Feeling stressed out? There are so many reasons to be stressed out. But before you start looking for reasons why stress is getting the best of you, let’s bring it down.
Stress reduction techniques that you want to engage with are good for your long-term well-being and happiness.
- misplacing your keys before an early meeting at work
- being worried about an upcoming doctor’s appointment
- having to give a presentation in front of your classmates
stress is a universal experience. Our daily stress levels can fluctuate due to our individual circumstances with work, health, or our families and friends. Bigger situations such as a global pandemic, natural disasters, or political issues can also contribute to higher stress levels too.
While we may not always be in control and feel stressed out as a result, we are in charge of how we respond to stress. Here are some ways to deal with stressful situations and learn how to reduce the impact stress has on your well-being.
Ways To De-Stress
You might have a never-ending to-do list, meetings that could have been emails, or be stuck in traffic that makes your hectic life just that much busier and leave you feeling stressed out. Finding time for yourself in the mix of all of your responsibilities is challenging. Luckily, even with a handful of free minutes a day, you can take action on a few things to help you calm and lower your stress.
Here are some examples to help you go from stressed out to stressless.
1. Go for a short walk.
Walking allows us to clear our minds, get some fresh air, and get our bodies moving. When we go outside, our minds become stimulated by the outdoor environment rather than the internal stress we may be focusing on. Additionally, physical activity releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones in the brain that support pain relief (Rhodes et al., 2009).
2. Take a music break.
The reason why music can feel therapeutic is that listening to songs you enjoy, can sing along with, or dance to releases a neurotransmitter, or a chemical messenger, in the brain called dopamine (Labbé et al., 2007). Dopamine has several functions, but some of its functions include lowering blood pressure and feeling contentment, which may result in better moods.
3. Call a loved one.
It may be beneficial for you to pick up the phone to hear the sound of someone else’s voice when the stress in your head begins to feel loud. According to health psychology, social support is an incredible tool for stress relief, coping with difficult situations, and even overcoming illnesses. Talking to a loved one can help you feel less alone, especially when you’re going through tough times (Coleman & Iso-Ahola, 1993).
4. Cuddle with your fur baby.
Touch and affection can positively impact your well-being. Research has shown that both can reduce cortisol—the hormone in our bodies that induces stress reactions. Not only can a quick at-home pet therapy session make you de-stress, but it can also improve the bond with your pet too.
5. Give mindfulness meditation a try.
In recent years, mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly popular stress relief technique. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of centering ourselves by bringing awareness to the present moment (Astin, 1997).
6. Take a hot bath or shower.
Research suggests that a hot bath or shower about 90 minutes before bed can help lower stress. When you feel elevated levels of stress emotionally, your body can feel the physical effects of tension, muscle aches, and overall fatigue (Lehrer & Woolfolk, 2021).
7. Reduce caffeine intake.
It may be best to keep caffeine reserved for your morning coffee. Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can alter your sleep patterns, keep you awake when you’re tired and elevate your stress levels (Lovallo et al., 2006).
8. Read instead of scroll.
Between Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, we have more than enough apps on our phones that make it easy to absorb content endlessly. If you catch yourself repeatedly saying “just one more video” and realizing it is past your bedtime, it may be time to limit your phone use before bed. The downside of scrolling on your phone late at night is that the blue light from screens can reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone found in our bodies that induces sleep. If you’re craving some relaxation before bed, try picking up a book you might enjoy instead (Jin, 1992).
9. Write about it.
When we face stressors in our lives, it’s easy to bundle up all our emotions about the situation inside. Sometimes, putting any intrusive or anxious thoughts out on paper can provide clarity about your issues or find new ways to solve problems—not to mention, release onto paper all the emotions you have about your stressors (Davis, Eshelman, & McKay, 2008).
We all experience some level of stress and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been stressed out at least a few times a year. No matter the magnitude of our stressors, the situations that elevate stress can weigh heavy on your mind and body. Well-being habits can help you de-stress every day and enhance your happiness level. I hope, this article provides you with some options to choose from and inspires you to compile your own list of favorite stress management techniques.