Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

It doesn’t really need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway: Life can be stressful. And when that stress builds up, it can be damaging to your health. I’m not talking about a little bit of stress which is simply a part of life we all have to deal with, but if times are too tough and stress goes unchecked, bad things start to happen. Luckily, there are some fairly simple ways to reduce stress.

Whether it’s work, family, relationships, or any other number of potential areas, the negative effects of stress can stack up against you and cause numerous health issues.

Negative Effects of Stress

  • Disrupted sleep/insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of focus/inability to concentrate
  • Reduced sex drive

All these negative effects can be bad enough on their own, but when combined and/or lasting for prolonged periods, they can be detrimental.

Unhealthy weight gain/loss can occur, blood pressure and heart health can be impacted negatively, drug or alcohol abuse can become a problem, and outbursts of anger can damage relationships. These are all obvious things you should avoid for your own good and for the well-being of those around you.

Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Listen to music: Calm, relaxing music can reduce stress and bring down your blood pressure as well as helping to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels.?
  • Write it down: Putting your thoughts down on paper or typing them out on a computer or mobile device can have a therapeutic effect while allowing you to put into words exactly what it is that’s causing your stress.?
  • Reduce caffeine intake: If you drink coffee regularly, simply stopping may not be in the cards due to dependency, but even a light reduction of caffeine intake can bring down the level at which your nervous system is taxed, and that alone can help bring stress levels down. Plus, when stress is acute, the stimulant effects of caffeine can make you feel anxiety-ridden or panicked.
  • Laugh: Find a good sitcom, comedy movie, or stand-up comedy act to watch (or listen to). Laughing can alter your mood significantly, reduce cortisol production, and simply make you feel happy. It’s hard to be stressed when you’re smiling or laughing.?
  • Exercise: One of the best ways to relieve stress is through physical activity. Hormones are released, your mind is occupied, and it’s a great way to simply let it all out. Anything from a light walk around the block to yoga to a full-fledged high-intensity weight workout can do wonders for reducing your stress levels.?
  • Nap: Sure, you may have trouble sleeping at night because of stress, but a midday recharge can be a huge help. If you can lay down somewhere quiet for a 20- to 30-minute power nap, great. If not, even sitting in a quiet car with your eyes closed for 10 minutes can be recharging and give you a chance to let some of the stress slip away.?
  • Breathe: This one’s helpful at any point during the day when you need to bring it down a notch, but particularly in those moments when the stress gets nearly unbearable. Simply pause, take 5-10 slow, deep breathes, and you should feel a noticeable decrease in stress as you oxygenate your blood and relax your mind.?
  • Reduce cortisol production: This is where nutrition can play a role. As mentioned above, reducing caffeine is key, but cutting back on junk food and sweets can also help reduce stress. In times of extensive stress, there are natural cortisol-suppressing ingredients like phosphatidylserine found in many supplements that can fight the negative effects of stress, such as weight gain and chronic fatigue.

Do Something to Reduce Stress

It’s not realistic to go through life avoiding stress, nor would that really be beneficial. Many good things come from normal amounts of stress, but when it becomes acute or chronic stress, it can do much more harm than good.

When stress goes beyond your ability to take things in stride and you find it all a bit overwhelming, try some of these simple ways to reduce stress and feel good again.


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