Stress Less: 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress on a Daily Basis
In today’s society, stress is nearly ubiquitous. And it’s no surprise, considering how many obligations most of us take on – not to mention the tendency to be connected and plugged in at all times. But chronic stress takes a major toll on health, happiness, relationships, and overall well-being. It contributes to everything from headaches to obesity, prevents us from being our best selves, and ultimately makes us miserable.
While there’s no silver bullet for getting rid of stress, taking simple actions can make a real difference. Try to set aside a little time each day for stress-reducing activities like these.
Write in a journal.
High stress levels can leave you with a million thoughts and worries constantly swirling through your mind. Those thoughts only increase your stress level, and the cycle continues. But writing down whatever you’re thinking or feeling can be incredibly therapeutic. Once you’ve written everything out, it’s much easier to let it go, which puts an end to the cycle. There’s some truth to it. Laughter decreases the presence of stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, leaving you in a better mood. So use this knowledge as motivation to call up your most hilarious friend or just an excuse to watch reruns of your favorite comedy.
Breathwork is an important part of yoga, and it’s extremely effective at combatting stress. There are many different types of breathwork, but you don’t need any special techniques in order to start reducing your stress. Just find a quiet place to sit, and really pay attention to your breathing. See if you can slow and deepen your breaths and make the inhales and exhales even. Just a few minutes of breathing this way can make a big difference. Check out this article on Breath and the Brain for more details about how breathing changes your brain chemistry!
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Any kind of exercise will reduce stress, but dancing can be especially effective. And it doesn’t need to be anything technical. Just put on your favorite music at home, and move in whatever way feels natural. Don’t think about the steps or how it looks. Instead, let yourself enjoy the sensation of moving your body, and relish the pleasant feeling that comes afterward.
Essential oils are another useful tool for beating stress, particularly lavender oil. Apply a couple drops of it to your wrists, or set up an oil diffuser in your room. You can also dilute lavender oil with water to create a spray, and mist it on your pillow before bed. As long as you get a good whiff of the scent, you’ll be able to enjoy its effects.
While small actions like these will help reduce stress on a daily basis, you might also benefit from something bigger. If you’re looking for a chance to fully unplug and relax, consider joining us for a retreat. The time away from your responsibilities at home will let you hit the “reset” button in a major way, and you’ll go back armed with new tools to keep your stress levels down.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.