20 Tips to Relieve Stress

Chill out with these tips to relieve stress!

1. Take a Walk

  • Walking increases endorphins, which reduce stress hormones.
  • Walking in a park or other green place can help your body relax because of "involuntary attention" (when your attention is held, but you are able to relax at the same time).

2. Breathe Deeply

  • Breathing deeply makes your body feel as if you are already relaxed because it stimulates the parasympathetic reaction, which helps us calm down.
  • Breathing deeply can lower your blood pressure and could physically change the expression of certain genes.

3. Visualize

  • "Guided imagery" can assist you in relaxation.

4. Purchase a Plant

  • Houseplants help you calm down because they can help begin your relaxation response.
  • One study found that stressed people who walked into a room with plants had a 4-point blood pressure drop — a larger drop in blood pressure than in the people who were not shown the plants.

5. Eat a Healthy Snack

  • Eating a snack can help you relax because of the gut-brain axis. Stress affects both the brain and the immune system, and the stomach is an important organ in the immune system.
  • The brain becomes stressed when it feels like it does not have enough food to fuel it.
  • Savoring your food and eating it in a peaceful place can also help relax you.

6. Take a Break from the Computer

  • Studies show that continuous use of the computer can cause depression, loss of sleep, and stress in women, and late-night computer use was stressful for everyone.
  • Take frequent breaks from the computer to be less stressed.
  • Stop using the computer one hour before bedtime in order to diminish stress.

7. Kiss

  • Kissing releases endorphins, which relieve stress.
  • One study showed couples who kissed less were 8 times more likely to be chronically stressed.

8. Try the Naam Yoga Hand Trick

  • Pressing on the space between the joints at the bottom of the pointer and middle fingers loosens a nerve that controls the area around the heart, allowing you to feel less anxiety.  

9. Stop Talking on Your Cell Phone

  • Talking raises your blood pressure.

10. Listen to Music

  • Classical music lowers your heart rate and decreases levels of cortisol — the primary stress hormone.
  • Any music will help your brain release dopamine and other chemicals that make you feel good.
  • Music is especially helpful for people undergoing extremely stressful events (e.g., surgery).
  • Studies show making music can also help you avoid stress and burnout.

11. Eat a Piece of Candy

  • Eating sweet foods (in moderation) stimulates the production of glucocorticoids, a stress-fighting hormone.

12. Use the Internet

  • Although too much computer use can stress you out, Internet use in the right way can still help you relax.
  • A stress management or guided meditation program online can help you decrease your stress.

13. Chew Gum

  • Chewing gum makes you more alert, relieves anxiety, and reduces stress during multitasking.

14. Watch Something Funny

  • Laughter increases your oxygen intake; stimulates the heart, lungs, and muscles; and increases the release of endorphins.
  • Laughter initially increases the stress response and then deactivates it, causing you to feel more relaxed.
  • Anticipation of laughter (even if what you're watching isn't that humorous) will also increase endorphins.

15. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Starting with your toes and ending with your face, progressively tense up all your muscles and then relax them.
  • This technique is often recommended to patients with depression and anxiety to help them relieve pent-up stress.

16. Turn Off Your Cell Phone

  • Smartphones increase stress, particularly when people feel compelled to answer their messages.

17. Spend Time with Your Friends

  • Close friends can actually decrease your production of cortisol.
  • Psychologists often recommend talking to a good friend to stimulate your body's relaxation response.

18. Eat a Banana

  • Bananas, and other foods like potatoes and beans, contain high levels of potassium.
  • Potassium helps lower blood pressure, which rises when you're stressed, and helps to protect you from increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Studies show that eating a banana when under stress can help enhance energy.

19. Do Yoga

  • Certain yoga poses are known stress relievers, such as the eagle pose.
  • These poses open the shoulders and ease neck tension.

20. Be Crafty

  • Repetitive motions help many people feel less anxious.
  • Example: knitting — the repetitive motion and the ability to put aside other thoughts w hile doing it helps suppress stress.