31 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress will help you navigate your way out of the stormy seas of your mind, and get you back to calm waters.
“Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.” – Fiona Wood, Six Impossible Things
Stress is a big part of the modern world, unfortunately. We can either adopt a stiff upper lip and plow our way through it, or we can find ways to cope with stress in a less resistant way and be ready for it’s inevitable arrival.
Our bodies aren’t meant to take on all the burdens that modern life affords. It’s up to us to stop and analyze how to do things differently. Our health depends on us making better choices.
We have to find our way back to a life that takes joy in the simple moments and let go of the rest. Advertising tries to tell us how we should live, but our heart knows there’s a better way.
I started this blog because of stress. The career I had chosen for myself led to years of juggling a million different projects at the same time, and being on-call all the time for any emergency that came up. Add to this a horrendous commute and it was a recipe for disaster.
I knew that I wasn’t the only person feeling this way, so I created Montana Happy to be a cozy place to turn to when life gets a little hard and help is needed.
Cozy Living Group
Since you’re looking to improve your life, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 14,000 like-minded souls.
It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug. Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.
Here are the 31 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress:
1) Connect with nature.
Go outside and take in your surroundings. Put your bare feet on the grass and close your eyes. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes and look up into the sun.
This practice is called grounding and counselors use it to aid post traumatic stress victims.
2) Create a joy folder.
Start a folder filled with inspiring articles and pictures that make you smile. Whether this folder is on your phone or in your drawer, it’s your go-to thing whenever you feel stressed.
One of my favorite things I shared in my cozy living group was a video of Walter, a handicapped Dachshund that got his first set of wheels to help him walk.
His owners took him to the beach, and for the first time, he was able to run. The joy on his face as he raced along the sandy beach was priceless.
I keep that video in my saved file to watch whenever I need a little boost of happiness.
3) Coloring outside the lines.
There’s a reason adult coloring books have become so popular. Tap into your creativity, and take 15-20 minutes to create beautiful art.
When your focus engages the artistic side of your brain, it helps to give you relief from what you’re stressed about and leave you refreshed.
4) Take a bubble bath.
There’s taking a bubble bath, and then there’s taking a bubble bath that nurtures all your senses.
Start your bath with bubbles that have a soothing fragrance, like lavender. Add some Epsom salts to your bath to draw out the toxins in your body.
Instead of bathing with harsh light, take a bath by candlelight. Sip on a hot cup of tea like chamomile tea and listen to some beautiful music.
5) Happy memories.
Find a cozy spot in your home and wrap yourself in a sentimental blanket from someone you love. Look through old photographs of happy times and remember the faces of your loved ones during those special times.
6) Quiet your mind.
Buy yourself some noise-canceling headphones to have on hand if your home is noisy. Breathe in and out deeply. Get completely quiet. You can find noise-canceling headphones here on Amazon.
Unplugging for a short time and centering yourself will improve your mood. James Carroll said, “There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”
Joyce Meyer is a pastor that learned to turn all her troubles that she couldn’t control over to God.
She said that her husband Dave was one of the most serene people she ever met, and any time she got stressed over something he would tell her to turn it over to God.
Eventually, she learned Dave was right and started doing the same.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not onto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall berth thy path.”
8) Journal your thoughts.
There’s something therapeutic about writing your problems down. Doing so makes them seem a lesser burden.
Fully empty your mind. Write down every detail. The more information you describe, the quieter your mind will get.
9) Get in the kitchen.
Make something from scratch that reminds you of a simpler time. Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich work wonders for me.
How about baking some cookies. The heavenly scent of cookies baking in the oven will help calm even the most frazzled nerves.
10) Immerse yourself in a hobby.
Distracting yourself for a time from what is causing you to stress can help put you in a better frame of mind. Knitting or crocheting are perfect choices for this.
After 15-20 minutes of focusing on a project, your stress levels will drop significantly.
11) Blast from the past.
Put on a favorite television show that you watched when you were a child.
Your mind will be able to get the rest it needs, and watching a show from your childhood will bring those feel-good memories associated with it.
12) Declutter your home.
Put on some music and start cleaning an area in your home from top to bottom. Do you have a closet that hasn’t seen the light of day lately? That would make the perfect project to tackle.
Throw in a few dance moves while you tidy up your home.
13) Destress with fractal patterns.
According to Psychology Today, looking at fractal patterns can reduce stress by up to 60%.
What are fractal patterns? It’s repeating patterns found in many forms. In nature, you can find fractal patterns in flowers, snowflakes, and waves.
Now you know why sitting along a shoreline is so calming to the soul.
14) Calm yourself by lying down.
Draw your curtains and make your bedroom as dark as you can. Take a washcloth and rinse it under warm water.
Lie down on your bed and place your warm washcloth over your eyes. Tension in your head and your facial muscles will relax under the heat of the cloth.
15) Spend one on one time with your fur baby.
It’s been proven that spending time with your pets has a calming effect on people.
Whether you give your dog a massage, or take him out for a walk, your stress levels will start calming down.
Sometimes just observing your cat can bring peace to your mind. Just 15 to 20 minutes devoted to spending time with your pet should bring your stress levels down about 30 percent.
16) Go for a run.
While running doesn’t mean you’re running away from your problems literally, it does give your mind a break.
By the time you get home, the endorphins will have kicked in, and you will be able to look at your worries from a different perspective.
17) Use your imagination.
