The following top 10 ways to reduce stress are my favorite tips for getting back in control. Some of these could even qualify as fun ways to reduce stress! These are the stress reduction techniques recommended by the leaders in health and wellness. Getting into the habit of practicing these principles will really change your life.
- Make an effort to interact more with other people. Human beings are social creatures. We need one another and we need constant interaction with others. One 5+ year study in Norway found that having strong support networks can help reduce the impact of stress on acute and chronic mental health conditions.
- Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more prone to overreact and respond irrationally which is stress inducing. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that most adults need 8-8.5 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy.
- Stop tuning into the news. Of all the top 10 ways to reduce stress, this would have to be the easiest as it requires not doing something rather than actively adopting a new behavior. Remember: sensational news is what sells. And that’s why whenever you watch the news every story is presented as a disaster that could change the face of reality. You don’t need to see upsetting and frightening reports everyday. Try at least cutting back if cutting out the news altogether is too hard, and see how you feel. And, you can also visit the positive news section here to get daily news that’s sprinkled with positivity!
- Volunteer. American culture has evolved to value success beyond personal character. As we’ve shifted to becoming more individualistic and less concerned with family and community, we’ve lost some of our sense of care and concern for others. When we only care about ourselves, we forget the meaning of life. Focus on others and help them solve their problems and you’ll reduce your stress.
- Breathe. When you stop and think about breathing you naturally take a deeper breath. This automatically relaxes you. You simply can’t deep breathe and feel anxious. One of the best ways to reduce stress permanently is by taking just two minutes, three times a day to practice deep breaths in and out. If you want to be even more committed, go one step further and start a meditation practice.
- Talk to a professional. Somehow you have learned to overreact to stressors in your environment. Your beliefs control how you perceive the world around you as well as how you behave the way you do. Beliefs shape perceptions and perception shapes behavior. Talking to a professional can help you find dysfunctional beliefs and challenge poor perceptions.
- Indulge in a massage. Stress starts off as a mental reaction but quickly impacts the quality of your health and well being. Deep tissue massages are my favorite for releasing tension from muscles and joints.
- Practice aromatherapy. Inhaling healing essences is a sensory pleasure that can really help you connect to the present moment and tune-out your stress. Arometherapy is one of a number of sensory-based therapies known to help reduce tension and calm the wondering and anxious mind.
- Be kind to your body. Diet is crucial to well being and remaining calm and relaxed. Stay away from sugary foods and caffeine as they both trigger bursts of energy followed by slumps. Exercise more. Exercise reduces stress. Whether it be running, walking or yoga, physical exercise gets the blood flowing and helps improve the body’s stress response. The more you treat your body like the temple it truly is, the more you will activate the body’s own capacities for self-healing.
- Laugh more! Now, I warned you some of these top 10 ways to reduce stress would be fun! Try seeing the funny side of the daily events in your life. Researchers from Loma Linda University in California have shown that laughing does more than just raise your endorphin levels. Laughing also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and boosts immune function. It does all of this by increasing the levels of infection-fighting cells that produce antibodies to disease.
Now that you know the top 10 ways to reduce stress, you need to take action! Knowledge without action is useless. These techniques work. Exercise reduces stress. Laughing more eases anxiety. And massage melts away tension. Make a habit of some of these tips and you’ll really start seeing results.