How to reduce stress levels

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We live in an increasingly stressful world caused by many different factors. Whether it is down to the pressures of our careers, bringing up our families or surviving financially, many of us find ourselves feeling completely stressed out and needing to find ways to relax. There are many ways to relieve stress, and it is important we utilize these to prevent the increased health risks associated with high stress levels, e.g. heart attacks, strokes, breakdowns etc.

Naturally not all stress relievers are practical in every environment, so you need to select the appropriate method according to the location you are in at any one time. Even some general lifestyle changes can drastically reduce the stress levels you are feeling day to day. This hub aims to suggest a number of good ways to relieve stress in your lives, and hopefully allow you to prevent any future health problems that can be brought on through living a stressful day to day existence.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes reducing stress is best achieved by some general lifestyle changes. Some good examples are listed here:

Job or Career. If you work in a job that is making you stressed, consider a change of career or even a different role within the same company. You might be in a position to reduce your hours and hopefully your stress levels at the same time.

Hobbies. Try taking up a hobby that you enjoy. This might be something as simple as buying yourself a model railway and creating the scenery around the tracks etc, or it could be taking up a sport like tennis or swimming. So long as the hobby is one that make you feel more relaxed and allows you to forget about feeling stressed, then it is already proving to be effective.

The Great Outdoors. Go out into the fresh air more, preferably in the countryside or a garden. The simple act of watching nature at work, the trees, the birds, the butterflies, the streams etc is totally relaxing. If you enjoy gardening you will probably find pottering about and growing a few vegetables at home is a fantastic way to unwind and chill out. If you can't face the idea of gardening, then try going for country walks, or picnics and reap the benefits this way.

The Kids. It goes without saying that you love your children dearly, but they can raise stress levels very easily, especially if they are with you all day every day. Try to make some time for yourself away from the children. If you have family who will look after them for a few hours here and there use this time to treat yourself to a hot soak in the bath, a night out with friends, a facial, a trip to the movies, some quality time with your partner, or whatever else appeals to you.

Regular Vacations or Mini Breaks. Although these are not so much a lifestyle change as they are a luxury, they can make all the difference. A vacation/holiday doesn't have to be expensive to be beneficial. A couple of nights away in a hotel or guest house can be all it takes to make you feel refreshed and ready for anything. If you can afford a longer break then even better, as then you get a proper opportunity to really recharge your batteries before you return home.

Eat Healthy. It may sound strange, but a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. You will be far better equipped to deal with stress if your body is in good condition. Drink plenty of water, don't drink too much alcohol, consume a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and don't overdo the caffeine rich drinks such as coffee, tea, or energy drinks like Red Bull.

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Immediate Actions

On occasion it might be necessary to immediately reduce your stress levels because of a situation you suddenly find yourself in e.g. during a row with a work colleague or spouse, when you have just received unexpected bad news, or when the pressure of a deadline at work has just become too much to cope with. In these cases the following should help:

Remove Yourself from the Situation. A 'time out' is a good move to lower your stress levels. Go outside and take a few minutes to calm down. This will give you a chance to relax enough to bring your heart rate down, and allow you to think rationally about the situation you have found yourself in. If you can go back with a calmer frame of mind you will not only benefit from it personally, but will probably deal with the problem better anyway.

Take Some Deep Breaths. Depending on the location you are in at the time, take a few deep breaths and focus on relaxing. It may not sound like much, but it can make a huge difference. If you are in company then make an excuse to go to the bathroom, and take the deep breaths there instead.

Have a Cup of Tea or Coffee. This will give you fifteen minutes or so to calm down, and the simple action of drinking the soothing hot drink will take your mind off your stressed out feelings.

Laugh. Try to think of something really funny, or a joke that tickled you recently. Laughter is know to be very healing, and simply distracting your thoughts on to an amusing subject will pay dividends. If you are at home you could try switching to a comedy TV channel, or watch a comedy film on DVD. It is really hard to stay stressed when you are laughing or smiling.

Stroke a Pet. If you don't have a dog or cat of your own, find one you can make a fuss of. Stroking dogs and cats particularly is known to be very therapeutic, and this is probably why certain dogs are taken into hospitals for patients to pet. It might also be worth your while considering adopting a dog or cat of your own depending on your lifestyle and how much time you have.

