According to a survey, around three-quarters of people living in the Western world currently suffer from stress regularly or occasionally. With such a large number of people dealing with stress, the obvious question is: How to minimize stress? Tips and tricks on the subject can be found everywhere – but what does really help?
However, in order to find out how to relieve stress, one must first ask oneself what exactly is causing the stress. Therefore, everyone who wants to reduce their stress should try out different methods to find the right one for themselves personally.
In the following, you will find 19 tried and tested methods of how to reduce stress and helpful tips for reducing stress, which can also help you to go through life a little more relaxed.
What is stress and where does it come from
By definition, stress is external pressure. It is triggered when we try to adapt to external demands. These external stimuli that cause stress in us and constantly affect us are called stressors. Such stressors can be triggered, for example, by work, relationships, or social life but also by ourselves.
Stress can be reflected in psychological and physical forms and thus influence our lives. Many usually only suffer from temporary stress. However, it becomes particularly problematic when stress becomes a permanent burden.
What forms of stress are there?
Stress can have many faces. In science, however, there are fundamentally two types of stress.
So-called distress is the negative stress that troubles many people. A feeling of being overwhelmed often accompanies this type of stress. It can be caused by work, for example, or other factors. This type of stress often causes listlessness, lack of sleep, fatigue, or general malaise.
But not every type of stress has to be negative. Because the other kind of stress is eustress. This type of stress is also known as positive stress. It motivates us and helps us keep going. Eustress is often associated with the release of endorphins and thus gives us feelings of happiness.
How to minimize stress
The easiest way to reduce stress in your life is to avoid stress. In short, that means not letting the stress arise in the first place. Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are some helpful ways to avoid some of the typical stressors.
Those who plan better can avoid a lot of stress in everyday life. Good planning can help you spread your tasks out over several days so that you don’t end up having to do all of your to-dos at once.
I am used to forgetting the things that I actually wanted to do. Then, in the end, I am totally stressed when suddenly everything has to be done at the last minute. Thus, starting to write To-do lists was a real life-changer for me. In this way, I not only avoid forgetting what to do but can also manage my time much more efficiently.
It’s good if all of your tasks are well organized, and you know exactly what to do and when to do it. What people tend to forget, however, is sufficient breaks in your planning. Such a break can be a short walk, a few minutes to get some fresh air, a cup of coffee, relaxation exercises, or just a few minutes only for yourself. Breaks are essential to refill our energy reserves and move on with new motivation.
Those who work through without a break are much more likely to suffer from stress or symptoms such as Burnout.
How to relieve stress
Sport and exercise
It can be hard to believe what a little movement can move. Inner unrest and tension can be relieved by moving your body. Exercising can help to relax the mind and body.
In addition, the stress hormones in your body are replaced by the happiness hormone endorphin, which suddenly improves your mood. However, it is crucial to find the right type of exercise for you. Whether you are more of the jogging type (I definitely am not!) Or prefer a homework-out or the good old gym is entirely up to you. Even a walk can do. What is important is only that you move.
What many forget in stressful everyday life is to plan a little bit of time for yourself. If you take a little time for yourself every day, you can manage stress in a targeted manner and generally feel happier. Do what you love to do. Whether to lie comfortably on the couch with a tea and a good book, to do a workout, or to watch your favorite series – do what works for you. Time for yourself is an essential habit that you should indulge in every day.
Try to make your me-time a daily habit. And don’t let anyone spoil your me-time.
Get enough sleep
In our sleep, we process the events of the previous day. Unnecessary information is deleted, and important memories are re-sorted. Our head basically clears itself up. So it is understandable that we cannot reach top form without enough sleep.
Exactly how much sleep a person needs depends on you personally. Some get along with 7 hours; others feel best with around 9 hours of sleep. Try to find your personal comfort sleep time and make sure that you get enough sleep every day to start the day fresh and with full concentration.
“Humans are creatures of habit,” is an old German saying. This is exactly why it is so important for many people to develop daily routines and to integrate them firmly into everyday life. If you’re the type of person who feels most comfortable with fixed routines, doing this daily routine can help reduce stress drastically.
For example, develop a morning routine can help you get out of bed in the morning more easily. This way, you know exactly how much time you need in the morning before you are ready to leave the house. If you can have a morning routine, you usually arrive at work much more relaxed. The same goes for the evening. Not only can falling asleep rituals help you fall asleep better and faster, but they can also help you get enough sleep.
Routines can also be weekly or monthly. For example, you can set a grocery day or something similar.
Did you know that your diet can affect your feelings of stress? Bad nutrition can easily lead to malaise and a bad mood. The right food, on the other hand, can provide new energy and even help to form the feel-good hormone serotonin.
Who would have thought that reducing stress can be that delicious?! Such good foods can be, for example, nuts, avocados, oatmeal, or fish.
