In our busy, fast-paced lives, it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. The American Psychological Association says that 44% of Americans reported that their stress levels have increased in the past 5 years, citing concerns about money, work, and the economy, as some of the top stressors. However, you don’t have to drown in your worries. You can–and should be aware, and work to reduce the stress in your life.
We have compiled 10 easy activities that you can do almost anywhere and anytime to help you relax, replenish and brighten your spirit!
Science has proven that meditation is not just some boring new-age fad. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and promotes emotional health and well-being. If you are not sure where to begin, there are a lot of great beginner tutorials on YouTube, or you also check out Headspace for a free basic program.
2. Express gratitude
A positive attitude is like a muscle, and can be grown by expressing gratitude. A great way to express gratitude is to create a gratitude journal and catalog your happy memories. By regularly expressing your gratitude, you will develop a greater sense of emotional well-being and happiness, as well as improved overall life satisfaction.
3. Help others
There is a Chinese proverb that states: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Helping others is one of the secrets to living a happier, more productive, and meaningful life.
It might sound strange, but smiling can actually reduce stress and make you feel happier. The most surprising part is that this can work even when you are in a bad mood, by forcing yourself to smile. The next time you are irritated, try to “grin and bear it” by managing a real smile (with your eyes as well as your mouth), and you should start feeling better in a few minutes.
When someone has wronged you, it’s normal to feel resentment, anger, and ill will. Unfortunately, you can’t hold onto these feelings without also creating stress in your life. When you choose to forgive someone, you are also choosing freedom from stress.
6. Set simpler goals
Set process-related personal development goals, instead of larger goals. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to finally write my book this year,” set a goal to try to write a certain number of words per day or per week. By setting clear goals that commit to the process, not the endpoint, you will reduce your stress and be happier with your progress!
We do it so often, that we forget that breathing can be a powerful tool to reduce stress. Deep breathing exercises can help you reduce anxiety and feel more calm and peaceful.
Physical exercise will release endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Not only will you feel less stressed and happier, but it’s also meditation in motion, by helping you forget the stressful part of your day.
9. Get outside
Studies have shown that spending time outside boosts your mood, broadens your thinking, improves your working memory, and helps reduce stress. Grab a friend and a frisbee and go have fun in the park, or eat your lunch outside during your lunch break. Just don’t forget to put on sunscreen!
10. Hang with your friends
Just seeing and talking with your friends will help decrease your stress. Not only will catching up with your friends ease your mind and help you forget your troubles, but laughing and smiling will release your body’s “happy” chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin. Go ahead and give one of your friends a call now!
Do you have other tips to keep your stress in check? Comment below and let us know!