We’ve all heard by now the negative effects long-term stress can have on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Chronic stress throws the body out of homeostasis and can wreak havoc on the body and mind. It can lead to exhaustion, depression, weight gain, sleep disruptions, and eventually disease. Fortunately, there are countless small ways to help reduce stress. Incorporating even a few of these simple stress reduction suggestions into your daily routine, can have profound effects on one’s overall health and happiness.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this answer on this list. We hear about it all the time–the positive effects exercise has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Yet many of us still claim we’re too busy, too stressed out, too [insert any excuse you’d like here and we’ve probably used it]. But the thing is, a little exercise can go a long way in reducing your stress levels.
2. Listen to music
Music is a powerful tool in its ability to decrease stress and turning on a favorite tune can do wonders for boosting your mood. In fact, some studies even indicate music’s ability to increase pain tolerance. Create a sense of calm by playing slower, melodic music, which for some individuals can also help improve sleep. Bonus Points: Dance it out to your favorite song and get your heart rate up.
3. CBD Supplements
Incorporating a daily CBD supplement is a simple and great addition to your daily health and wellness regimen, and more and more research is indicating the positive benefits of CBD on lowering stress and anxiety. Proper Hemp Co.’s high quality, broad spectrum CBD products give you a wide variety of options to choose from including softgels, gummies, sublingual tinctures, powders, topical creams, and more, ensuring you find the easiest and most effective method for you.
Anyone can practice meditation and the results don’t take long to be felt. Plus, they last long after you stop meditating. If you’re a newbie to the practice, schedule into your day just five minutes to start–you can always increase time as you get more comfortable–and find a method that works for you, whether that’s repeating a mantra, body scans, yoga, Tai chi, or mindfulness meditation. If you’re unsure of how to get started, guided meditation apps are a great source to use and many are free. And remember, there’s no wrong way to meditate, so stick with it! For most of us, meditation is especially difficult and uncomfortable at the start.
Laughing ranks as probably one of the last things we want to do when we’re stressed to the max. (Because really, what’s funny about feeling like you’re on the verge of snapping?) But science indicates laughter can boost your immune system and lower blood pressure. So take a few minutes out of your day to watch some hilarious YouTube videos, follow a few funny people on social media, or read a funny book.
6. Create a morning routine
We’ve all had those days. The ones where you wake up late, only notice the stain on your shirt as you’re walking out the door, and it all goes downhill even from there. Starting your day off right can set the entire tone for the rest of the day. Start small with a single change you’d like to incorporate into your morning routine. Whether you choose to kick your day off with an early morning 30 minute yoga practice or a quiet cup of Proper’s CBD infused coffee, creating (and sticking to!) a morning routine can greatly impact productivity and stress levels.
7. Write it down
For some, getting our emotions out can be extremely therapeutic as it provides an opportunity for self-reflection. While consistent journaling is often the most effective, even sporadic writing that goes into detail about your feelings and thoughts surrounding stressful events can reduce stress levels. A gratitude journal is another option that has been shown to help increase optimism and emotional resilience, and therefore overall wellbeing. The simple act of writing down three things you’re grateful for each day will cultivate gratitude and result in a greater sense of happiness.
8. Take a nap
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your physical health and result in a myriad of health issues, lead to depression and weight gain, decrease sex drive, and more. Now for most of us, taking a quick afternoon nap at work will likely be frowned upon. So if incorporating a 15-20 minute power nap isn’t a realistic expectation for you during the week, make it a priority on the weekends. Schedule in a little extra shut-eye midday on Saturday and Sunday, then strive to get the recommended 7-9 hours through the work week. And set yourself up to ensure the sleep you do get is restful and deep. Cutting back on screen time before bed, taking melatonin, regular exercise, and creating a dark, cool environment may help improve sleep quality.
The sense of smell is perhaps the most mysterious and underrated of the senses. However, most won’t dispute its power to evoke certain emotions and recall past memories. Soothing scents like lavender and rosemary have consistently been shown to have a powerful effect on decreasing stress levels. Try lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils, or spraying a favorite scent.
10. Take a quick walk outside
Just like with regular physical exercise, a brisk walk triggers the release of endorphins. (And thanks to Elle Woods, we all know the positive effect these hormones have on our brains.) Taking a few minutes midday to move around, breathe deeply, and step outdoors to get some sunshine and fresh air will have immediate calming effects.
11. Talk to someone
Sometimes venting and simply getting things off our chests can dramatically help. Whether it’s a good friend, a counselor, or a family member, spending time talking and empathizing connects and bonds us with others. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes. Then rant to a friend about everything related to what’s causing stress in your life. And after those 5 minutes ask your friend to help you redirect and start focusing on positives and action items. This will constructively help to keep you from dwelling in the negativity.