Stress Relief Techniques
Did you know that a survey by the American Psychological Association found that over 20% of Americans live with extreme stress? More than 60% said stress is damaging their physical and mental health.
There’s no clear-cut way to eliminate stress—but you can get a better handle on it. There are many ways, both short and long term, that can help. It's important to try a variety of techniques to see which works best for you in different situations. Try these ideas and see if they work for you.
- Try creating a journal or diary. If restless thoughts keep you up at night, have a journal or writing pad by your nightstand. Writing down what makes you feel stressed may give you perspective and can help ease your mind.
- Managing your time can help. Try writing a to-do list for yourself and decide which tasks are most important. Got a big project? Feel your stress level rising? Break it down into smaller tasks and start checking them off. This can help you get more done in your day—with less stress.
- Family members, friends, or a counselor can help. They can give you love, support, and advice. Sometimes talking about your concerns or giving yourself some “down time” to share with friends can ease your stress.
- Find time to be physically active. For many people, it can help relax tense muscles and provide time to think. Activity is a way to release all that stored-up energy in your body. Try to find time for a healthy activity. Some people aim for 30 minutes a day, but go with whatever may work for you.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. You may be expecting too much from yourself, which can add to your stress level.
- A new hobby can help. Gardening, woodworking, an art or music class, or other fun activities can give you a welcome break, even if you just do it once a week.
- Everyone needs a break. 10 to 20 minutes of time for yourself can help you feel less stressed. Put down your phone, step away from your computer, disconnect from the stressors.
- Engage your senses. Stress is a chemical response within your body, so using the body's senses can interrupt the response and lessen it.
- Keep pictures of your favorite people and place them where you can see them
- Make a CD or upload music to your smart phone. Listen to your favorite music, relaxing nature sounds, or whatever calms you
- Green apple – can reduce headache pain
- Lavender – may reduce anxiety
- Coconut – may soothe your response to stress
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Keep a "worry stone" or a piece of something soft in your pocket to rub and roll in your hand
- Give yourself a neck or hand massage
- Indulge in a carb break – carbohydrates release serotonin, which is the body's "feel good" chemical
- Dark chocolate – research shows dark chocolate reduces the cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) levels in the body—just don't overdo it as chocolate is calorie-heavy
- Have a cup of tea – any type of caffeinated tea contains theanine and caffeine, which may improve focus and attention
When you’re under stress, remember: you’re not alone. And some of these small suggestions may help.