It’s no secret: stress can make your miserable. It messes with your physical health, keeps you from living your life to the full, and affects more people than you might expect. This common but unpleasant feeling can feel difficult to shift, particularly if you’re going through a particularly tough time, but there are steps you can take to feel better. Try these 7 stress-reducing tricks to calm down.
1. Inhale a relaxing scent. Essential oils can be a great, all-natural way to soothe an anxious mind. Try a relaxing oil combination and breathe the smell in whenever you’re feeling on edge for an instant calming effect. You can also try dabbing some oil on your pillow at night to help ease insomnia.
2. Use mood-boosting supplements. You don’t need prescription pills to reduce your stress levels. There are natural supplements and vitamins out there that can make a difference. Magnesium, Omega-3, Valerian and GABA have all been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, so speak to your doctor about incorporating them into your lifestyle.
3. Get some exercise. While aerobic exercise may feel physically stressful, it’s actually great for your mind. If you’re in relatively good health, begin doing some form of cardiovascular activity on a regular basis. Start slow if you’re unfit, and work your way up to harder workouts. Getting fitter will reduce your stress hormones, release endorphins, and improve your overall levels of confidence.
4. Cut out the morning coffee. While you may think you need that hot cup of coffee to wake up in the morning, it could just be kick-starting your stress for the day. Keep your mind level by avoiding caffeine – it raises your heart rate and leaves many people feeling jittery and more anxiety-prone.
5. Have a good laugh. Aside from being fun, laughing can relieve the physical and mental symptoms of stress. It relaxes your muscles and allows a greater quantity of oxygen into your system, so you should feel better. While you can’t force yourself to laugh, you can put on your favourite funny mood or call your most hilarious friend for a catch-up when you feel like you need to take the edge off of your stress.
6. Improve your time management. Often, stress is caused by simply having too much to do and not enough time, energy, or resources to get it all done. You can improve the situation by re-evaluating your priorities and routine. Cut out the things in your life that are unnecessary and not truly your responsibility. Learn to be assertive and say ‘no’ when you need to, and work on your time management if procrastination is causing trouble in your life.
7. Join a yoga class. Yoga is a great activity for people who are generally stressed out. It’s an opportunity to relax, stretch out your tense muscles, and let go of the things that are playing on your mind. It’ll also improve your physical health and help you reconnect with your body and breath. There are classes to suit every fitness and experience level, so don’t be afraid to show up and get started. Remember – it’s not about getting every movement perfectly right, but adjusting the poses to your comfort zone.