Relax and Stress Less

Most of us are aware of the many negative side effects of stress but how can we stress less?

While completely eliminating stress may be an unrealistic goal for many, we can always reduce the quantity of stress we are under by adding activities that will relax our brains, bodies and spirits.

6 Activities to Stress Less

If you don’t have time to add a new activity, try to replace one of your current habits with something similar in the following list:

  • Sip a cup of tea. A study from UCL has concluded that tea may make us more resilient to stress. It’s easy enough to switch from coffee to tea! It won’t require additional time and the health benefits of green tea may be enough to convince you. Need a bigger caffeine boost? Try black tea, which contains more caffeine than green tea but also offers health benefits.
  • Get your daily dose of exercise. It doesn’t have to use a lot of your time. Taking a 5 to 10 minute walk outside can do wonders for your mood. Exposure to daylight increases your Vitamin D intake and breathing fresh air can be a great way to clear your mind.
  • Say yes to (a little) chocolate. Who doesn’t like the taste of chocolate? German researchers had people eat 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day during a two-week period and their results showed a measurable decrease in anxiety and stress hormones. Stick to dark chocolate, and avoid brands that contain a lot of added chemicals and preservatives.
  • Consider chewing gum. While this activity isn’t appropriate in all circumstances, it may help you reduce the stress associated with multitasking as well as improve alertness and performance, as reported by Australian researchers at Swinburne University.
  • Make time for aromatherapy. Essential oils contained in certain flowers and plants can affect your limbic system, which is connected to endocrine glands (which regulate hormone levels). You can use fresh flowers or purchase a small bottle of essential oil. You can inhale directly from the bottle or use one of many aromatherapy diffusion techniques. You can determine which oil would work best for you based on this aromatherapy benefit table.
  • Turn off the TV. Yes, we all have favorite TV shows that seem so important… but if you skip TV for an entire week, you’ll be surprised at how much extra time you’ll get. This freed-up time can now be used to relax in the tub, read a great book, spend time with your children or partner… Reconsider your priorities and see if TV really deserves the attention you give it. Having more free time often allows us to stress less.

These six activities aren’t difficult. You may want to give them a try next time you’re under a lot of stress.