Stress is just a part of life. It affects your overall well-being. You won’t always have control over your circumstances, but you can control your response to them. It helps to have effective techniques to relieve stress, but unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method. Besides, what works when you’re at home may not be usable when you’re working or running errands.
So, it helps to know of multiple stress relief techniques that work for you. This will allow you to choose the technique that will work best in whatever your current situation may be.
The best stress relief techniques can be practiced anywhere, don’t cost anything, take little practice to master, and bring about immediate relief.
Here are five common techniques that fit those requirements:
Visualization simply involves imaging yourself in your “happy place.” It’s like a short vacation in your mind. To practice visualization, simply close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful setting. Focus on each sensory experience, and let yourself feel as if you’’re actually there. For example, picture yourself sitting on a beach. Hear the waves, smell the ocean, and feel the warm sand beneath you. After a few minutes, just open your eyes and return to the present.
There are many different meditation techniques. You may develop a mantra to repeat mentally as you take deep, slow breaths. Or practice mindfulness, which focuses your awareness on the present moment, leaving no room for rumination about past events or for worry over the future.
- Release Muscle Tension
Recognizing and addressing muscle tightness and tension allows you to relax more easily. Progressive muscle relaxation is the group-by-group relaxation of all of your muscles. To practice, take a few deep breaths. Then, tighten and relax each muscle group, starting with your toes and moving up to your forehead.
- Just Breathe
Focusing on your breathing calms your brain and your body in just a couple minutes, and nobody else will know you’re doing them. So, breathing exercises can help reduce your stress even if you’re in a stressful meeting or a crowded theater. Here are two simple breathing exercises:
- Inhale through your nose and count slowly to three as you fill your lungs with air. Hold for one second, then count slowly to three again as you breathe out through your nose.
- Breathe in through your nose while imagining you’re inhaling calm, peaceful air. Visualize that air dispersing throughout your body. As you breathe out, imagine that you’re exhaling tension and stress.
- Go for a Walk
Taking walks will treat you to a change of scenery, getting you into a fresh frame of mind. They also include the benefits of exercise. Whether you take a break from a frustrating task by strolling around the office, or you decide to meander through a park after dinner, walking will reinvigorate your body, mind, and spirit.
These three stress relief techniques will help you relax when you’re in the privacy of your home:
- Physical Touch
Physical touch, such as snuggling with or hugging a loved one, is an underrated way to reduce stress. Snuggling releases oxytocin, which is nicknamed the “love hormone.” Oxytocin raises happiness levels while lowering stress levels, decreasing blood pressure, and reducing stress hormones.
Aromatherapy helps you feel energized, more relaxed, and more present in the moment. And certain plant extracts and essential oils affect brain waves and reduce stress hormone levels. Aromatherapy can involve candles, diffusers, and body products.
- Be Creative
Creating artwork has a meditative effect. Being creative is easy for children, but it’s not too late for adults to start. Try painting or drawing, or color in a coloring book. Anxiety levels decline when people color complex geometric patterns, which makes coloring an excellent stress-reducing activity.
It’s important to create a lifestyle that will help you face challenges and combat stress in a healthy way.
These six habits promote stress resilience and increase general wellness:
- Eat Well
An unhealthy diet brings greater susceptibility to stress. Comfort food, high-sugar, and high-fat foods provide temporary stress relief, but only compound long-term stress. Refined carbohydrates, such as sweets and salty snacks, cause blood sugar to spike. When blood sugar levels inevitably crash, many people experience increased anxiety and stress. A healthy diet helps combat stress. Foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and nuts and seeds help balance energy, reduse tension, and regulate moods.
- Take Time Off
Leisure activities are a great way to reduce stress. Including downtime in your schedule will help you feel your best. Leisure time will make your work time more productive, because when people feel good, they function more efficiently.
- Speak Positively to Yourself
Self-talk matters. Self-criticism and self-doubt are never helpful and only serve to stress you out. Talk to yourself in a compassionate, more realistic manner. Instead of calling yourself names or doubting your ability to succeed, engage in a gentler inner dialogue. This will help you develop a more positive outlook and successfully manage your emotions.
- Practice Yoga
Yoga combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing, all of which provide physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. You’ll definitely reap benefits from doing yoga once. But consistently incorporating yoga into your life will yield long-term benefits. To get started, enroll in a class, explore an online program, or find a yoga app.
- Be Grateful
Expressing gratitude makes you conscious of everything you have in your life to be thankful for. Ponder all of the good things, even if they seem insignificant: It’s a sunny day. You safely got to work. Make it a habit to express what you’re thankful for. Start a gratitude journal, or discuss gratitude with your family as you sit together at dinner.
Physical activity improves mental health and helps manage stress. There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your day—join a gym, take a class, or exercise outside.
Finding your optimal stress relief strategies will take time and practice. But it’s important to have techniques to successfully navigate the unavoidable ups and downs of life.