Stress is a part of everyone’s life, but it doesn’t have to drive you crazy.
Unfortunately, many people use avoidance, oversleeping, overeating, alcohol and substance abuse or other unhealthy methods to cope. The end result is an unhealthy cycle of abusing your body that makes you more stressed out and eventually leads to worse conditions like depression.
Relieving stress is not meant to create more problems or bring about a feeling of guilt.
In order to relieve stress in a way that’s healthy and productive, you need to attack the root cause. And three of the main factors that bring about stress and anxiety in our lives are our body, mind, and environment.
By working on each one of these, your life can begin to experience the Zen you are so desperately trying to achieve. Here’s how.
Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress in Your Body
When your body is not functioning at its optimum levels, it’ll give you signs that’s something is going on, like stress and anxiety. There are a couple of ways in which your body is the reason you’re stressed.
1. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep
Studies show that sleep deprivation can increase stress levels. When your mind and body are fatigued, you are unable to combat mildly stressful situations.
Things that usually wouldn’t bother you on a typical day end up being the most frustrating things ever. A good night’s sleep is the solution to this problem.
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
A lack of exercise can also affect how you deal with stress.
Yes, it may not be your favorite thing to do. However, when you understand just how much of your happiness depends on it, taking the stairs or getting up to jog won’t feel like torture.
Many professional papers conclude that exercise can act as a form of therapy for stress, anxiety, and depression. It is also known to improve your mood because of the production of endorphins.
These chemicals are a natural way of cheering you up, without the side effects of drugs and alcohol.
3. Eat stress relieving foods
Want to know how to relieve stress fast? Change your diet!
Food is one of the top factors that affects how your body functions.
A clear indication is the sluggish feeling you get after a heavy carb-filled lunch. Suddenly everything feels like a bother or just stressful.
On the other hand, a salad or any nutritious meal will keep you active and productive for longer. Food should make you feel energized and happy, not stressed and tired.
Are you having a stressful time? Drop the cake. Do regular aerobic and endurance exercises, eat healthily and make sure you have the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
Over time, you’ll notice a significant change in the way you look and fee. And the people around you will probably notice too.
You may not realize it, but there’s a strong chance people don’t enjoy being around you when you’re stressed out.
Here’s another healthy way to relieve stress right away. If you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, take deep breaths. Oxygen floods your brain to give your clarity while your muscles relax to calm you down.
Healthy Ways to Relieve Mental Stress
What is physical is psychological.
There is almost no way of saying what came first, the chicken or the egg. Are you tired because you’re stressed? Or are you stressed because you are tired, physically or emotionally?
Once you have worked on the things that could contribute to problems on a physical level, venture deeper into the mind to find the cause.
People who are serious about permanently eliminating chronic stress will take time to deal with the heart of the issue.
There are plenty of ways to relieve anxiety and stress on an emotional/mental level.
4. Talk to a friend
The inexpensive way is to have an open conversation with someone you trust, and you know can give you sound advice and encourage you. It might be nerve-wracking at first, but it’s guaranteed to pay off.
5. Start journaling
The next step you can take is to journal. Buy or grab a notebook where you can write your unfiltered thoughts.
Journaling is very beneficial for mental health and stress relief; it helps you relieve stress, cope with depression and manages anxiety.
You can also use it as a way to prioritize tasks that otherwise overwhelm you, note your stress triggers and create a way to combat them, and give yourself some positive self-talk.
6. Meditation and mindfulness
Another relaxing and healthy way to relieve stress is to take up meditation and mindfulness. One is the state of going in toward your thoughts to find peace, and the other is about being more present and aware at all times.
These two create a perfect balance in your mind, and when done continuously, stress will be the exception rather than the norm.
7. Explore spirituality
Faith in something bigger than you has also proven to reduce stress. This doesn’t necessarily always have to mean organized religion. Spirituality is about making a connection to something outside of yourself.
When you think about the mental effects of stress, it often has to do with chaos and confusion. Whether you’re uncertain about what you should be doing in life, overwhelmed with everything going on at the moment or any other chaotic event.
The best way to cure that and recenter yourself is to find peace. Peace is the absence of confusion.
Whether it’s God, nature or some type of higher power, consider exploring your spirituality to give your life more meaning and clarity in stressful situations.
8. Talk to a therapist
Sometimes, even your best efforts do not eliminate stress.
Seeing a therapist is an option that you should consider if you are significantly stressed, anxious or depressed. Especially if you notice it’s starting to impact other areas of your life.
Negative stereotypes about seeing a medical practitioner and clichés like “deal with it” has given people unnecessary burdens.
If stress is genuinely affecting your life and nothing seems to be able to relieve it, seek professional help for diagnosis and treatment.
Healthy Ways to Relieve Environmental Stress
When you have worked on your body and mind, often you gain the clarity that things are not as bad as they appear to be.
It also becomes easier to prioritize what matters to you. If something is causing you stress and anxiety, you’ll find ways cope or get rid of it, depending on the situation.
It’s time to organize your environment
9. Prioritize your to-do list with the 80/20 rule
Learn to keep a to-do-list and set goals. There are many great apps that you can download that help you keep track of your activities.
You can also learn to adopt the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is a tactic commonly used by entrepreneurs. It states that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.
This ratio puts into perspective how not everything you think is necessary is essential.
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to reap the benefits of this principle however.
Think of the tasks that you have to do today.
Now think about which ones will bring you 80% positive returns.
Make those the priority.
When you focus on what’s vital, stress tends to melt away because you aren’t trying to get a million things done at once.
10. Declutter physically and mentally
Decluttering is another healthy way to relieve stress. A cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind. And that can make it difficult to be productive.
Whether it’s your office space, house or bedroom, create an environment that doesn’t add unnecessary chaos.
When you know where everything is, you won’t have to get stressed looking for something, especially if you’re on a tight deadline.
It also saves you time—not having enough time is another reason why many of us are stressed.
11. Get away from stressful environments
Taking time out from spaces that stress you is another thing you can do to improve your wellness.
For instance, here’s a tip if you’re wondering how to reduce stress at work: do not eat your lunch at the desk.
Sit somewhere you can tune out by staring into space and keep your mind blank. If you can, take a walk. Listen to some music while you’re at it.
You’ll find that your mind is calmer as opposed to when you use your lunch break to continue working.
12. Get out of stressful relationships
If you’re in relationships that cause you stress, consider putting an end to them.
The 80/20 rule also works here as well—but with a twist.
Focus on the relationships that make your life 80% wholesome. Walk away from the rest, especially if you’re a people-pleaser and suffer from anxiety with regards to what people think about you.
When the option is not there, step away for a while and come up with a solution that works best for you.
There are a lot of resources available that help to relieve stress, including our blog.
Saying “I’m stressed” has become a catchphrase. While it is true, many people are stressed, it doesn’t always have to be your reality.
Give these healthy ways to relieve stress a try and kiss your stressors goodbye!