Coping with stress doesn’t have to be a grand or luxurious feat that breaks the bank. You just have to make minor adjustments to your everyday life by using the following ten hacks in order to reduce stress and anxiety:
1. Embrace the great outdoors
Nothing beats the fresh air of Mother Nature. Studies show that nature has the inherent ability to positively impact psychological well-being and even improve our health. This is due to the fact that our bodies soak up the warm sunshine full of vitamin D, which not only promotes cell growth and continuous neuromuscular function, but brightens our mood and delights our senses with calming scents and beautiful scenery. Last but not least, nature can act as a place of solace since it’s completely separated from the hustle and bustle of the city which can get to be a bit too overstimulating after a while.
2. Get up and move
Any form of exercise lowers the stress chemicals, adrenaline and cortisol, in exchange for producing more endorphins and dopamine, the feel-good chemicals and natural painkillers of the brain. You don’t need to hit the gym for this hack - unless that’s what you want to do! Dancing alone in your room is completely acceptable.
3. Eat something healthy and wholesome
Don’t fall into the temptation of stress eating comfort food whenever things get overwhelming. Otherwise, this could turn into a damaging and unhealthy coping mechanism. Studies show that stress eating happens when we feel a loss of control or need to escape uncomfortable emotions by activating the reward system of the brain. Here’s the solution: eat healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Replenish your body with wholesome meals whenever you need them, not when you want to de-stress. Healthy food is full of vitamins and minerals that naturally reduce stress and lower blood pressure. If you make eating healthy a part of your lifestyle, you will feel less stress overall.
4. Take some time in solitude
Sometimes, the best way to decompress from the world is to find your refuge in solitude. During this time, you are able to embrace the peace and quiet of your own mind. Furthermore, practicing meditation in solitude can also help you reflect on the state of your life.
5. Indulge in a hobby
When was the last time you did something you loved? With work and the demands of our life always taking up most of our time, a hobby naturally gets pushed aside in exchange for trying to stay productive and ahead of things. Your passions and hobbies direct your focus towards engaging improving in an activity that makes you happy, which is a healthy way to diminish negative energy and tension.
6. Hang out with your awesome pet
You can’t help but feel a gentle rush of endorphins through your system whenever you hold your furry friend close. Animals who can be pet, like a dog or cat, stimulate the sense of touch that humans always want and need. Furthermore, they decrease blood pressure and the intensity of reactions to stressful triggers.
7. Write in a journal
Manifesting your thoughts on paper lifts a huge weight off your shoulders. You can vent out your emotions and thoughts without needing to make coherent sense. After the writing is all said and done, you can take a moment for some self-reflection. As a result, you get some perspective on a stressful situation and can now take steps forward to cope with it.
8. Listen to some great music
Put on some earbuds and turn up your favorite tunes because listening to music relaxes you in an instant. It floods the brain with dopamine and directs your attention to focusing on a beat that either keeps you zen or gets your foot tapping. While classical and slow music is recommended for relaxation - sometimes, even a beloved heavy metal song or hard hip-hop verse can provide the same benefits.
9. Catch up on some z’s
Are you getting enough z’s? Lack of sleep is directly interconnected with your mood and ability to adequately function. During sleep, our body undergoes a restorative and healing process where it rebuilds and grows new tissue while also regulating hormone productions. If we don’t sleep for a solid seven hours or more, we prevent this incredible and natural process from happening.
10. Ditch the coffee and energy stimulants
Last but not least, ditch coffee and stimulants. While they keep you energized and feeling alive for a temporary amount of time, they can actually make your stress and anxiety worse since they trigger the “fight or flight” response. If triggered, an anxiety attack may follow immediately afterwards.
We don’t need to make tremendous changes to our life to deal with stress. Rather, the best course of action to take is to simply make minor adjustments in our everyday actions to keep moving forward with this inevitable event in life.
About the Author:
Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.