Life can be stressful sometimes. It is inevitable that you will have good days and bad days. But when a bad day strikes and you feel like the world is weighing you down there is hope. I have made a quick list of the top ways to de-stress your life now. Before you know it you will be feeling happy again!
#1 – Take A Soothing Bubble Bath
I don’t know about you but no matter if it is 80 degrees outside or 10 below zero nothing calms me more than a bubble bath. I suggest making a soothing cup of herbal tea and taking along your favorite magazine or book.
Add a soothing scented bath soap such as lavender or rosemary to the water as it fills the tub. According to the website Very Well Mind the smell of both rosemary and lavender have been shown to lower the cortisol levels in our bodies.
#2 – De-Stress Your Life Now With Exercise
Even if you don’t feel like heading to the gym or going out for a run, chances are you will not regret it. That’s because the endorphins that are released after exercising will give you that natural happy feeling.
According to WebMD when you exercise your body produces chemicals called endorphins. The endorphins interact with receptors in the brain that reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive vibes.
I don’t know about you, but I never regret a run once I’m back home. Sometimes just lacing up those sneakers and actually pounding the trail requires more motivation than we have at times.
A great way to stay motivated is to make fitness goals. Whether it be to run a 5k, bench press 50 pounds or to run an entire marathon.
#3 – Listen To Music Or A PodCast
Are you ready to tune out the world? Simply grab your headphones and toss on some uplifting music that makes you smile. Or better yet, turn on a podcast that is funny or uplifting to brighten your mood.
Here are a few happiness podcasts that will help you de-stress your life now.
- Happier With Gretchin Rubin – Gretchen Rubin is a New York Times bestselling author. She is most famous for her book The Happiness Project. She provides little doses of real life changes you can make to improve your life and feel happier.
- Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris – Dan Harris is a name you may know. He is an news reporter for ABC news. He, like Gretchen Rubin is also a New York Times best selling author. His popular book also titled Ten Percent Happier show cases how he overcame severe stress and anxiety by the power of meditation.
#4 – Read
Did you know that reading is one of the best ways to relax? Its true. By just focusing on what you are reading you are forced not to think about anything else. Therefore your mind naturally relaxes.
An online article from the University of Minnesota states that reading has been proven to reduce stress. The article sites the well referenced study from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom that found reading alone helped reduce stress by 68%.
#5 – Create Art
Whether you choose to paint freehand or pick up a colored pencil both methods will help you to de-stress.
In fact an article published by the Cleveland Clinic, states there are three main reasons that coloring books can help reduce stress.
The Cleveland Clinic turned to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea for answers. Dr. Bea states that coloring helps reduce stress by:
- Allowing your attention to focus on something else.
- It relaxes the brain.
- Low stakes make it fun.
Back in 2017 CNN also reported that coloring books are good for you because they help reduce anxiety, create focus and bring mindfulness.
So, why not give coloring books a try?
#6 – Take A Hike
Did you know that surrounding yourself in nature can lower your heart rate?
As reported in the Business Insider, a Japanese study of 280 participants found that a walk in the woods lowered the average pulse rate by nearly 4% and blood pressure by 2%.
Not only were study participants found to have lowered heart rates and blood pressure but they were also shown to have a decrease in stress hormone concentrations by more than 15%.
While these numbers are not super high, they do indicate reductions in stress. For that reason I believe it is still worthwhile to try this de-stressing tactic of getting some fresh air in the great outdoors.
#7 – Binge Watch Your Favorite Show
Sometimes we need a complete escape from our reality. What better way than curling up on the couch with some popcorn and your favorite show?
Forget what you’ve heard about how TV is bad for you. Instead consider the following statistic:
A joint survey conducted by Healthy Women, Prevention Magazine and GCI Health looked at 3,000 women and asked them what methods they use to cope with stress. One of the top answers was watching TV.
De-stress your life now by watching your favorite show.
This may not be too surprising as watching TV shows online or via cable is widely accessible and can be done at any time of day. Such as late at night, once the kids are asleep. Its “you time”.
TV can also make us laugh. Which will then release endorphins and can put you in a better mood. So, next time your feeling down, turn on some re-runs of How I Met Your Mother or Seinfeld for a good laugh.
#8 – Get Social
Spending time with family and friends can naturally de-stress you. Yes, virtual visits over Zoom and Skype count too!
Bonding with those we care about builds a strong sense of community that is vital to our livelihoods.
According to the website MentalHealth.Org there are two main benefits of socializing that help reduce stress.
The first is that socializing increases a hormone that has been found to decrease anxiety.
The second benefit of socializing is that it forces people to direct their energy outward rather than inward. By doing this you let go of dwelling on your stressors momentarily and are more attentive to those around you.
#9 – Get Cooking
Cooking can be therapeutic and a huge stress reliever at the same time. According to an article from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s blog, cooking can indeed reduce stress and promote a positive attitude.
One of the main reasons is because cooking engages our senses. According to Psychology Today, smell is one of the strongest ways that humans trigger memories.
Just think of holiday traditions and the meals that you may have only cooked once a year. Turkey on Thanksgiving comes to mind. That smell brings me back to all of the Thanksgiving holidays of the past. All happy memories.
So, if you are feeling down and want to de-stress, think about cooking one of your favorite meals from your childhood.
#10 – Take A Deep Breath
This one may sound silly but it is a powerful and simple way to de-stress your life now. That’s right, instant benefits through mindful breathing exercises.
An online article from Harvard University explains that the exercise of deep breathing can lower your heart rate and stabilize blood pressure.
“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”– An excerpt from the Harvard University article titled Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response.
For a deeper dive on learning about how breathing can improve your health, check out the book titled Breath by James Nestor. I recently learned of this book when James was on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.