As we head into fall, it’s natural to want to slow down, get cozy, and turn a bit inward. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always get the memo. If you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and unable to relax, give a few of the easy ways to reduce stress below a try.
24 Ways To Reduce Stress Quickly
1. Move Your Body
If stress is making you feel jittery, high-strung, or twitchy, then doing a quick burst of exercise could help. Try doing some jumping jacks, pushups, or just running in place for 30 seconds. Anything that gets your heart rate up will help release dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine to help balance your mood.
2. Listen To Music
Music has been shown to have a positive impact on the body’s stress response, so long as you listen to the right type. Find some upbeat music to play in the background. Or crank up your favorite music and sing along at the tops of your lungs. Or combine this with tip #1 and dance like no one’s watching!
3. Stretch It Out
You don’t have to do a full yoga practice to reap the benefits of stretching. Even just 10 minutes of breathing and stretching can have incredibly soothing effects.
Positive physical contact can be a great way to decrease the physical symptoms of stress, like increased blood pressure and heart rate. It can also help lower cortisol and release oxytocin. Next time you're feeling stressed, asking a loved one for a good, long hug could make all the difference.
5. Activate Your Senses
Modern day stress is often more in your brain than in your physical environment. So getting out of your head and back into your body is a great way to interrupt the stress response. Simply stop and ask yourself what’s one thing you can see, one thing you can smell, one thing you can taste, one thing you can hear, and one thing you can touch.
6. Take A Bath
While this might not be practical in at the moment stress occurs, if you’ve had a stressful day and find it hard to unwind, taking a bath is a great way to create a full sensory experience that will help you get back into your body and slow down a bit.
7. Meditate Or Breath
Meditation is well known for being a powerful stress-relieving practice. Whether you spend 5 minutes using a guided meditation app or simply sitting with your eyes closed and focus on taking deep belly breaths, you’ll be calming your central nervous system, your cardiovascular system, and (as a result) yourself.
8. Stress Bake
There’s a good reason so many people turn to baking in stressful times. It requires you to focus on the recipe, plan ahead as you go through the steps, it’s a very sensory experience, and (the best part) you have a delicious treat at the end!
Psst! Need some recipe inspo? Check out these healthy dessert recipes!
9. Create Some Art
Doodling for fun is something almost all children do but it’s a practice often forgotten in adulthood. But art therapy is a great way to manage stress. Whether it’s picking up an artistic hobby you’ve been neglecting or simply grabbing an adult coloring book, art is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
10. Try Knitting Or Crocheting
Looking for an excuse to craft? There’s evidence that repetitive motions like those found in knitting and crocheting can have meditative effects.
11. Get Cleaning
While cleaning might not be the funnest activity, it actually offers some stress-relieving benefits. It requires physical activity, a bit of planning, and usually results in a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to practice mindfulness by gently focusing on what you’re doing while you’re doing it, bringing your mind back into the present moment.
12. Take A Break
When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, it might not feel like you have the time to take a break. But a 10-15 minute break can allow your brain to rest and refresh, making you more productive when you get back to work. Just make sure you’re stepping away from your computer and phone so you can fully disconnect.
13. Scan Your Body
While sitting or lying down, close your eyes and slow down your breath before scanning your body, starting at your feet. Spend about 10 seconds paying attention to how they feel and any sensations you notice before moving up to your calves. Repeat until you’ve slowly made it to your head. Not only does this help counteract the stress response but it also helps you notice how stress manifests in your body
14. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Similar to the body scan above, PMR helps you tune into your body, calming stress and anxiety in the process. Simply lie down and relax. Then tighten, hold, and release each muscle group in your body starting with your toes and working up to your face.
Laughter increases your oxygen intake, relieves muscle tension, decreases cortisol and adrenaline in your body, and increases endorphins. So whether it’s funny animal videos, your favorite sitcom, or lunch with your funniest friend, finding an opportunity to laugh is a great way to help relieve stress.
16. Get Some Sun
Getting regular exposure to sunlight helps to boost serotonin levels and make you calmer and more alert. And it doesn’t take long. Use one of your 10 minute breaks to get outside and take in a little sunshine.
17. Give Yourself A Massage
You don’t have to make an appointment to enjoy some of the benefits of massage. Spending some time massaging your neck muscles, shoulders, the hinge of your jaw, or your temples is a great way to not only work out some tension you might be holding but also make you more aware of how your body holds tension and make a conscious effort to relax those areas.
18. Enjoy Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can have a real impact on stress relief, making you feel more relaxed, alert, or tuned into the present moment. Lavender, in particular, is well known for have soothing effects on the mind. So whether it’s essential oils, lotion, a candle, or whatever you like, surround yourself with your favorite scent.
19. Visualize Calmness
The simple act of closing your eyes and visualizing your favorite place in nature can have calming effects. Try to imagine every aspect you can, from the way your happy place looks to how it smells, the sounds, the temperature, anything that helps you feel like you’re really there.
20. Re-frame The Situation
When you’re stressed, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity. Try taking a moment to re-frame the situation by focusing instead on the positive or less-stressful aspects of what’s going on. This can help you see even the most stressful situations in a new light.
21. Write It Out
Stress often leads to swirling, ruminating thoughts. By writing down what is stressing you out, it helps you organize your thoughts and see how the stressful situation is affecting you. This can not get those ruminating thoughts out of your head but also helps you see potential healthy solutions to the problem that you might not have noticed before.
22. Chew Some Gum
It sounds too simple to be true, but chewing gum has been shown to boost a sense of well-being and lower stress, possibly by promoting blood flow to your brain.
23. Count Backwards
If you’re particularly short on time, slowly count to 10 and then back to 1 while regulating your breath. Sometimes all it takes to break the stress cycle is a few moments of focusing on your breath and the present moment.
24. Eat Some Cacao
In addition to being a delicious sensory experience, chocolate has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol and the fight-or-flight hormone in highly stressed individuals. However, skip the sugar-loaded chocolate candy bars and opt for a treat with high-quality cacao like the kind found in Cacao Bliss. *
While all of the tactics above are great options for dealing with stress relief in the moment, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help your body better manage stress in the long-term.
- Eat a balanced diet full of a variety of colorful, whole, nutrient-dense foods.
- Move your body every day, whether it’s hiking in the mountains, yoga in your living room, or hitting the gym.
- Prioritize leisure by regularly making time for hobbies and activities you love.
- Carve out some time for yourself every day to relax and de-stress.
- Practice positive self-talk by noticing harsh self-criticism and responding in a more compassionate way.
- Express gratitude, either by writing the things you’re grateful for everyday in a journal or expressing your gratitude in the moment.
- Watch your caffeine intake by paying attention to when you start to feel jittery and more anxious, and limit your intake to that amount.
- Learn to say “no” when you simply don’t have the time or energy for more responsibilities and obligations.
Golden Superfood Bliss contains 12 powerful ingredients that crush hunger cravings, help relieve stress, and support a deep, restful sleep. It also helps soothe temporary exercise-related inflammation and boost your immune system. *
Cacao Bliss is made with the purest cacao on the planet, along with 9 other powerful superfoods, to unlock your “bliss” molecule and enter a calm state of happiness. It also gives you natural energy, mental clarity, and supports a healthy inflammatory response. *
Both of these superfood blends are the perfect addition to any stress-reducing lifestyle. Not sure which one to pick? Get both—at a discount!—by snagging the I Am Joyful bundle!