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5 Ways to Reduce Stress

5 Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress is one of those unique factors of the human experience that we all deal with. But unless you work to mitigate the stressful inputs in your life, your body suffers the consequences.  Stress affects almost everything: from a lack of energy and a decreased ability to focus, to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and hormonal imbalances; even anxiety and insomnia can arise when your body is stuck in fight-or-flight mode. Reducing stress not only helps you think clearly, but is a necessary step to long-term physical and mental health. Here are 5 super simple daily habits you can add to your life to reduce your stress levels!

Essential Daily Habits to Reduce Stress

There are big picture things we can do to combat stress: things like taking care of ourselves in mind and body, getting quality sleep each night, daily physical activity, eating regular healthful meals, etc. But there are also smaller, daily practices you can incorporate into your life to help effectively manage stress and elicit the body’s relaxation response. Here are some ways to reduce stress and tension both at work and at home.

Practice the word ‘No.’

Start saying  “no” when you need to. Don’t take part in arguments that don’t serve a purpose. Limit interactions with family members, colleagues or even friends who are emotionally draining or who add unnecessary stress. If it isn’t possible to say no to a certain situation, learn to ask for help when you need it and allow yourself to take a break and step away from something if necessary and be forgiving in your expectations of yourself.

Incorporate Relaxation Techniques

There are a slew of techniques for relaxation that take only a few minutes to practice daily. They can help calm you as well as aid in your stress reduction. You can try silent techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation. You can add in some gentle, calming music, or use youtube to find a guided meditation to listen to. You can also add in some simple movement to your relaxation like yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Whatever it is that helps you to relax and you enjoy doing, try to set aside anywhere from 5-20 minutes each day to dedicate to relaxation and stress-relief.

Augment your Relaxation Techniques with Aromatherapy

Combine some aromatherapy practices with any of the above techniques to increase the stress-relieving benefits. Aromatherapy on its own can help ease stress, anxiety, boost relaxation and help you get to sleep. You can do a self-massage with aromatic lotion, meditate with incense, do yoga while using an essential oil diffuser or you can light a few aromatherapy candles and take a warm bath. 

Go Outside

Being in nature can reduce stress and the release of stress hormones as well as give you a mood boost. Take a walk, go for a hike, spend some time in your garden, or just simply sit in the sun — but try to spend some time in nature.

Practice Positivity and Optimism

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking! Positivity and optimism not only combat stress but are also essential for our mental health.  Being positive makes you more equipped to deal with your stress, and cope with stressful situations. Positivity leads to happiness, energy and a greater sense of calm. Optimism can actually work to stabilize one of the hormones associated with stress, cortisol. You can control your own positivity by being aware of your self-talk as well as including positive affirmations in your daily routine.

Stress relief is different for everyone, and the right technique is the one that resonates with you most and that allows you to bring about the deepest feelings of relaxation. Try a few different ways to reduce stress from this list and see what works best. Once you do, try to incorporate the practice into your daily life. Regular practice of stress-relieving techniques will help you combat the negative effects of stress and anxiety, help you sleep better, boost your energy levels, and get you feeling like your best self!

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