Play Music. Think about the kind of music that will relax you most, and then play it either through an iPod or on your stereo system. Classical music may well be the best option as opposed to rock music, but follow your instincts on what you think will work for you.

Meditate. Take five minutes to go and meditate. Even if you are at work you can still go to the restroom and find a cubicle to meditate in. Meditate on relaxing thoughts, visualize doing things that make you feel happy and contented. If you don't know how to meditate you can buy books on the subject, or join a local group who can teach you how to meditate.

Write it Down. This can be done two ways. Either you keep a journal/diary of how you feel and what is stressing you out over a long period of time, or you focus on each individual occasion. The former is generally a good way of getting your frustrations out of your system over many months, the latter works well for specific incidents, (in which case you write down why you are feeling so stressed, and then destroy the piece of paper, and hopefully the anguish along with it.)

Do you suffer from stress or know someone who does?

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Do you already use any of these methods to relieve your stress levels?

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If you suffer from stress will you be trying out one or more of the suggestions in this article?

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And to give you a smile.....

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Comments 36 comments

tarajeyaram profile image

tarajeyaram 4 years ago from Wonderland

Great article on relieving stress. Thanks for writing a hub on this. Many will find it useful. Voting up and useful.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thank you tarajeyaram, pleased you liked this and I appreciate the 'up vote' :)


Evylyn Rose profile image

Evylyn Rose 4 years ago from Colorado, USA

Awesome hub! Your timing is awesome with all the nonsense I've had go on the past few days. ;) I love your suggestions here and you reminded me that its been years since I last had a vacation. Not including the couple days I visited family for my mom-mom's funeral, I haven't taken a vacation for 2 1/2 years. Any time I took off from work was usually spent catching up on stuff that I couldn't keep up with full-time work and full-time school. I took a couple days last year to enjoy an event, but the workplace I was in was so toxic that the positive effects were immediately crushed. I can't remember the last time I didn't do something that was work or productive in some way. Thanks for reminding me. :) Voted up, UAI, and shared!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

For me the best stress reliever is to jump in the car, go grab a coffee and sit and sit down at the lake. Usually within 20 minutes I'm feeling way better. Walking my dogs helps too.

Excellent article!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks Evylyn, I hope this helps you to de-stress as I know you have been going through a fair bit of stress over the last few days. Try and have that vacation soon :)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi Susan, I know exactly what you mean about being by a lake being relaxing. As you know we run a private fishing lake here in Guernsey, and I find it almost impossible to be stressed out when I go and sit there. Glad you liked the article and cheers for commenting on it :)


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

This is one of the most comprehensive articles I've seen about ways to relieve stress! I especially liked your suggestions for immediate solutions to relieving stress of conflicts. We all seem to have some things that set us off, and having a few tried and true stress relievers in mind will certainly be helpful.

I will be linking this article to my recent hub on why stress causes weight gain or loss - it is the perfect complement to it!

Voted up and tweeted!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thank you for the lovely compliments Stephanie, and for the link. If you like I can add your link here too, just let me know what it is in a comment here and I will put it in a links capsule.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Sex

Bob


stclairjack profile image

stclairjack 4 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

i go to the bar, order an soda w/ a shot and quietly watch the world around me,... thers a lot of problems out there that arent mine,... its a nice reaity check.

good read


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Maybe later Bob, a bit busy right now lol ;)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Good tip stclairjack, a look at other people's problems can put our own in perspective. Thanks for commenting.


samadaslam profile image

samadaslam 4 years ago

Thanks Misty for sharing such nice tips. I was suffering from stress since last couple of weeks and was reading such things. I even tried meditation but stress was so much that I could not concentrate. Well Great Hub! Following you so I may read more such stuff from you. Thumbs up!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks samadaslam, I hope some of the other tips might be helpful to you if meditation is not working for you. Good Luck and thanks for commenting :)


MelChi profile image

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Great tips on relieving stress! It's amazing what a calming effect pets have :)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks MelChi, and I totally agree about the benefits of pets :)


JKenny profile image

JKenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

Great article Misty. You always write such useful and informative hubs. Whenever I feel stressed I try to get out into the countryside and just walk about, take it all in. Usually that helps to calm me down. Voted up and shared.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks JKenny, what a really nice comment to receive. I think one of the reasons I could never live in a city is because it would cause me stress. In the countryside I am so much more relaxed.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub. I love all your tips about good ways to relieve stress. Laugh, play music, take some deep breaths are my favorite. I learn many things from you. Thanks for writing and share with us. Good job and rated up!