Herbs and relaxing teas
If calming from the outside doesn’t help, you can help with calming from within. The solution is called herbal teas, as some of them have been shown to have a calming effect on the body. And when your body relaxes, your mind can relax too.
Such relaxing teas can, e.g., be lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, or peppermint. It’s best just to try different options and see what suits you best.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
The exact opposite of herbal teas is caffeine and alcohol. While a herbal tea relaxes your body, caffeine and alcohol will help keep your body up even further. This can, of course, be helpful in certain situations. But when you suffer from stress, it is precisely the opposite of what your body needs.
So try to skip the morning coffee or after-work beer and see how your body reacts.
Extra tip: According to some researchers, an apple in the morning can have the same effect as a cup of coffee.
Relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation, and breathing exercises
As our times become more and more stressful, and information overload increases significantly, more and more people rely on relaxation exercises. Such exercises can be exercises for the mind, such as meditation. Others swear by mindfulness exercises that relate to the body and mind, such as yoga.
There are several ways you can try to find out what helps (or doesn’t) help you relax and get around stress.
A phone call with your mom, a coffee with your best friend, or a walk with your partner, and suddenly you feel much better. My personal secret weapon against stress is my social contacts.
Whether you want to talk about the things that are currently stressing you or want to distract yourself from them as much as possible is up to you.
Extra tip: human touch, such as hugs, can help relieve stress even more.
Chewing bubble gum
While it’s still not entirely clear why chewing gum can help reduce the production of stress hormones. It also helps to relax the jaw, as the chewing movements make it less tense, which unfortunately is all too often the case in stressful situations.
So in the next stressful situation, you might just grab some chewing gum.
Getting things done
Who doesn’t know this situation: the one phone call that we have to make or the one little thing that we often put off for hours, days, or even weeks keeps stressing us. Such tasks, which we have to do, are all too often stressful. Therefore it is important to do it as early as possible.
To do this, we just have to defeat our weaker selves and get things done right away. Believe me, afterward, you will feel relieved and even more relaxed.
Just say no
Unfortunately, I belong all too well into the section of people who just can’t say no. Even if I don’t actually have any time, I’m there immediately if someone needs help. Even if they are people who would not do the same for me or my help is not required in the first place.
Now, I am not telling you to say no every time someone asks you for help. Just decide what you have time for and whether things will fit into your schedule.
Another method that helps many people get rid of stress is relaxation music. For me, relaxation music doesn’t necessarily help. Anyway, for Eduardo, it does. So, simply give it a try and find out whether it works for you. Maybe you already have a personal playlist that will help you to switch off. If not, you can find a lot of different playlists on Youtube.
Extra tip: Incidentally, the song Weightless by Marconi Union is currently considered the most relaxing song out there. There is even a 10-hour version in case you need it. You can check it our here.
As we stated earlier, exercise is important in order to declare war on everyday stress. But walks, in general, can also achieve a lot. We are, therefore, including them again as a single point in this list.
Walks help best when you are in nature. Do you have a forest or a beautiful park in your area? Perfect! The fresh air, sunshine, and the bright colors that surround you not only help you to relax, but also to put you in a better mood.
Pets and flowers
Do you have a pet? Perhaps you have already noticed for yourself how your stress subsides when you spend time with your four-legged friend. Or maybe you have an aquarium or a reptile that you can watch. Pets have been shown to help lower your stress levels if you spend time with them.
Caution: However, if your stress is caused by, e.g., a lack of time, it can be even more triggered by owning a pet that takes up time. Therefore, it can be even more stressful. So think carefully about whether you want to adopt a pet beforehand.
If you don’t have time for a pet, flowers or plants can be good alternatives. Those who take care of their plants regularly, maybe even talk to them, can also reduce stress.
Good scent (aroma oil, candles, incense sticks)
Another option that helps a lot of people is relaxing scents. Such fragrances can vary depending on your taste. Whether you can do it naturally, such as using flowers or aromatic oils, air fresheners, candles or incense sticks is, as always, entirely up to you.
In addition, there is a huge selection of scents. You can opt for a relaxing scent such as lavender or a sweet smell like vanilla (my personal favorite). But there are also various fruity or more subtle alternatives. Just try out what works best for you.
Taking a hot bath
After a stressful day, nothing beats a hot bath. Especially in winter, this is the perfect relaxation for body and mind. Of course, this assumes that you have a bathtub.
To make your bathroom even more beautiful, you can turn on music, use various bathing products, or pour a glass of wine. Many enjoy a bath with dimmed and candlelight.
Write things down
One final tip that will help many people get rid of stress is to write down the stressors. This can take the form of a diary, to-do lists, or simple notes. The point is to get what concerns you out of your head and onto paper. Afterward, many people report that they can clear their heads and concentrate on other things.