Stress relief

30 Stress reduction methods

  1. Exercise mind control over negative thoughts. See previous articles on this subject.
  2. Physical exercise. Few things can help relax you more quickly than a bit of vigorous exercise. Whether you box, jog, cycle or play a game of tennis, aerobic exercise will release endorphins, thereby improving your mood and giving you a natural high. 
  3. Mindfulness. When you think you are getting overwhelmed take at least ten minutes out to clear your mind of worries, and practice mindfulness. If you have trouble doing it alone, try using a guided tape, or Binaural Beat track.
  4. Focus on the breath. Concentrating on your breathing is a powerful way to promote inner calm. Increase the number of counts as you breathe out, and then in, from 4 to 12. Then reduce the count from 12 back to 5, slowly. This is one of the oldest known meditational techniques in history; at least 3000 years old. 
  5. Use Yoga. You can learn how to use Yoga from a group or personal instructor, or even from a DVD. Research shows that a physical movement discipline like yoga reduces stress.
  6. Use Tai Chi. See previous item as similar advice applies.
  7. Take a Break. Force yourself to break away from what is bugging you, and do something pleasant that is completely unrelated.
  8. Slow down. Most people when they get anxious do everything faster, so deliberately slow down your speech, your movements, and the speed at which you are performing tasks.
  9. Do one thing at a time. Don’t multi-task. Not only does this make you less efficient at tasking, it also overloads your attention and increases stress.
  10. Let the past goIf you’re stressing out about something bad that happened yesterday, or years before, then refocus on present-moment awareness.
  11. Focus on what you can influence and ignore the issues you can’t.  Let go of the ego’s craving for control over events.  You can’t control the events that happen to you; only your response to those events. Focus on what you can do, rather than what is not in your power to do.
  12. Laughter. A good laugh releases endorphins, which reduce agitation. So either mix with people who make you laugh or watch one of your favourite comedies.
  13. Limit your intake of caffeine. Caffeine is a unnaturally strong stimulant that adds to existing agitation. If you’re already stressed then avoid it. 
  14. Use lavender oil. Research suggests that lavender oil is one of the most effective calming agents available. One reason for its effectiveness is that it works through the olfactory centres in the brain; smells are particularly powerful.  Try lighting a candle or putting some lavender oil on your skin, or in a bath to help you relax.
  15. Drink green tea. Green tea contains theanine, an amino-acid which improves mood and reduces arousal.
  16. Use herbal supplements. If you’re into natural remedies you may want to consider taking some herbal supplements like valerian root or passion flower. Both of these were extensively used in the Middle Ages as natural tranquillizers.
  17. Eat dark chocolate. For reasons not yet clearly understood, dark, bitter chocolate increases endorphin release. Chilis have a similar effect.
  18. Improve your thinking. The ancient Stoics developed a whole library of thinking skills that improved resilience and reduced stress. 
  19. Get a massage. Effectiveness of this strategy depends on the skill of the masseur or masseuse – so select your practitioner wisely. You can also practice hand massage on your own using this video here.
  20. Learn how to use Emotional Freedom techniques. These tapping routines are easy to master and you can learn how on this YouTube video.
  21. Create variety. If you love to browse bookstores, take long walks in the park, or if you have a favourite hobby, or game, then take more time out of your day to do those things.
  22. Work at simple chores. Many people find that doing simple chores helps them wind down. For me it is washing up the dishes, but others report that gardening, hoovering, cleaning, tidying up or clearing things away make them feel better afterwards.
  23. Spend time with a pet. Playing with, walking, and grooming your pet can be calming – it also tends to raise endorphin release.
  24. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. When you’re faced with what looks like an overwhelming problem, focus on small, concrete, steps you can work on today, rather than worrying about ‘big’ solutions that might never happen.
  25. Avoid people who make things worse. If you are worrying yourself then avoid other people – no matter how well-meaning – who worry, exaggerate problems or have doom-laden opinions.
  26. Put on some music. Music is another powerful trigger for endorphin release. Always keep your favourite tracks available to you on your phone whether you are at home, out and about, or at work. It only takes 5 minutes.
  27. Ask for help. If you really just have too much on your plate then don’t hold back from asking people for help. Too often, stressed or anxious people think asking for a help is a sign of weakness. Do not make that mistake.
  28. Say ‘No’ more often. It’s simple, powerful, and incredibly effective when you are up against it. If you have a phobia about it, try practicing it when standing in front of the mirror.
  29. Use grounding exercises to bring yourself back to present moment awareness
  30. Make time to be with people you love. This is possibly the most important item on the list. Do it now if you can.


Photo by Alejandro Piñero Amerio on Unsplash




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