healthy carbs like oatmeal, proteins like lean turkey or ham, and a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat three balanced meals a day. Not skipping meals no matter how busy or stressed you are will help stabilize your routine and give you more energy.
- Make time for healthy snacks that will keep your energy high throughout the day. Carry an apple, banana, or bag of almonds. Avoid snacks that will make you feel unhealthy and lethargic, like a sugary snack or a soda.
- Minimize your caffeine and sugar intake. Caffeine and sugar may give you a temporary boost but often result in energy and mood crashes later on. Cutting back on these things may also help you sleep more soundly.
4Incorporate stress-relieving herbs and teas into your daily regimen. A number of herbs and teas can have a calming effect and reduce stress-induced insomnia, anxiety or anger. Always make sure to consult your physician or other health practitioner before using any new herbs or supplements. The most common herbs and teas used for stress relief include:
- Chamomile - The chamomile plant has been popular because of its wide range of healing properties and its easy availability. Perhaps most commonly ingested as a tea, chamomile is often used to relieve stress-induced symptoms, such as insomnia and upset stomachs.
- Passionflower - Passionflower plants have been used to treat sleep disorders, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems. Recent research has suggested that passionflower can be as effective as prescriptive chemical drugs in treating anxiety. Passionflower is usually ingested as a tea.
- Lavender - Research has shown that lavender can produce calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled. For this reason, lavender is often used in aromatherapy oils, teas, soaps, bath gels and lotions, among many other commercial products.
- Valerian root - Valerian root can be used to treat anxiety and insomnia, although it should not be used for longer than one month.
5Improve your sleep schedule. Sleep is simply too important to shortchange and sacrifice. Improving your sleep schedule will go a long way in helping you reduce stress, since sleep affects your memory, judgment, and mood. Research has shown that most Americans would be happier, healthier, and safer if they slept an extra 60-90 minutes each night.
- Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a day to get a healthy night's sleep. Sleeping too much or not enough can make you feel groggy and unable to deal with your responsibilities.
- Try to get the same amount of sleep every night. Don't sleep five hours a day during the week and then sleep ten hours a day on weekends, or you will feel even more unbalanced and tired.
- Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. This will make your routine even more regular, and it will become easier for you to go to bed and wake up.
- Spend an hour decompressing in bed before you actually go to sleep. Read or listen to calming music, or write in your journal. Don't watch TV or look at your phone, as it can be harder to wind down and get your mind and body into sleep mode.
6Tune in to your body regularly. Most people separate their physical selves from their mental selves. However, it can be useful to take a moment and check in with and mentally scan your body to understand how stress is affecting it.
- Lie on your back or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels and where there is any tension. Don't work to change anything or loosen up those tense areas, just be aware of them.
- For a couple of minutes, lie resting and breathing into all areas of your body, from top to bottom. Imagining the breath flowing into each body part as you come to it.
7Decompress. Place a warm heat wrap or cloth around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes as you shut your eyes. Try to relax your face, neck and shoulders.
- You can also use a tennis ball or Acuball to then massage those head, neck, and shoulder muscles where many of us hold our tension. Place the ball between your back and the wall or the floor, depending on what is easiest and most comfortable for you. Lean against the ball and apply gentle pressure to your back for up to 30 seconds. Then, move the ball to another area to decompress that particular spot.
Part 2Relaxing Your Mind
1Read. Reading is a great way to calm your mind and to gain knowledge. It's also a wonderful way to wake up your mind in the morning and to help yourself fall asleep at night. Whether you're reading historical fiction or a steamy romance, being absorbed in another world will help you relax your mind. Even just six minutes of reading can help reduce your stress level by two-thirds.
- If it helps, you can read with calming classical music in the background before you go to bed.
- Keep a good light source nearby to protect your eyes, but dim the lights around you as you read to make yourself more calm and ease yourself into relaxation and rest.
- If you love reading and want to make it more social, join a book club. This is a great way to encourage yourself to read and make friends in the process. Again, you can hit two birds with one stone here to reduce your stress level: do something you love and have meaningful interactions with others.
