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Life can be super stressful, right? All of us deal with stress to some degree or another.
Recently, my stress levels were off the charts and I ended up feeling like I was honestly on the brink of a meltdown. Work felt overwhelming, I lost my creativity, I started questioning what I was doing in life, and nothing was really bringing me joy anymore. I just felt uptight ALL the time.
Maybe you can relate to that feeling or maybe you haven’t let stress push you that far – which is awesome! Luckily, I pulled myself out of that mess and started heading in a more positive, healthy direction.
One thing I’ve learned is that if you create positive habits, you can eliminate stress from your life. You can’t make it all go away, of course. Some stress is just part of life. But you can definitely reduce it – a lot.
So, today I thought I’d share 15 powerful and practical things you can do to reduce stress in your life:
1- Plan ahead to avoid unnecessary worries.
Feeling unprepared can be a big source of stress for me. For example, worrying that I’ll forget something or not get something done in time. One simple way to avoid this is to plan ahead. I do this by taking out my daily to-do list every night to write down everything that I need to get done the next day. And if I have something big coming up that I’m nervous about, I make sure to plan for it ahead of time.
You could also plan ahead by taking some time each night to place everything you need for the next day by the door. You could also make lunches the night before, pick out your clothes, and anything else you may need. Planning ahead to reduce stress could mean something different for everyone!
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2- Move your body.
I know, I know. In every blog post or article about mental health, everyone mentions how exercise can help. But that’s because our physical health and our emotional health are so connected. Exercise is one of the best ways to feel happier.
You don’t have to do a full workout or anything, either. Sometimes something as simple as going for a walk around my neighborhood or cleaning the house is enough to boost my mood and help clear my mind. Something simple like that can be effective too!
3- Get yourself organized.
Disorganization and clutter have been proven many times to increase our stress levels and lower our moods. Clutter can be distracting and frustrating. It’s even been linked to depression! I know that when my house is cluttered, it makes my brain feel cluttered. If you feel like that could be something that stresses you out too, taking the time to clean and declutter your area is definitely worth the effort!
And while you’re at it, decluttering your whole life is a great idea too!
4- Get lost in a hobby.
Hobbies bring people joy. If I’m feeling super stressed out, taking time to do one of my favorite hobbies helps me to relax and clear my mind. For me, this is usually painting, reading, or playing video games. Sometimes, it can almost instantly reduce my stress and put me in a better mood.
I know you might think that you don’t have time for your hobbies, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. But it’s important to make time for things that make us happy and you make time for things that are important to you. The benefits are worth it, trust me!
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5- Avoid people who stress you out.
I’m sure we all have people in our lives who tend to stress us out – family members, co-workers, or whoever else they may be. I know that we can’t always cut these people out of our lives completely, but we can certainly reduce the amount of time we spend around these people as much as possible. Dealing with the toxic people in our lives can save us so much frustration, drama, and unnecessary negativity.
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6- Prioritize self-care.
When you’re not taking proper care of yourself, you can end up feeling pretty terrible. Making sure that you’re listening to yourself, noticing when you’re in need of something, and making sure that you’re getting what you need is so important. Get enough sleep at night, take breaks when you need them, drink enough water, eat nutritious foods, and take care of your spiritual health. Just make sure you’re caring for yourself properly and you’ll feel so much more refreshed!
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7- Focus on one thing at a time.
I know that stress can cause our minds to go 389,289 miles per hour, but sometimes we need to force ourselves to slow down. Take a moment to pull yourself to the present moment. Focus fully on what you’re doing. Don’t multitask. Just focus on one thing at a time and you’ll feel less overwhelmed. This goes for both our personal lives and our work lives!
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I originally started meditating because I had read somewhere that it’s been shown to help with anxiety. And it does. It helps with so many things – it’s literally hard to find something that it DOESN’T help. Meditation has actually been shown to change our brains.
Taking just 10-15 minutes every day to meditate can radically transform your mental health. And no matter how busy we think we are, we all have 15 minutes to spare!
9- Do a brain dump – regularly.
When my brain feels overwhelmed, sometimes it helps to empty it out. In the chaos of modern life, with the constant information overload, it can be easy to have a million thoughts floating around your brain. Things that are stressing you out, things that you need to remember, and other random thoughts. That’s where brain dumps come in handy!
Brain dumps are a great way to clear your mind and get all of your thoughts down on paper. Whether you’re emptying your mind of negative thoughts that are causing you stress or endless to-do’s that you need to keep track of, there are so many benefits to doing brain dumps.
10- Spend time with someone you love.
Spending time with someone you love can do a lot to help you feel happier and less stressed. This can mean a date night with your husband, quality time with your child, a coffee date with a friend, or even cuddling with your pet!
But no matter who you’re spending your time with, make sure that you’re fully present. Turn off your phone, forget about work for a while, and try not to think about the stuff that’s stressing you out. Focus on your loved one and your worries should melt away.
11- Make yourself laugh.
I always say that laughter is the best medicine. It’s hard to feel stressed out when you’re laughing, right? Watch a funny video, a funny movie, binge The Office (my favorite), or talk to someone who always makes you laugh. I know that whenever I’m feeling uptight, laughing instantly helps me relax a little bit.
12- Be grateful.
It’s easy to get caught up in a pessimistic attitude when you’re feeling stressed out. But when you’re constantly focusing on the negative, all you’ll see anywhere is negativity. On the other hand, if you notice the positive things in life, you’ll start to see more positivity.
Take a moment to count your blessings. Cherish the good things you have. Practice gratitude. If you do this regularly enough, you can actually help your brain gradually become more positive and peaceful. As with many things in life, the more you do it, the easier it will be. And it will reduce stress, trust me!
13- Say “no” when you need to.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities and someone asks you to do something for them, it’s important that you know how to say no. If you don’t have time for something or you just really don’t want to do something, it’s okay to say no. I’m not saying to refuse to do anything for anyone. But taking care of your mental health is important and so is protecting yourself from unnecessary stress.
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14- Be careful what you feed your mind.
Two things that interest me a lot are true crime and politics. But I’ve noticed that if I let myself watch or read too much about either topic, I start to feel negative and it can stress me out. So it’s important that I limit my exposure to both things.
If there’s anything in your life that stresses you out if you expose yourself to it too much, be careful. Instead, do something positive. Read something positive, look at positive quotes, and make sure you’re doing things to care for your mind and reduce stress.
15- Ask for help if you need it.
There are some things that meditation, gratitude, and exercise just can’t fix sometimes. If you’re trying everything to reduce stress and it’s just taking over your life, it’s okay to reach out to someone for help of some kind. Whether you need someone to take some responsibilities off of your plate or you need the help of a professional, reach out to them. There’s no shame in asking for help. 💜
What helps you reduce stress in your life? Let’s chat in the comments!