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Simple and effective ways to reduce stress

Updated on August 27, 2016
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The monster

Most people have experienced stress at some point in their lives. Stress can be caused by many different things like finances, jobs and concern for loved ones. Even trivial, little things can get to us once in a while. Life is full of ups and downs which can lead to be being stressed. One can almost say it is impossible to completely eliminate every bit of stress from one's life. Many of us have to worry about paying the bills, buying groceries, caring for children and hundreds of other things. These are things that must be dealt with as a basic part of our lives.

There are certain types of stress that we can choose to remove from our lives. Things like unnecessary expenses, people that bring us down and bad habits. These things may not be easy to walk away from, but we have the option. By allowing these things in our lives, we are causing our own stressful situations.

That knowledge certainly does not make it any easier to remove them. In fact, it can make it more difficult. For example many people enjoy smoking tobacco products yet stress over them on a somewhat daily basis. They stress over how to get the next pack if they are out or how to budget their bills and still buy their tobacco product. The same scenario applies to alcohol, certain foods/snacks, gambling and other addictive habits. These habits cause stress and often health issues which in turn are stressful.

I mentioned earlier that people can cause stress. The type of people referred to here are people that bring us down. Perhaps they constantly borrow money or mooch off of us in other ways (food, shelter, etc.). We stress because they are a drain on our personal resources as well as cause us mental anguish or frustration. Maybe you know someone who causes mental stress only through constant drama. No matter how they do it, some people just manage to drive up our stress levels.

The odd part is we have a hard time just walking away from these people. It could be that we feel sorry for them in some way or maybe we have known them for an extended amount of time. Whatever the reason, we allow them to continue causing us stress nearly every time we see them.

Stress can be a terrible thing, which is why I call it the monster. Some people can become stressed to the point of mental and physical exhaustion and even illness. This is why it is good to learn ways to reduce stress and its effects on us.

Peaceful place
Peaceful place | Source

Find what soothes you

We may not be able to completely eliminate the causes of stress, but we can find ways to ease the effect it has on us. For some, it might be playing basketball with friends, for others it could a walk in the rain. Each person is different and what works for one, may not work for another. That is why we have to figure out what we find to be relaxing or at least can temporarily distract us from the stress.

The idea is to relieve the effects of stress, therefore it might be a good idea to choose something that does not cost any money. It defeats the purpose of relaxing, if your method requires money that you may not always have on hand. In fact, spending money on your stress relieving method could end up causing more stress.

It might be a little bit challenging to find things that soothe your stress. The easiest way to go about it is to think about simple things that you enjoy. Avoid over thinking it, you don't want to stress over stress relieving methods. Try to remember to observe the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) rule. For example if you enjoy watching the clouds drift by, then put that on your relaxation list. If you enjoy the sound of ocean waves, put that on your list.

It can be the simplest, most ordinary things that can be so very soothing to the mind and soul. You don't necessarily have to go anywhere or do anything in order to relax a bit.

Learning to paint or draw can be relaxing
Learning to paint or draw can be relaxing | Source

Simple stress relieving ideas

Stress relief can come in some of the most simple ways. The problem is, when our minds are completely frazzled, we can't always see them. As mentioned earlier, everyone is different and so are the relaxation methods. Here are some ideas that might help you start thinking in the right direction toward finding your method.

Warm beverage

For some of us, nothing hits the spot after a long day like a nice cup of herbal tea. There is just something soothing about the aroma of our favorite tea that starts the unwinding process almost immediately. For other people, that same feeling can be captured with a cup of hot cocoa, warm milk or even coffee. Warm beverages just seem to help calm the stress monster.

I am not sure if it is the warmth of the beverage going down, the aroma, the flavor or what exactly that makes it so right. It doesn't even have to be cold outside for me to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea. If I am particularly frazzled, I can relax with some tea in the middle of the summer. Certain herbs are reputed to have relaxing qualities and that could be it.

One suggestion is to make whatever warm beverage suits you and then curl up on your favorite chair and dim the lights (if dark outside) and close your eyes. Inhale the aroma of the beverage and just breathe for a few seconds. Feel the warmth of the mug in your hands, clear your mind of the day's worries. Let yourself relax and just be yourself for a while.

Bath

Many people underestimate the power of a nice, warm bath. Sure, you hear about how relaxing a bath can be, but how many people that actually need it, do it? You don't have to fill the tub with flowery smelling bubbles or bath beads to enjoy the benefits (although it can be nice). All you need is warm water and dim lights. Candlelight is a nice option, or if you have a dimmer switch you can just dim the lights while you soak.