2Think positively.Become a positive thinker and to take more pleasure in your everyday interactions. Psychologists have shown that optimists and pessimists often face the same setbacks and challenges but the optimist copes with these in a better manner.
- Think everyday about 3 small things that you are grateful for; this will help remind you of all of the positive elements of your life even when you're feeling stressed. Positive thinking can help you keep a little perspective.
3Laugh more. Laughing has been proven to reduce stress. Many physicians, like Patch Adams, believe that humor can positively impact recovery from illnesses and surgeries. Studies have even shown that the very act of smiling can improve your mood and make you feel happier.
- Laughing releases endorphins, brain chemicals that enhance your mood.
- Using humor allows you to take back your power. Humor allows us to look at things in a different light. It may turn whatever is stressing you out on its head. It often pokes fun of authority. It may give you a novel way of seeing what is bothering you. Laughter and humor is a deep and powerful tool to see life differently.
4Practice deep breathing. Focusing on deepening your breath is one way to invoke the relaxation response to stress. Deep breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. Deep breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, meaning the trade of incoming fresh oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide.This helps to slow the heartbeat and stabilize or even lower blood pressure.
- Begin by finding a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. Take a normal breath or two to settle yourself. Then try a deep breath: breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to expand as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Don't hold it back, as many of us tend to do. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural). Once you feel comfortable doing this after a few practice rounds, move on to the regular form of breath focus. As you sit with your eyes closed, complement your deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps a focus word or phrase that helps you relax.
- Why doesn't shallow breathing have the same effect? Shallow breathing in fact does the opposite by limiting the motion of the diaphragm. When we breath shallowly, the lower lungs don't get a full share of oxygenated air, which can cause you to feel short of breath and anxious.
5Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment in order to help people adjust how they think and feel about their experiences. Mindfulness helps people manage and reduce stress and often uses techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.
- Try meditating if you can't make it to a course on mindfulness or a yoga class. You can meditate anywhere and for as long as you like. Meditating for just 20 minutes a day can reduce your stress greatly. All you have to do is find a comfortable seat in a quiet place, put your hands in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Focus on being present and relaxed in your body, and notice every breath and small ache you feel. Work on clearing your mind of any negative or stressful thoughts; this can be the hardest part. And, most importantly: breathe. If you find your mind wandering, focus on counting your inhales and exhales. Try meditating right after you wake up or to wind down before bed.
Part 3Being Proactive
1Let go (at least a little bit!). Recognize that you can't control everything. There will always be stressful elements in your life, but you can minimize the stress in your life by eliminating what you can and learning to cope with the rest.
- It can be helpful to consult your journal and review all of the things you are stressing over but can't control, including traffic, who your boss and coworkers are, economic ups and downs, etc.
- It's not easy to realize that you can't control anything but you may find it empowering in the end. For example, in this process you will realize that the only thoughts and behaviors you can control are your own. You can't control what your boss thinks about you or what your in-laws say; instead, what you CAN control are your responses and reactions to them. You will thus gain a new appreciation for who you are and what you're capable of.
2Address stressful situations head-on. Instead of avoiding or putting off dealing with your stressors, why not face them directly? Though you may not be able to single-handedly eliminate all of the things that are stressing you out, you may be able to alleviate them to some degree and, most importantly, prevent them from worsening and having increasingly adverse effects on your mental and physical well-being.
- Address any stressful situations in the workplace. If you feel overworked or undervalued, talk to your boss in a calm and reasonable manner. If you feel that you're over-committed at work, find a way to do half an hour less work a day, perhaps by cutting out distractions or unnecessary breaks in your work flow. Look for solutions that will help you reduce that particular stressor without adding any additional stress. Learn how to be assertive to communicate your needs so that they are taken seriously.
- Address any relationships that are causing you stress. If you're stressed out about the state of your relationship with a partner, family member or friend, it's best to start a conversation than to wait around to see what happens. The sooner you open up about the stress the relationship is causing you, the sooner you can begin to resolve it.
