Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

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Engaging in activities that support self-care may help reduce stress and anxiety. These can include exercise and mindfulness practices.

Many people deal with stress every day. Work, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are parts of everyday life that commonly contribute to heightened stress levels.

Certain factors may affect your vulnerability to stress. These can include:
genetics
level of social support
coping style
personality type
discrimination due to race, gender, or perceived gender, LBGTQIA+, socioeconomic status, or other factors
childhood trauma
your profession
Minimizing the chronic stress of daily life as much as possible can support your overall health. Chronic stress can increase your risk of health conditions, including heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression.

1. Get more physical activity
If you’re stressed, moving your body consistently may help reduce stress levels and improve mood.
A 6-week  of 185 university students found that participating in aerobic exercise 2 days per week significantly reduced overall perceived stress and perceived stress due to uncertainty. Plus, the exercise routine significantly improved self-reported depression.
Regular exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression

If you’re currently inactive, start with gentle activities such as walking or biking. Choosing an activity that you enjoy may help increase your chances of sticking to it in the long term.

2. Eat a balanced diet
Your diet affects every aspect of your health, including your mental health.
A 2022 review of research  suggests that people who follow a diet high in ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to experience higher perceived stress levels.
Being chronically stressed may lead you to overeat and reach for highly palatable foods, which may harm your overall health and mood.
Not eating enough nutrient-dense whole foods may increase your risk of deficiencies in nutrients essential for regulating stress and mood, such as magnesium and B vitamins.

Minimizing your intake of highly processed foods and beverages and eating more whole foods can help ensure your body is properly nourished. In turn, this may improve your resilience to stress. Whole food options can include:
vegetables
fruits
beans
fish
nuts
seeds

3. Minimize phone use and screen time
While smartphones, computers, and tablets are often necessary, using them too often may increase stress levels.
A 2021 review of literature points out that several studies have linked excessive smartphone use with increased stress levels and mental health disorders.
Spending too much time in front of screens is associated with lower psychological well-being and increased stress levels in adults and kids.
Furthermore, screen time may negatively affect sleep, which may also lead  to increased stress levels.

4. Practice self-care
Setting aside time to practice self-care may help reduce your stress levels. Practical examples include:

going for a walk outside
taking a bath
lighting candles
reading a good book
exercising
preparing a healthy meal
stretching before bed
getting a massage
practicing a hobby
using a diffuser with calming scents
practicing yoga

People who engage in self-care typically have lower levels of stress and improved quality of life, while a lack of self-care is associated with a higher risk of stress and burnout.

Taking time for yourself is essential to live a healthy life. This is especially important for people who tend to be highly stressed, including nurses, doctors, teachers, and caretakers.

Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. It simply means tending to your well-being and happiness.

Exposure to certain scents via candles or essential oils may be especially calming. Here are a few relaxing scents:
lavender
rose
vetiver
bergamot
Roman chamomile
neroli
frankincense
sandalwood
ylang-ylang
orange or orange blossom
geranium
Using scents to boost your mood is called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.

5. Try journaling
Journaling may help  stress and anxiety and provide a positive outlet for your thoughts and emotions.

A 2018  noted that expressive writing or therapeutic writing can benefit people managing chronic health conditions, including but not limited to mental health conditions like depression.

They noted that regular journaling may be linked to a higher quality of life, more proactive self-care behaviors, and other healthful behaviors, such as taking prescribed medications.
You can also try a guided journal if you’d prefer more targeted, expressive writing.

6. Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a chemical in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks that stimulates your central nervous system.
Consuming too much may worsen anxiety, according to a 2021 review of literature  on the subject. Overconsumption may also harm your sleep. In turn, this may increase stress and anxiety symptoms.

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back by replacing coffee or energy drinks with decaffeinated coffee, herbal tea, or water.
Although coffee has health benefits in moderation, it’s recommended to keep caffeine intake under 400 daily, which equals 4–5 cups (0.9–1.2 L) of coffee.

Still, people sensitive to caffeine may experience increased anxiety and stress after consuming less caffeine than this, so it’s important to consider your tolerance.

7. Spend time with friends and family
Social support from friends and family may help you get through stressful times and cope with stress.
One 2019  in 163 ​​Latinx college-age young adults associated lower levels of support from friends, family, and romantic partners with loneliness, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress.

Having a social support system is important for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling alone and don’t have friends or family to depend on, social support groups may help. Consider joining a club or sports team or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you.

8. Create boundaries and learn to say no
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Putting too much on your plate may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care.

One way to help reduce stress and protect your mental health may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you take on more than you can handle because juggling many responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.

Creating boundaries — especially with people who add to your stress levels — is a healthy way to protect your well-being. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member not to stop by unannounced or canceling standing plans with a friend if you need more space.

9. Avoid procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating when you aren’t feeling stressed.
Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality. It’s also true that you may be more to procrastinate in times of stress as a coping mechanism.

in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection.
If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to make a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Sometimes, adding an item to the list may help you feel better about it, even if it doesn’t get done immediately.
Work on the things that need to get done today, and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.

10. Take a yoga class
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind by increasing body and breath awareness. shows that yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, it can promote psychological well-being.
These benefits seem related to yoga’s effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Yoga may helpTrusted Source lower cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate while increasing

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