Stress is simply a fact of life for all of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it have a significant negative impact on your life. After all, you control how you react to situations. While some stress, from traumatic events or sudden negative changes, understandably require time, coping strategies, and support, much of life’s stress can be managed with some simple changes to your lifestyle or go-to stress relief activities.
Instead of allowing stress to dictate your life, learn how to take back control and enjoy more with these 15 ways to combat stress. Before we dive into our top stress management tactics, here are a few important considerations for figuring out what works best for you:
- Your main stressors: Is it work, certain relationships, your daily commute? Figuring out which aspect of your or which situations cause you the most stress is the first step to reducing the amount of stress in your life.
- Your typical level of stress: Do you feel constantly stressed or are you fairly content and easy going? How many days a week do you feel significantly stressed? Thinking carefully about how stressed you really feel can help guide you to the best stress relief tactics and how much effort you need to invest.
- What makes you feel better: Is it spending time with your friends, reading your favorite book, or maybe heading to the beach to watch the waves? Having an idea of the activities that typically make you happy can help you find go-to outlets that help you deal with your daily stresses.
With these factors in mind, here are some of the top ways to combat stress that you can use to improve your quality of life:
#1: Become More Active
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 62% of adults who say they exercise or walk to help manage stress say the technique is very or extremely effective, so why not give it a try. If you don’t regularly exercise already, you should integrate working out into your routine to help you reduce your stress levels. To make it easier to maintain, find a workout style that you actually enjoy. There are many apps and gyms that allow you to try different types of workouts so you can find what works best for you—from basic circuit workouts and running to kickboxing or dance.
#2: Adopt an Emotional-Support Animal
Animals can be a source of love and affection, help us adopt healthier habits, and provide companionship when we are sad, lonely, or under stress. For those who live with chronic stress or anxiety, adopting an emotional support animal that can help you cope with these feelings—white lab puppies are known to make excellent companions for both individuals and families.
#3: Make Time for Activities You Enjoy
Doing the things you love is a great way to mitigate the stress you’re feeling from your responsibilities and relationships. Whether it’s a round of golf, getting a pedicure, or listening to your favorite music while you take a relaxing bath, there are plenty of benefits to indulging in your favorite activities. When you’re under stress it can be difficult to think about a solution, so it may be helpful to make yourself a list of activities to try when you’re under pressure that can help you feel better.
#4: Channel That Energy into Something Creative
Crafting, baking, painting—creating can help you channel your negative and anxious energy into something productive. Most importantly, when we tap into our creative side, it can be relaxing and take our mind off the things that are causing us stress. Remember, this shouldn’t be an additional source of stress by trying to make a genuine work of art, it should be something you enjoy. It could even be as simple as coloring for 30 minutes.
#5: Reduce Your Commitments
For many of us, it seems impossible to say no to all the opportunities that arise in our life. But when your schedule starts to stack up and every day is jam packed, it can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to practice saying no to plans—and it’s okay not to provide an excuse. While it can be hard at first, you will see how much relief you feel when your schedule becomes less demanding. Setting aside certain days where you don’t make plans can help you maintain a better balance in your life and make more time for self-care.
Popular Stress-Relieving Activities
Need more inspiration for what you can do to help relieve stress on the spot? Here are some of the most popular stress-relief activities:
- Practicing positive affirmations
- Chewing gum
- Deep breathing
- Going for a walk
Why Managing Stress Is Important
It’s no secret that stress depletes our quality of life by preventing us from enjoying our days. However, the negative impacts of stress can be much more far-reaching. Did you know that stress has been linked to serious physical health issues like problems with your cardiovascular and reproductive systems? That’s why it’s so important to prioritize stress management.
Let’s look at some stress statistics from the American Institute of Stress:
- Nearly 50% of Americans feel that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life
- 76% of people said money and work were the leading causes of their stress
- 30% of people said they are “always” are “often” under stress at work
- 54% of people said that stress has caused them to fight with people close to them
- 48% of people said they lay awake at night due to stress
Clearly, something needs to be done about stress.
Next time you feel stressed or know you’re going to be entering a stressful time in your life, practice these stress management tips to find relief. Keep in mind, if you’re experiencing severe stress and these tactics aren’t working, reaching out to a professional should be your next step. While it can be difficult to manage your priorities, your mental health should always be at the top of the list for a happier, healthier life.
Alexis Maness has a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and is a contributing editor for 365businesstips.com. As a professional content writer, she has over five years of experience and is a contributing writer for several San Diego magazines. Alexis specializes in topics related to business, marketing, finance, and hospitality and tourism.