- Address the "little things" that need doing. Sometimes it can be the smallest things that add to our daily stress as they build up and remain undone. If you're feeling like you're starting to "sweat the small stuff", deal with these things directly. Make a to-do list of the little things (such as needing to change your oil to making a dentist appointment) that are nagging you and see how many you can get done in a month. Creating a checklist can be very motivating; you'll get to see the list get shorter as you check items off.
3Get organized. Getting organized, planning ahead and being prepared can reduce stress levels. One of the first key steps is to keep a day planner that lists all of your appointments, meetings, and anything else you have scheduled, such as a yoga class or class trip. This will help you know what your days look like each week and month. In so doing, you'll have a better sense of what you need to do and how to plan for these things.
- Organize your short-term plans. If you're stressed at the thought of an upcoming trip, try to hammer out the details as early as you can so there are no x-factors. Knowing what's ahead will give you a sense of control and help you better manage any unforeseen circumstances.
- Organize your space. If you declutter your space, then your life will feel more organized and manageable. This may take some effort, but the benefits will outweigh the time you spend on getting everything right. Get rid of things you no longer use or need (such as old clothes, electronics or small appliances) and rearrange your space to make it as functional as possible. Try to maintain an organized and clean living space. Spend 10-15 minutes each night throwing out anything you don't need, cleaning, and putting everything back in its place. A clean and clear space can help make a clear mind.
4Take control of your commitments. While there are a lot of commitments you cannot control, there are a lot that you can. All too often, people say "yes" to things that do not bring pleasure, or cause undue anxiety, or take away from more important commitments. One reason that many people feel stressed out is because they feel over-committed and like they don't have enough time to pursue their interests or spend time with their loved ones.
- Make appointments for yourself. This is something parents especially need to do--put aside time for one's self rather than children, community, church group, or whatever. Whether that is to go on a hike, take a hot bubble bath, or meet up with a friend--this is important time to put aside.
- Distinguish between "shoulds" and "musts". You must file your taxes on time, for instance. But feeling you should make homemade treats for your child's pre-school class may make you feel guilty when you simply do not have the time to make Pintrest-worthy food--if the children are perfectly happy with carrot sticks and ranch dip, why not opt for something simpler? Think about what you absolutely have to do and prioritize that over things that you "should" or would do in an ideal situation.
- Learn how to say "no." If your friend is always throwing parties that are crowded and cause you anxiety, skip the next one. It's okay - and sometimes necessary - to say "no" sometimes. Know your limits and stick to them. Taking on more than you can handle is one definite way to increase your stress.
- Make a "To-Don't List". Sometimes there is so much focus on tasks, it makes the day a never-ending hum of activity. Try making a list of what to remove from your schedule. For instance:
- If you have to work late on Thursday, if you can avoid making dinner that night, do so.
- You have to help your parents clean out the garage this weekend. You will end up tired and sweaty, so going skateboarding with your friends will likely be out. Maybe you can go next week.
- You have a big test coming up. That may mean you have to go to the gym for a half hour, not for two hours.
5Make time for relaxation. Make time to relax for at least an hour each day, especially in the morning and in the evening before bed. Write it into your planner so that you don't end up skipping out on it. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries.
- Do something you enjoy every day, whether it be a short play of the piano, stargazing, or doing a puzzle. Such activities will remind you of some of the things you like about your life.
6Use problem-solving techniques. Instead of thinking "X, Y, and Z are really stressing me out," shift your focus to what you can do to alleviate these problems. Shifting your perspective from the problem itself to what you are going to do about it can help you reassert control over your life.
- For example, if you know that traffic stresses you out because it is boring and wastes your time, ask yourself what you can do to change your experience of being in traffic. Come up with a range of solutions (such as listening to music or books on tape or getting a co-worker to carpool with you) and try them out. Assess methodically which is working best for you. Framing stressors as problems implies that they are things that can be solved, like a puzzle or math question.
