Six Ways to Reduce Stress


Stressed Mess

Journalist and prolific writer Sydney J. Harris once said, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” That was true in the 20th century and it is certainly applicable today. Stress is prevalent in our culture while the need for relaxation is even more necessary for those with extremely busy schedules. According to the Washington Post, 54 percent of the population is worried about stress. So, to help, we’ve put together six scientifically proven ways to calm anxiety and feel better fast. Enjoy!


Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle


Even though you’ve heard it before, it’s definitely worth repeating. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly has been shown to lower stress in people with high levels of anxiety and cortisol. It’s just a happier time when your body isn’t lacking nutrition, wouldn’t you agree? Plus, you’re giving your body an endorphin rush through physical exercise, which are known as happiness helpers and have been proven to elevate mood.

If you believe there’s not enough time in your busy day for exercise or sticking to a healthy diet, just remember—some exercises can be accomplished at your desk at work, and eating healthy food is as simple as being mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Find a nutritionist on if you feel like you need a little help!


Use Your Nose



Aromatherapy has been proven to lower stress levels in working adults, so why not light a candle and give yourself some happy hormones? Lavender, chamomile, tangerine, cinnamon, coconut, ylang-ylang and lemon are scents that nature provides to reduce our stress. If you need relaxation on the go, you can always carry a dried satchel of the scents listed above or keep a scented air freshener in your car.


Breathe Deeply

deep breath

One breathing technique—shown to temporarily lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels—involves taking long, slow, deep breaths through the nose and then gradually releasing through the mouth. Repeating this technique will help you achieve a greater sense of calm than you had probably felt beforehand.


Get a Massage


A massage will help relax muscles, take away pain and provide a general sense of well-being by ridding the body of stress pockets and toxins. Different types of massages can relieve different ailments, so check out articles like this one, or contact a massage therapist on HealingRadius for a more detailed explanation.


Hug Someone


Hugging lowers stress levels by reducing blood pressure and instilling a sense of general well-being. According to The Medical Daily, hugging also releases a chemical called oxytocin. “The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin is a produced in the pituitary gland and is primarily known for increasing bonding, social behavior and closeness between parents, children and couples. Past studies have found increased oxytocin levels in partners in functional relationships. Oxytocin, also called the ‘love hormone,’ is produced during the childbirth process and during breastfeeding to increase the mother’s bond with the baby.” What does that mean for the average stressed adult? Grabbing a close friend or loved one for a hug may actually cause those stressed feelings to melt away.


Spend Time With a Pet



As pets are known to lower stress levels, pet owners have a decreased risk of having major cardiovascular events compared to non-pet owners. If you can’t have a dog where you live due to pet restrictions, a gerbil or other small, furry creatures will suffice. If pets are out of the question altogether, consider going to a rent-a-puppy event like the one hosted on Yale’s campus during finals week. You’re usually able to hang out with a furry friend for a half hour or longer depending on the event’s scheduling. Or, if you prefer more charitable works, consider volunteering at your local chapter of The Humane Society to help take care of all sorts of animals during your spare time.

So, there you have it. Six small ways to make a big impact on your stress levels. For best results, use often, and good luck!


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