When stress becomes overwhelming, or it’s chronic, it can take a toll on your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have effective stress relievers that can calm your mind and your body.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community (dancing around your living room might be helpful but dancing in the grocery store might not be).
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.
Long-Term Stress-Relief Strategies for Lasting Health
Certain habits can promote resilience to stress, as well as increase overall wellness. For example, those who exercise or meditate regularly tend to become less stressed in the face of a difficult challenge.
So it’s important to create a lifestyle that will help you ward off stress and deal with challenges in a healthy way.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress. Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief that adds to your long-term stress.
Refined carbs, like cookies and potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety.
Consuming a healthy diet can help you combat stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance.
Make Time for Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
Develop a Positive Self-Talk Habit
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic predictions aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll stress yourself out.
It’s important to learn to talk to yourself in a more realistic, compassionate manner. When you call yourself names or doubt your ability to succeed, reply with a kinder inner dialogue.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a healthier outlook. And an optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
Yoga combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing—all of which provide excellent stress relief.
And while you’re likely to reap immediate benefits from a single yoga session, you’re likely to receive long-term benefits if you incorporate it into your life in a consistent way.
Yoga offers a variety of physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. To get started, you might take a class, enroll in an online program, or use an app to help you begin practicing.
Gratitude helps you recognize all the things you have to be thankful for. Whether you’re grateful for a sunny day or thankful you arrived at work safely, think about all the good things you have in life.
Gratitude also reminds you of all of the resources you have to cope with stress, which can be quite empowering.
Studies also show grateful people enjoy better mental health, lower stress, and a better quality of life.
So whether you decide to make it a habit to identify what you’re grateful for as you sit around the dinner table or you decide to write down three things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal every day, make gratitude a regular habit.
Physical activity is key to managing stress and improving mental health. And the best news is, there are many different kinds of activities that can reduce your stress.
Join a gym, take a class, or exercise outside. Keep in mind that there are many different ways to get more physical activity in your day too.
Walking, strength training, kayaking, hiking, and spin class are just a few different examples of ways you can get stress relief.
Strategies That Engage in Problem-Focused Coping
Most stress relievers focus on changing your emotions. But sometimes, you won’t necessarily get relief until you change the environment.
This is referred to as problem-focused coping (as opposed to emotion-focused coping). Problem-focused coping involves taking steps to remove the stressor from your life (as opposed to changing how you feel about the stressor).
Reassess Your To-Do Lists
If you’re trying to squeeze 20 hours worth of work into 16 hours, you’re going to feel stressed. Reducing your workload could be key to helping you get through the day feeling better.
Whether that means stepping away from a committee you joined or it involves hiring someone to complete some of your household chores for you,
Honing your time management skills can allow you to minimize the stressors that you experience, and better manage the ones you can’t avoid.
When you are able to complete everything on your “to do” list without the stress of rushing or forgetting, your whole life feels easier.
Obtain Social Support
Having supportive people in your life is the key to stress management. If you lack emotional support and friendship, it’s important to get it.
That may mean reaching out to your existing network. Perhaps confiding in a family member or distant friend can help you become closer and it may give you the social support you need.
You may also need to expand your network. Join an organization, attend a support group, or get professional help if you lack supportive people in your life.
Cut out Things That Add to Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
A Word From Verywell
Finding the best stress relief strategies may take some experimenting. Some strategies may take practice too.
But it’s important to keep looking for the tools that will help you manage life’s inevitable ups and downs in a healthy way. Keeping stress at a manageable level is important for your overall well-being.