Take yourself on a journey to a better world than you’re in right now. Imagine yourself on your dream vacation.
Visualize the sights, sounds, and tastes you’re experiencing. See yourself relaxing in this environment and soaking in all your surroundings.
18) Call a friend that’s a good listener.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while you are stressed is to contact a friend that adds more drama to an already trying time.
You want to make contact with that one friend that listens and can empathize with your situation.
How many times have you called the wrong person and ended up even more stressed after the call is over?
19) Take a supplement.
A discussion took place in a group I’m in on Facebook about stress. Several people recommended supplements to help calm the nerves.
Vitamin B12, Ashwagandha, and Valerian root were all mentioned as supplements that helped stress. Do your research on taking these supplements to find out if you would like to try one of them for yourself. To read more about Ashwagandha supplements, go here on Amazon.
20) Take a media break.
There’s so much bad news in the world, taking it all in daily is not suitable for our souls. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s time to unplug and only focus on the good things in life for a while.
I’m a firm believer that we need to take in more good than bad if we’re striving to live a balanced life. That’s one of the reasons I started my cozy living group. Only the good stuff is allowed in there.
Think about how many unsettling things we allow to go into our subconscious mind – horror or violent movies, tragic news from around the world, and even the things that happen in our day to day lives.
We have to feed our minds with more beauty, simplicity, kindness, and love.
21) Finish what you started.
If you’re one of those people that like to start projects, but neglect finishing them – that could be one of the sources of your stress.
Just because you set something aside, doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about doing it. I think if you have several things left unfinished, they begin to mount in your mind and cause a bit overwhelming.
Not finishing what I started is something I’m guilty of regularly. This year, I’m going to turn over a new leaf and finish things.
22) Focus on having less, not more.
Bruce Lee hit the nail on the head when he spoke these wise words, “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
By living a more simple life, we have less to worry about and will be less likely to experience stress.
Whenever you start to feel stressed, find ONE THING that you can get rid of in your life that will benefit your overall mental health.
Some of the things to delete from your world are toxic friends, too many obligations, clutter, and too many bills.
23) Laugh or cry.
Both laughter and tears will help you deal with stress. Picking out the perfect movie to watch will help you achieve either emotion.
If you want to laugh it out, watch your favorite comedy (Funny Farm is my favorite), and if you’re going to cry – watch that tearjerker movie that never fails you.
24) Prioritize peace of mind.
How much of your life would have to change if you made a living a peaceful life your top priority? Brian Tracy spoke these words of wisdom, “Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”
25) Stop the rabbit holes.
Are you someone that likes to go down rabbit holes? If you are, I guarantee this habit causes a lot of extra stress.
The reason it causes stress is that instead of focusing on the daily things that need your attention, you over-analyze all sorts of new ideas and scenarios that you “might do” instead of tending the “have to do” things in your world.
How do I know this? Because this is something I do and I recognized how much it had hurt me accomplishing the things I want to get done.
What brought this harmful habit to light is by talking to someone that has the same pattern, only way worse than I do. I couldn’t believe how much energy this person spent talking about “possibilities” instead of using that energy to handle what was in front of them.
26) Eat superfoods.
Getting the right nutrition will help fight off stress before it begins.
One of the best ways to do this is to have a breakfast smoothie filled with superfoods. I love my banana, wild blueberry, and Swiss Chard smoothie.
I add supplements to the smoothie, so it’s packed full of nutrients and gets me started on the right foot in the morning.
27) Get enough sunlight during the week.
Making sure you get outside to soak up a few rays of sunshine is essential to your overall health, especially in winter.
You’re going to want to have at least 20 minutes of sunshine several times a week, according to experts.
28) Make sleep a priority.
For a minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime, stop working on anything that stimulates your mind.
No stimulation means no television, no work projects, or checking your phone for updates.
Instead, start reading something relaxing before bedtime. Before bedtime is not the time to read anything that will add to your anxiety. You want something lighthearted and happy.
29) Tweak your ride.
Commuting is becoming more stressful every day. There are more people on the roads as the population explodes, more roadwork to keep up with the community, and the need to buy or rent affordable housing – which takes you even further out from the city.
All these things add up to a long and stressful commute. We are having to leave our homes even earlier in the morning, and we’re getting home later in the evening.
Finding ways to make your commute time more enjoyable should be a priority.
My friend commutes two hours a day to and from work, and she takes herself on a scenic route instead of the freeway. Doing this adds ten minutes extra each way, but she thinks it saved her sanity.
She also listens to audible books, which makes the journey seem much faster.
Are there simple ways you can turn your road trip into a much better experience?
30) Gratitude jar.
I know someone that has a large glass jar on her desk, and it’s filled with slips of paper. On each piece of paper, she wrote down something she’s grateful for in life.
Whenever she thinks of a new blessing, she adds another note to the jar.
On days that she’s not feeling great or when she’s stressed, she pulls one of the pieces of paper out of the jar and gives thanks to God for all the good that surrounds her.
She continues this practice until her mood shifts, and she’s in a better frame of mind.
31) Envision a better version of yourself.
Imagine yourself as the best possible “you” you could become. You’re the thoughtful, kind, fit, and happy person you’ve always known you could become.
Ask this better version of yourself to look at what stresses you and ask for assistance on lessening the load. Stop, and let this new and improved you give you the wisdom you’re looking to gain.
We’ve reached the end of 31 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress. I hope you enjoyed it.
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