Our daily lives are full of stress and anxiety.  More than 63% of Canadians say that they feel more stressed compared to five years ago.  At least 50% of them say that stress negatively impacts their sleep, while another 45% agree that workplace stress has negatively affected their lives.

So, what do you do when stress becomes quite overwhelming? Whether you feel stressed from family life, existing financial difficulties, or pressures from work, it can be quite easy to let everything get the better of you.

In such cases, you need to find a way to relieve stress and manage the situation. This post discusses the top 12 healthy ways to relieve stress and live a better life.

1. Spend Time with Friends and Family

Sometimes, it can be quite challenging to spend time with family and friends when you are fighting off stress and anxiety. But one good way of forgetting everything and relaxing is surrounding yourself with your trusted friends and family members.

Whether it is heading out for a much-needed walk, or simply spending time on your couch, talking to a trusted person, being with a loved one will encourage you to talk about how you feel.

2. Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine to relieve stress. Laughing helps to relax your body muscles and relieves stress. Whether you watch funny clips or spend time with funny friends, laughing will boost your mood and help you get rid of anxiety and stressful thoughts.

3. Get a Hug

Receiving a hug from someone you trust doesn’t take long, and it can really help you if you are feeling stressed. Things can become even better if the hug is from your close friend or relative. Hugging releases a positive hormone known as oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a feel-good neuroreceptor that promotes positive thinking and helps you relax by reducing your blood pressure and limiting the production of the stress hormone.

4. Meditate

Meditation is another short-term stress relief that you can practice at any time of the day. There are different forms of mediation that you can practice. Just make sure you find something that works for you and stick to it. Check out the App Store or PlayStore for a list of some of the best meditation apps that will guide you.

5. Get At Least Six Hours of Sleep

Research shows that sleep deprivation can easily increase one’s stress levels. When your body and mind are fatigued, you can no longer combat even mild stress.

When you don’t get enough sleep, even the smallest things that usually don’t bother you will start frustrating you. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, a good night’s sleep could be the solution to your problem.

6. Listen to Music

Sometimes, listening to your favourite music can make you feel better. Some kinds of music limit the production of the stress hormone, making you feel better. Listening to music can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which is crucial to relieving stress.

Slow music tends to produce better results, but if there is some other kind of music you personally love, feel free to listen to it whenever you feel stressed. If music isn’t your thing, you can listen to nature’s sounds to relieve stress.

7. Tweak Your Work Environment

If you are experiencing work-related stress, then changing your work environment could help you. Is there a way you can make the work environment less stressful?  For instance, you can try working in a quieter part of the office or clear yo0ur work desk of all clutter.

You can also request your boss to allow you to work from home at least once. Try to listen to slow music while working or take frequent mini-breaks.

8. Spend Time with Your Pet

Your pet can also help to relieve stress and lower your anxiety levels. It can also boost your mood and make you happier. So, if you are feeling stressed, be sure to cuddle with your little friend. If you don’t have a pet, request to have a cuddle with your friend’s pup.

Whether you are suffering from anxiety, stress, or high blood pressure, spending time with a pet can bring you joy.

9. Exercise

Exercising is another great way to relieve stress pretty fast. You don’t have to hit the gym or do some complicated exercises to feel better. A simple walk for a few minutes can rejuvenate your body and make you feel better.

In fact, walking is extremely effective for stress relief because it takes you away from the immediate environment that could be causing stress. It also provides you with the benefits of exercise without an intense workout.

10. Eat Stress Relieving Food

Changing your diet can also help you relieve stress. Keep in mind that the food you eat affects how your body functions. A good example is the sluggish feeling you get after consuming a carb-filled lunch.

So, if you feel stressed after eating, learn how to drop that cake and start doing regular aerobic and endurance exercises. Consume healthy foods and have enough sleep. With time, you will start to notice a significant improvement in your condition.

11. Help Other People

This might sound surprising, but sometimes boosting your mood could take something as simple as helping others. A simple act of kindness could make you feel happy and more relaxed.

So, if you feel stressed, try to volunteer and make someone a coffee or some simple meal. You might discover that doing something good to someone else can help you feel better.

12. Write Everything Down

Lastly, you can start journaling as a way of dealing with stress. Grab a notebook and write all your unfiltered thoughts down. Journaling is important for your mental health and stress relief. It helps you cope with depression, manage anxiety, and avoid bad thoughts.

You can also use journaling as a way of prioritizing tasks that usually overwhelm you. Take note of all your stress triggers and create a simple way of combating them. Give yourself that little positive self-talk, and everything will be okay.

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