Stress has become an increasingly common occurrence in our fast-paced, connected world. In the United States, current events, work stress, and the long-term trauma brought on by the global pandemic have created a mental health crisis across all ages and demographics. According to the American Institute of Stress, the statistics surrounding chronic stress are concerning:
- 55% of Americans are stressed each day
- Stress causes 57% of US respondents to feel paralyzed
- 63% of US workers are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress
- 94% of workers report stress chronic stress in the workplace
- Over 30% of people report feeling extreme stress
- 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health
- 73 % of people have stress that impacts their mental health
- 48% of people experience stress-induced sleep problems
Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to dangerous health concerns, but there are several simple ways to reduce daily stress. These quick and easy practices can help us lead a more relaxed and fulfilling life. Here are 7 quick stress reducers that you can start today:
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. You don’t need a gym, a trainer, or expensive equipment to get started. There are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up and help release endorphins, the body’s natural stress-fighting chemicals. 30 minutes of moderate exercise can also help improve your overall physical health and reduce anxiety.
If you’re not a regular exerciser, you can start slowly and still begin to reap the benefits. Take a brisk walk, or find a free low-impact beginner exercise like yoga on YouTube. Even incorporating exercise into your hobbies or daily routines, like gardening or performing walking lunges through the house while doing chores, can be an effective start. The point is to find something you can stick with and that you have the motivation to do regularly.
- Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing is a simple and quick way to reduce stress. It involves breathing deeply and slowly, focusing on your breath, and letting go of any tension. You can practice deep breathing anywhere at any time, making it a great way to reduce stress at home or on the go. There are many approaches to deep breathing, so find one that feels right and use it any time you feel stressed or overwhelmed to signal a stress-reducing reaction from your mind and body.
- Get enough sleep
This can feel easier said than done for people who don’t have a healthy sleep routine already. But lack of sleep can increase cortisol in your body, which raises stress levels and makes it more difficult to manage stress naturally. If you aim for progress, not perfection, when developing a routine that helps you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and stick to it, you can improve over time.
Incorporating small changes like avoiding TV or using electronic devices before bedtime, plugging your phone in another room or across the room and out of sight, doing calming activities like journaling, reading a book, listening to soft music, or doing meditative or mindfulness activities can increase the length and quality of your sleep once they become routine.
- Connect with loved ones
When we are stressed, we can tend to isolate ourselves. Remember, spending time with people you care about can be an effective way to reduce stress. It may also provide a supportive network and help you feel more connected to others. Consider a phone call, a video chat, or an in-person visit, and see if making time for friends and family can help you feel more relaxed and reduce stress.
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that helps to focus on the present moment. It can help reduce stress by helping you feel more relaxed and focused. You can practice mindfulness by paying attention to your breathing, the sensations in your body, and your thoughts. There are many apps and resources available that can help you learn mindfulness and start practicing it regularly.
- Get outside
Spending time in nature can be a great way to reduce stress. Whether it’s a walk in the park, hiking in the woods, fishing or taking a swim in the lake, or simply sitting in a quiet place where you can take in the serene sights and sounds of nature, spending time outside can help you feel more relaxed and reduce stress.
- Make time for yourself
It’s important to make time for yourself and do things you enjoy. Whether reading a book, doing a hobby that fulfills you, or simply relaxing, making time for yourself can help you feel more relaxed and reduce stress. It’s important to set boundaries at work and with others to take the time to unplug and restore your energy.
Reducing stress is essential for our overall well-being and ability to cope. By incorporating these 7 quick ways to reduce stress into your daily routine, you can help improve your mental and physical health and lead a more relaxed and fulfilling life. Be kind to yourself and make time to check in with yourself. If you’d like to speak with a professional to get more support with stress reduction, and improving your mental health, reach out to our team at Hudson Psychiatric Associates to request an appointment or leave a message.