10 Proven Ways to Significantly Reduce Stress (Backed By Science)
In this post, you’re going to learn about ways to reduce your stress.
If you’re like most people in the US, it’s likey that about 72 percent of the time, you feel stressed about money at least some of the time.
This stress stems from job loss, reduced retirement, and medical expenses.
But it’s not only stress about money that bugs you.
A report by the American Psychological Association found other factors that cause stress to include:
- Job pressure: tensions between you and co-workers, bosses, work overload
- Health: health emergencies, chronic or terminal illness or diseases
- Relationships: divorce, spousal deal, disagreements with friends, loneliness
- Poor nutrition: lack or inadequate nutrition, caffeine overdoses, processed foods, refined sugars
- Media overload: Social media, television, e-mail, radio, internet
- Sleep deprivation: Inability to sleep well, and release stress hormones
Let’s get started.
1. Read for at least six minutes
One of the groundbreaking studies on how reading reduces stress was done by researchers from Mindlab International at the University of Sussex.
Their research reported that reading was the best way to reduce stress, slashing stress levels by 68 percent.
Reading enabled the volunteers in the study to lower stress levels to a point lower than before they started.
According to the researchers, it turns out that subjects who read silently for six minutes were able to slow the pace of their heart rate and ease muscle tension.
2. Listen to music
Several studies have shown that listening to music helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
For example, one recent study looked into the link between music and stress.
The researchers found that music can help soothe pediatric emergency room patients.
Researchers found that patients who listened to relaxing music while getting an IV inserted reported significantly less distress, compared with patients who did not listen to music.
3. Practise yoga
Researchers in Australia did a study to understand how yoga and relaxation reduce stress.
They enrolled over 130 participants with mild to moderate stress levels. Participants had a one-hour session of yoga or relaxation each week for 10 weeks.
The results were published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. It sugges that Yoga helps to improve stress, anxiety and health status compared to relaxation.
Indeed, Yoga had more positive impact on mental health than relaxation.
Here’s the thing: yoga is a powerful stress reducer.
Yoga stretches are important because they improve the flexibility of muscles. After all, during sleep, some muscles stiffen.
They also improve blood circulation and prevent stress.
Sometimes, we find ourselves experiencing some sort of stiffness in our muscles when we wake up, first thing in the morning.
Impulsively, we turn to stretch them out for a few seconds before getting into the shower.
Simple yoga stretches whether it’s in the morning, in the evening, or right before bed can be a good way to lower your stress.
Try these Yoga Poses for Stress and Anxiety
4. Deep breathing
If you’re not breathing well, you won’t be able to release energy and calm your mind.
Our bodies thrive on the energy we get when we take in oxygen by breathing, charges our red blood cells, and breathing out carbon dioxide.
Deep breathing improves every system in our body. Not only does it provide a refreshing and often healing effect, but it also supports our metabolic process.
Deep breathing allows you to relax the mind and improves your ability to learn, focus, concentrate and memorize.
It also relieves stress, anxiety, depression and negative thought patterns.
When you breathe in deeply, your diaphragm drops down, which allows your rib cage to expand and create more space for the lungs to inflate.
This process increases the flow of oxygen, enabling us to experience a calmed and relaxed sensations.
5. Walk after meals
In one well-cited report, over one-third of millennials mentioned eating habits influenced their stress.
Also, 41 percent of millennials mentioned they either eat too much or eat unhealthy foods due to stress.
But that’s not all. Turns out that another 34 percent skipped meals in the last month due to stress.
How does food impact our stress?
When we eat, food enters the stomach. Our stomach muscles then mix the food and liquid with digestive juices. And slowly, the stomach passes on its content to the small intestines.
Depending on what we eat, our bodies need time to digest food.
Studies show that a little movement can help food move the stomach to the small intestines.
A study in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases found that walking is a good movement. Walking after eating is a good accelerator for digestion.
Jogging can help our bodies and health in a good way.
Add it to your fitness routine. Early morning jogs are amazing if you’re a morning person. If you’re not, do it in the evening, when after a hard day’s work.
In on study, researchers in Switzerland found that individual exercises like jogging helped recover from stress by up to 87 percent.
If you take to moderate jogs, it’s even possible to lower risks of mortality and improve your life expectancy.
Stress affects us in so many ways. It negatively affects our immune system, inhibits sleep, and our nervous system.
Unfortunately, our modern society is full of stress. From work, school, relationships, and causes we care about.
It makes us all tensed up and stiff.
But here’s the good news:
Kickboxing is one way to kick out stress (pun intended). Kicking and punching and the constant movement loosen up our tensed muscles.
It gets even better.
Kickboxing helps the brain to produce a hormone called serotonin. It is in charge of making the brain feel happy which has effects on our moods.
It enables us to free ourselves from all the negative emotions. And makes us happier.
The primary goal of Swedish massage is to provide relaxation.
When we are stressed, our mood and state of mind changes.
We don’t think clearly. And it could even lead to severe psychological problems like anxiety.
Our body kicks either into fight or flight mode when we experience stress. This releases hormones in large amounts.
Swedish massage helps in calming the nerves and alleviating stress from your mind and body.
Also, Swedish massage reduces the production of cortisol, which is a major stress hormone.
Swedish massage is very beneficial in lowering the responses of your mind and body to stress.
9. Drink a cup of tea
A study by Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist and his colleagues at Sussex University found that drinking a cup of tea or coffee can reduce stress levels by 54 percent.
Stress is part of daily life. One of the benefits of herbal tea is that it helps to relieve stress.
Another study investigated how drinking tea can help students who are vulnerable to stress. The students revealed that drinking tea was beneficial for them especially in times of stress.
Take for example green tea.
Green tea contains L-theanine, a rare amino-acid that improves the production of dopamine and activates the alpha waves in the brain.
Studies prove that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine improves brain function.
10. Media curfews
Mobile phones, social media TVs, laptops, iPads all tend to be great distractions.
Constantly feeding on newsfeed and scrolls creates a Pavlovic syndrome. This is where you crave more of the comparison that makes you feel insufficient and stressed.
It’s not healthy. It doesn’t help you feel relaxed and appreciate the good in your life.
Ignore the news. Turn off your phone if you can, especially a few hours to bed. This will help you relax, feel less tense, and reduce your stress.