Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress
Stress getting to you? Try some of these tips for stress relief.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Is stress making you frustrated and irritable? Stress relievers can help restore calm and serenity to your chaotic life. You don't have to invest a lot of time or thought into stress relievers. If your stress is getting out of control and you need quick relief, try one of these tips.
Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. Even if you're not an athlete or you're out of shape, exercise can still be a good stress reliever.
Physical activity can pump up your feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being. Exercise can also refocus your mind on your body's movements, which can improve your mood and help the day's irritations fade away. Consider walking, jogging, gardening, housecleaning, biking, swimming, weightlifting or anything else that gets you active.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of taking care of yourself. Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Some people may deal with stress by drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, smoking, eating too much, or using illicit substances. These can affect your health in unhealthy ways.
During meditation, you focus your attention and quiet the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Meditation can instill a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.
Guided meditation, guided imagery, visualization and other forms of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, whether you're out for a walk, riding the bus to work or waiting at the doctor's office.
A good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but it can help you feel better, even if you have to force a fake laugh through your grumpiness. When you laugh, it not only lightens your mental load but also causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response. So read some jokes, tell some jokes, watch a comedy or hang out with your funny friends.
Connect with others
When you're stressed and irritable, your instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends and make social connections.
Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can offer distraction, provide support and help you tolerate life's up and downs. So take a coffee break with a friend, email a relative or visit your place of worship.
Got more time? Considering volunteering for a charitable group and help yourself while helping others.
April 21, 2016
See more In-depth
- How stress affects your health. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Managing stress. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HandlingStress/index.html. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Stress and your health fact sheet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/stress-your-health.html. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Fight stress with healthy habits. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/Fight-Stress-with-Healthy-Habits_UCM_307992_Article.jsp#.VsTL6-aVTwA. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Meditation. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Yoga. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
- Seaward BL. Essentials of Managing Stress. 3rd ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2014.
- Yoga as a complementary health approach. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/news/multimedia/infographics/yoga/text. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.