7Surround yourself with positive social support. Research has shown that people who experience major life stresses, such as the loss of a partner or job, come out the other side of the ordeal more easily if they have a network of friends and family on whom they can draw and rely. Spend your time with people who are positive forces in your life, who make you feel appreciated, valued, and confident and encourage you to be your best possible self.
- Minimize your interactions with people who stress you out. If someone in your life is stressing you out all the time, then you're probably better off without that person. Of course, you may not be able to cut off a stress-inducing coworker, but you can certainly try to minimize your interactions with people who stress you out on a daily basis.
- Avoid individuals who are negative and who make you feel inadequate. Negativity breeds stress. Try minimize your contact with all of the negative people in your life. Someone who is not supportive of you may in fact cause you greater stress than if you were simply alone.
Part 4Reflecting on Your Stress
1Identify the causes of your stress. Before you can move forward, you need to be able to identify the causes of your stress. Take some time to be alone and get out a notepad or journal. List everything that may be contributing to your feelings of stress. Once you have a better sense of what is causing your stress, you can make changes that will help you cope with it.
- Consult a stress inventory. A stress inventory can help you assess your stress. The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory is widely used in the psychology and psychiatric fields. This list contains 43 stressful life events that can impact your mental and physical well-being from severely stressful events, such as the loss of a spouse or a divorce to less stressful events, like vacations and minor violations of the law (e.g., jaywalking or parking tickets). It is important to note, however, that all individuals feel stress in different ways and deal with life events differently. While a stress inventory may be useful in helping you identify some causes of stress, it may not list everything you're experiencing or may assign values that don't jive with your own experience.
- Journaling - even for just 20 minutes a day - has been proven to help people in many areas of their lives. Journaling has been correlated with reduced stress and an improved immune system. Further, writing helps you keep track of your personal behavior and emotional patterns. It can also help you resolve conflict and know yourself better.
- Begin by considering the root causes of your stress. You may think you're stressed because of your low salary, but the real root cause may be that you're generally dissatisfied at your job and are uncertain about what career path to pursue. Or what if you get stressed when your husband buys a new gadget? Are you mad specifically about the gadget or is your stress coming from bigger concerns about your family's growing debt?
- Evaluate your personal relationships. Are the relationships in your life helping you be a better person and cope effectively with stressors? Or are these relationships instead causing added stress?
Assess the frequency of your stress. Are you stressed because of a specific situation or are you in a permanent state of stress? Stress because a coworker failed to get his project done for a meeting, for example, is different than if you are feeling stressed from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed. If you are in a constant state of stress, there may be a more serious underlying condition to your stress. In this case, you should consult a mental health professional for guidance and advice. You can also start learning how to deal with anxiety by reading up on the different coping strategies that are out there.
Rank the causes of your stress. This will help you determine what is stressing you out the most. Ranking your stressors will also determine where you should focus your energies in order to proactively reduce your stress. For instance, traffic might be at number 10, whereas financial concerns are at the top of the list.
4Design a game plan to reduce the stress in your life. To reduce stress, you have to be methodical and thoughtful. If you're really determined to reduce or even eliminate the stress in your life, then you have to take directed and specific actions to alleviate certain stressors.
- Start with the little things on the bottom of the ranked list you created and see if you can address them one by one. For example, you could make traffic time less stressful by leaving earlier, bringing along your favorite music or getting books on tape to listen to in the car. You could also consider alternative transport options, like a carpool or public transit.
- Work your way up the list to find ways to address all of the different aspects of your life that stress you out. Some may be easier to cope with than others. For example, it might not be so simple to remove the stress of money as to make your commute more enjoyable. However, you can still plan to take proactive measures wherever possible, such as consulting with a financial advisor. Even the act of reflecting on your stress can be empowering and stress-relieving.
- Consider making a Stress Management Worksheet for each of your stressors. This will help you understand each stressor individually and how it impacts your life. It can also help you think of and commit to a few ways to addressing that stressor. For example, you can write down how you plan to cope with a specific stressor from a more positive perspective. The worksheet also helps you focus on your more general experiences of stress as well and asks you to commit to listing a few key ways in which to plan to treat your self better and engage in some self-care.