My favorite way to soak is to use a mini scented wax burner and the bathroom light off. The burner uses one tealight candle and will hold scented oil or half of a square of scented wax. I have a small bathroom so placing the burner on the edge of the tub puts off just enough light that I can see to get in and out of the tub safely. The scent from the tiny burner is pleasant without being overpowering in a small area.

The reason a bath is nice for relieving the effects of stress is that the warm water relaxes tense muscles. Another reason might be that for that small block of time, you can shut the world out. The key is not allowing yourself to take the stressful thoughts into the bath with you. clear your mind of negatives and just enjoy the warm water.

Music

It has been said that music can soothe a savage beast. It must be true, for some people anyway. Music can make them cry, laugh, want to dance and even relax. If you are fan of music, then when you are feeling stressed, put on some of your favorite uplifting music. Don't think, just listen to the beat/lyrics and let yourself become part of the music for a bit. If you cannot put music on at that moment, then make a mental note to do so when you have the proper opportunity.

Upbeat, happy music can lift your spirits and put you in a better frame of mind. Soft, gentle music can help your mind calm down. This is best when you can get comfortable and close your eyes and just listen to it.

Walk

A nice leisurely walk can help you clear your mind while getting some mild exercise. Breathing in the fresh air and taking in the sights around you can be uplifting. You can go alone or with a friend or a pet if you have one. Walking alone gives you time to think about other things. This may not come easy if you are stressed, but gently steer your mind toward happier thoughts for the duration of your walk.

If you go with a friend, use the time to catch up or talk about what is new with them. Try to avoid talking too much about your concerns. It is true that talking can help relieve stress, however dwelling on it for too long can have the opposite effect. Tell jokes, funny stories or talk about hobbies you enjoy. The point is to enjoy their company.

Pet time

It is a well documented fact that pets can be wonderful stress relievers. Their often amusing and playful antics can warm our hearts and lift our spirits. Pets are loyal and loving. They can often sense when their "parent" is upset. In their own special ways, pets try to comfort and be there for their human companions.

Many people enjoy a unique bond with their pets and can reduce the effects of stress by simply spending time with their pets. Some pets are even great to cuddle with when you need a hug. Spend quality time with your pet everyday to reduce your stress as well as theirs.

Draw/paint

You do not have to be artistic to enjoy the stress relieving benefits of drawing and painting. I do not have an artistic bone in my body and I love to paint and draw. My secret is not caring what it looks like while I'm working on it, let alone when it is finished. I just allow my mind to wander while I'm drawing/painting. Sometimes I create a little story that goes with what I'm working on. The whole process keeps my mind too busy to bother with my stress for a while.

The trick is too not care about how good or bad you are at drawing/painting. If you allow yourself to care, then you will end up adding that to your list of stressful things. That defeats the purpose, right? Right. So just put brush to canvas or pencil to paper and have fun.

Peaceful place

There are two ways to go about the peaceful place method. The first is actually going to a place that you find peaceful. A lake, forest, mall, movie theater or even your own backyard. The place is totally up to you. Only you know the places that make you feel calm and relaxed. Go to your place and sit or stand and take in whatever scenery is there.

The other way is by creating a peaceful place in your mind. Concentrate on a place where you feel totally at ease and safe and happy. I guess you could think of it like mentally going to your "happy place" as heard of in movies and TV shows. It is best to mentally go to your peaceful place when you have a few minutes to close your eyes and relax.

These are just some ideas of how to reduce the effects of stress. There are countless more ways, it is up to you to find ones that work for you.

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The truth about stress

No matter what method you use to reduce the effects of stress, it will not eliminate the actual cause of the stress. What it will do is help you focus on something positive and possibly help you see your source(s) of stress from a fresh perspective. This could help you find ways to eliminate some of the stress or at least lessen the burden of it.

Stress can overwhelm us easily and it is up to us to learn how to effectively manage it.

© 2014 Tammy Cramblett

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      Alison3514 2 years ago

      Thanks for this amazing Hub!! Stress is a massive problem in today´s society. Unfortunately it is not taken seriously anymore, because it´s become such a common thing to live with. When I´m stressed, I love to listen to relaxing music, such as this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1GJbi2CR_U&in...

      It´s a great channel by the way. They produce many videos of this sort. Thanks again for your informative hub, and have a great stress-free day!