7 Stress Relieving Activities to Keep You Calm, Cool & Collected
By Will Erstad on 05/23/2016
It’s no secret the world is a hectic place.
You’ve got bills to pay, a mouth (or several) to feed and a seemingly endless list of things to do each day. Pair that with the intrusive nature of technology—a million push notifications from your phone say hello—and it’s no wonder people are stressed out. It’s not only a nuisance in your everyday life, it can also lead to a litany of serious health issues!
So what can you do about it?
As much as you’d like to throw your phone into a lake and escape to some quiet, off-the-grid location, that’s probably not a feasible solution. You may not be able to avoid some of the stress in your life, but there are ways to relieve it.
We compiled this list of simple stress relieving activities and techniques to help you remain relaxed even the tensest situations.
7 ways to suppress the stress in your life
1. Get moving
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a marathon-running bodybuilder or just someone who likes to go for a walk regularly, the stress reduction benefits of exercise are real. Not only does physical activity release mood-boosting endorphins, the exertion can also lead to better sleep!
Best of all, exercise in the name of stress reduction doesn’t have to be grueling. The positive effects can be felt from quick low-impact activities like walking or a beginner’s yoga routine.
2. Catch some Z’s
Some might assume sleeping is just a lazy way of putting off stress until the next day, but it’s actually an important and often overlooked stress management method. A good night’s rest gives your brain a chance to recharge, which has positive effects on your cognitive abilities.
Unfortunately there is a bit of a paradoxical relationship between sleep and stress. If you’re too stressed you may have trouble sleeping, which can create a vicious cycle. The key is to adjust your sleep habits before you’ve reached that point. Start with smaller increments of time, see how you feel and then adjust accordingly.
3. Meditation & mindfulness
The concept of mindfulness has been a topic of interest throughout the past few years. It’s true there are minor differences between meditation and mindfulness, but the stress relieving force behind the two is the same.
When you have what seems to be a million things on your mind, sometimes the best way to make sense of it all is to clear your mind and attempt to appreciate the moment. Meditation and mindfulness activities act like a pause button for your mind. Just a few minutes every day can work wonders for your improving demeanor and reducing stress levels. Check out these mindfulness apps to get started!
4. The power of coloring
Get in touch with your inner-child and spend some time coloring! No, we’re not telling you to dig out your old Disney-themed coloring books. Adult coloring books are all the rage these days!
There’s no complex scientific explanation for why adult coloring books help with stress, but a combination of nostalgia, relaxation and the small rewards of progress make for a great stress reducer. The final products also make for beautiful pieces of art to decorate your home or office!
5. Indulge in some aromatherapy
It may seem odd, but your sense of smell can have an impact on your stress level! Certain scents like lavender oil have been shown to reduce stress levels. You can reap the benefits of aromatherapy in several ways, such as lighting candles, diffusing essential oils, or using bubble bath, lotions or massage oils.
6. Put on some music
We’ve all experienced an immediate mood boost at the sudden sound of our favorite song. It’s more than just enjoying the smooth melodies and pulsing beats. Studies suggest that music can actually have a scientific impact on stress levels.
You’ll be happy to know that it’s not limited to orchestra instrumentals or Mozart. Experiment with whatever type of music you prefer and lose yourself in the relaxing rhythms.
7. Surround yourself with loved ones
There’s something so comforting about being with the people you love. You’re almost assuredly going to reminisce about old memories and enjoy a sense of security from it. Better yet, spending time with friends, family and even pets can all have a positive effect on your stress levels.
The laughter you share with your loved ones can help minimize stress. Not only that, time spent hugging, kissing and generally feeling loved all reduce stress and have plenty of other positive health benefits!
Get to the root of the problem
The next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed, revisit this list of stress relieving activities and give them a try. Everyone is different, so it may take some time to discover the ideal method for you. But once you do, you’ll have your tried and true tactic for staying calm, cool and collected.
But keep in mind that these are all ways to treat the symptoms, not fix the cause of your stress. If school is causing your stress levels to spike, check out these tips from veteran students who’ve mastered the juggling act of school, work and life.
Perhaps it’s your job that’s stressing you out. Have you considered pursuing a new career path? Check out some great advice from successful career-changers.