10 Ways to Reduce Stress

Life is stressful in general. Sometimes stress is inevitable, but that does not mean that we aren’t able to cope with it. Stress is how your brain responds to any demand. It can come from school, work, relationships, sports, or major life changes. The consequences of stress can effect us emotionally, physically, cognitively, and behaviorally. As long as you are aware of these changes stemming from stress, you should be able to manage the stress effectively!

Here is a list of things that could help you better cope with stress.

1. Meditate.

But what if I don’t meditate? There are so many ways to meditate, and the best way to start is going a little at a time. If you are new to meditation, it may be best to start with a guided meditation, so you have something to focus on. There are many meditations available at the tips of your finger, but my go-to is the Calm.com App. They have different types of meditations for whatever you need at that given moment.

2. Go outside.

Sometimes when we are stressed out, we may just want to lay around the house and not go outside. But there are so many things we can do outside that can help relieve stress! You can go for a hike, go to a local farmer’s market, sit on a park bench, and so much more. It’s nice to get a change of scenery, and this could be a perfect way to get your mind off of what is stressing you, or a time to reflect.

3. Listen to music.

Listening to music in general has emotional benefits, but listening to classical music may help slow things down. Listening to classical music has been shown to have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions. It slows the pulse and heart rate, it lowers blood pressure, and it decreases the levels of stress hormones. If classical music isn’t your speed, try listening to your favorite song. Singing along can help relieve tension and stress.

4. Journal.

Journaling can help you vent out your stress. You can use journaling to talk about your day, or you can find different journal prompts to help kick-start your writing. Journaling isn’t only just writing an entry, it could also be writing down affirmations, poems, or drawing. However you want to get out your stress, you can use a journal to do so. If you feel stuck, try out one of these Journal Prompts to get started.

5. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor.

If you don’t like journaling, then maybe talking to someone will help you get out your stress. Talking to someone may help you gain new perspective, and you also may receive the necessary support you need. Perspective may help you re-frame your thoughts on whatever is causing you stress. The support you may receive from a friend or mentor, may also allow you to push through your stress and help you realize that you can do it!

6. Maintain realistic expectations.

This one is a difficult one, but doing so can decrease stress levels. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t expect highly for yourself, but when maintaining realistic expectations it may help you accept when things don’t go exactly as planned. Rather than going into a situation where you have high expectations, it may benefit you and your stress levels to go in with acceptance. Acceptance that you have given everything you’ve got, and acceptance of things not always working out. In doing so, it may help decrease stress levels when things don’t go as planned.

7. Learn to say ‘no.’

Sometimes it is hard to say ‘no,’ especially when the plans are supposed to be fun. If you have an already busy schedule, it is okay to be selfish and say no to those plans. If you feel that these plans will help you de-stress then I encourage you to do it, but if you feel stressed out having to get to these plans then go ahead and say no!

8. Prioritize tasks.

We all have so many things to do in our day to day lives, and sometimes we try to do it all in one day. Trying to do everything may lead to more stress, and we may not perform well in each of these tasks. Take the time to write down what needs to be done urgently and re-evaluate tasks that may be time-wasters. You can use a Prioritization Quadrant to help organize these tasks.

9. Exercise.

Sometimes with all of our daily activities, we don’t have time to go workout. Exercising has so many different benefits. Regular exercise has shown to help improvement of sleep, decrease overall levels of tension, and elevate/stabilize mood. So whether you walk around the block or jog on a treadmill, try and get your body moving!

10. Write a list of things you are grateful for.

Sometimes when we are caught up on all of the things that are stressing us out, it can be difficult to focus on the positives. Taking the time to actively think and write out what we can be grateful for can help re-frame our thinking. So go ahead and grab a pen and think of the small and big things to be grateful for! You can also check out these Gratitude Journaling Prompts.

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