5Reflect with the help of others. You don't have to deal with your stress alone. You'll feel much better if you open up to a friend, family member, or even a professional. If you share your feelings, chances are that you'll be able to get some helpful feedback and a fresh perspective on your problems. In addition, the very act of talking about your stress - saying the words out loud - might help you clarify what exactly it is that you are struggling with.
- Talk to a close friend or family member about your stress and stress management techniques. It's likely that people around you have had to cope with stress at some point in their lives, so you'll not only be able to open up, but you'll gain some insight as well.
- Know when to get help. If you constantly feel overwhelmed by every aspect of your life, you may benefit from seeing a mental health professional. If you're so stressed that you can barely sleep, eat, or think straight, then it's time to seek help.
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How do I deal with stress with people at home and school?
Exercise is a great way to get rid of stress. Running, walking, biking, yoga, etc. Try to set aside at least 30 minutes a day just for that. Listening to calm music and writing down your thoughts and feelings also helps.
What should I do to reduce the stress from my studies?
Take a walk outside. Drink tea and watch your favourite television show. Socialise with friends. Take a nap/ don't stay up all night. Go to the beach.
How can I relieve stress by reading?
Reading takes your mind away from the present situation, and makes you temporarily forget about whatever is stressing you out. Fictional stories, preferably ones that take place in other times and places, seem to be the most effective. Children's books also seem to work quite well.
I have to do reading for school, but I am stressed. What can I do?
Divide the reading into sections and take short breaks in between sections. Before you begin reading, turn on some classical music, close your eyes, and take a few slow deep breaths to calm yourself and center your focus.
What can I do if I'm stressed because of a lost phone?
If you lost it, and you can't find it, don't worry. It's just an object. If you lost your photos, you still have your memories, and if you lost your contacts, you can get those back again. If there's a chance it might turn up, just take a deep breath and keep looking. Don't panic. Again, it's just an object.
Is there any way to stop severe stress before an exam?
The best way to stop stress is to know that you understand the basic material. If you understand the theory behind the test material (whether math, science, or English), then you are more likely to be able to either learn while you go or fabricate some brilliant mass of nonsense that shows you may know something. Be solid on the major ideas, and don't sweat the little details.
How can community help to reduce stress?
Community creates human interaction, which creates social bonds, which creates a sense of security. However, one must choose a good community to enter into; one that is there to help, not criticize, all of its members.
How does being part of a community reduce stress?
You make connections with people and develop relationships. Socializing makes people happy, and having someone to talk to is always helpful.
How can I reduce the stress I am feeling that is caused by my spouse?
You should talk to your spouse about your feelings and try to change this stressful atmosphere. You can also try spending more time with close friends or starting a new hobby. This may help reduce the stress and tension in the marriage.
What should I do if I constantly have stress diarrhea and cramps? It started happening this year, and even though it's not severe, it's frequent.
You should probably check with a doctor. Those sound like more serious symptoms than pure stress or anxiety.
I'm stressed so often, sometimes when there is nothing to stress about I stress anyways. I tried relaxing activities like you suggested, but they only work temporarily. How can I fix this?
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- Listen to music that you enjoy.
- Remember that other people are stressed too. Taking the time to see that you're not the only person dealing with a large amount of stress will make you feel more kind toward others and probably also to yourself as well.
- If you're stressed because you have exams or a huge load of homework, then it would be best to get off of the computer or device and just start now. Stop procrastinating, and start getting things done, because as soon as you get your homework or studying off your mental checklist, you'll feel much better.
- Trying blowing on your thumb it reduces the speed of your heart which can lead to stress
- During stressful times, it may be tempting to turn to coping strategies such as binge drinking, smoking or taking recreational drugs. Avoid these as methods of coping, as they can make things worse in the long run.
- If you feel unable to deal with your stress, then you should seek out professional help. Don't deal with stress alone.