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25 Ways to Reduce Stress NowStress.

It is an unavoidable fact of life.

But there are ways for you to lessen it’s impact.  

Here are 25 of my favorite stress-busting activities:

  1. Help someone else.  Get out of your own life for a while and do good for others.  Your stress level goes down as you realize your issues aren’t soooo bad.  Learn more about how helping other can reduce your stress in this article from MD Anderson Center.
  2. Say No.  You cannot do it all.  Learn to bow out gracefully so that your schedule doesn’t become bogged down with things that don’t really matter.  Focus instead on what is important to you.
  3. Buy a day-planner.  Time management is a necessary skill.  If you are stressed out because you are constantly running late, forgetting appointments, or showing up unprepared you need to find a good planner.  Write down all your commitments AS YOU MAKE THEM to avoid stress down the road.
  4. Settle for “good enough.” Perfectionism is a leading cause of stress.  Let go of the need for perfect and be happy with good enough.  Use the extra time you don’t spend fretting over the nit-picky stuff no one else will notice doing something fun. 
  5. Start a gratitude journal. Gratitude has been scientifically shown to improve mood and combat stress.  Grab a pen and jot down a few things you are grateful for today.
  6. Let go.  Let go of worry and resentment.  They sap your energy and leave you stressed.  Instead try to actively forgive old grudges.  You will feel lighter. 
  7. Call a friend.  Reach out to your loved ones.  Have a good long chat.  You’ll feel better when you hang up.
  8. Watch something funny. Laughter really is good medicine.  Queue up some hilarious videos and settle in for a good belly-laugh. For even more stress-busting impact, invite a friend to join you.
  9. Play with your pet.  Get an instant mood boost by playing with Fido.  Here’s more information about how owning a pet reduces stress
  10. Indulge your senses. Light a candle.  Bake some cookies. Or just throw a stick of cinnamon and some cloves on the stove to simmer.  The smell will sooth your senses and leave you feeling more relaxed and in control.
  11. Break a sweat. Exercise is a terrific de-stressor.  Burn off some of that extra adrenaline and trim up in the process.
  12. Watch the clouds go by.  Lie in the grass and relax.  Find shapes in the clouds.  Or star-gaze.  Just be still and enjoy the show.
  13. Take a nap.  Shorting yourself on sleep in order to “get more done” is counter-productive.  You will be happier and more efficient when you are well-rested.  So go take a nap!
  14. Get outside.  Take a walk.  Listen to the birds.  Pay attention to nature.  The world is bigger than your worries and spending some time out in it will drop your stress level.  Here’s some research to back it up.
  15. Take a breath.  Breathing is the fastest stress antidote.  Just a few minutes of deep, quiet breathing will help melt away the tension.
  16. Start a new hobby.  Remember how you always wanted to learn to play an instrument? Or draw? Or dance? Or skateboard?  Do it now.  Diving into a fun new activity will help build your ability to bounce back from stressors.
  17. Do something different. Novel experiences can help break us out of our stressful rut.  Take a different route to work.  Try a different café for lunch.  Mix it up a little. Here are some more tips on getting out of a rut.
  18. Stretch it out. Take a minute to stretch your back, shoulders, and neck where tension and stress tend to accumulate.  This is especially important if you sit at a desk all day.
  19. Clean your bathroom.  Getting some of those dreaded tasks off your plate can clear up much-needed mental space.  Take 10 minutes and knock out a chore you’ve been avoiding.
  20. Take a lunch break.  Your body needs food and you need to step away from the to do list on your desk.  Don’t skimp on the basics – like good nutrition – during times of stress.
  21. Hug someone.  Physical touch reduces stress hormones.  It soothes us just as well as it soothes fussy infants.  So find someone and hug away. 
  22. Listen to music. Music soothes the savage beast in all of us. Learn how in this article from PsychCentral and the pop on the headphones and lose yourself in your favorite tunes.
  23. Write it down.  Set the timer for 20 minutes and write down every single thing that is stressing you.  Fill the page with all your worries and anxieties.  When the timer beeps, put the list away and go on with your day.
  24. Meditate.  This is a long-term stress management technique.  The longer you do it, the more it helps.  So grab Breath Meditation instructions and get started today. 
  25. Make something.  Creative activity helps us get away from daily stress and provides a real sense of accomplishment.  So bake a cake.  Or knit a scarf.  Or plant a garden.  Or build a birdhouse.  Use your own hands to create something.

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