Prasetio


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Great to see you here Prasetio and thanks for the heartwarming comment :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hey Misty - I read about getting rid of the job got down to the KIDS section and though you were going to suggest I get rid of them too:) lol That would relieve some stress I'll bet! haha!

Great tips - I do like to have a hot tea or a coffe and read something when I am stressed to get my mind cleared.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

LOL Kelly, no, don't get rid of the kids unless it is for a few hours at a time, or maybe a weekend, and then only if they go to stay with their Grandparents or someone you trust. :)

Reading is good as it distracts you from the problems and the causes of the stress :)


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Hey Misty, these are some great tips. Fortunately I started following most of them starting with the lifestyle change. I try to tinker around with gardening too. My animals are my therapy so I have less stress in my life these days. Not only do your hobbies relieve stress but some hobbies can actually make you some money and they are fun! This hub is awesome!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks Cardisa, glad to know you are already benefiting from some of these things. Delighted you liked this hub :)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Very useful and well presented as always. I follow most of your tip; wish I had a dog too!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

This is a big issue for me as when I am under stress my insomnia is worse than usual; I'm exhausted even when I have slept; my metabolism becomes so highly efficient that I have to eat constantly to avoid losing weight or mental faculties-and I cannot afford that much food financially; and I end up sick.

Having a cat is great for me, even though her health and age is also a source of stress.

I do go for speed walks when the weather is cooperative-I have bad balance, so winter shuts that off for me.

Writing is a great help for me, especially when I am writing in the early hours of the morning and no one is awake. You can't just call people up at 3am.

Sadly, a trip is not in my financial ability now. I've had to cut out attending the theatre too when I am not one of the performers. It's sad, because I cannot then support my friends in their plays- I live in a community full of artists, both professional and amateur.

Singing is a huge boon for me, and often the only time I leave the condo during the winter is related to music. Not that I do not sing at home, but as for the social life, choir rehearsals add so much more to my life than solo work.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks Green Lotus, I can't wait to have a dog again. Something is missing without one. Glad you liked this :)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi Flora, not having money can be very restrictive I agree. At least you do have your cat and your singing. I too enjoy singing to relax, and I find the positive feedback I receive very therapeutic in itself. My cats and my gardening are also a Godsend in terms of reducing stress.

I hope things look up for you soon, but honestly, I know it really doesn't feel like they will much of the time :)


CreateHubpages profile image

CreateHubpages 4 years ago

Great thoughts to stress relief. when you feel stress, just sit in a relaxing position, focus on the imagery, breathe slowly in and out through your nose, and be wiling to let your stress go.That is what I usually do.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks CreateHubpages, yes that would work well, basically you are meditating. Glad you enjoyed the hub :)


jeugenejohn profile image

jeugenejohn 4 years ago from Kerala

Really interesting hub.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks jeugenejohn, glad you enjoyed it :)


cheetah786 profile image

cheetah786 4 years ago

all you said are really effective tips to get rid of extensive stress. its useful!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks cheetah786, really eased you found this hub useful :)


almorr 2 years ago

I have been told that generally speaking that I am not a stressful person. I like to relax by surfing the Internet, watching some TV and listening to relaxing music, some of that classical. I go to a classical music concert about once a month. I live only 10 minutes walk from the country so I go for walks in the winter and cycle in the summer months. All that makes

me not feel too stressed a person

Regards, your regular friend in Scotland

Alan

me for the most part not too sg


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 2 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

You are very lucky Alan, I confess I have found living in the countryside one of the most brilliant ways to lower stress levels in my case. Surfing the Internet can also be very good as it is a bit like reading a book and allows an escape from the stresses of everyday living.

Regards

Cindy

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