Diet plays a huge role in your health and well-being and it also plays a big role in whether or not you will develop life threatening diseases such as heart disease, cancer and others. Diet is often the first thing most people think about when they think of health. Diet is seen as the pinnacle of how healthy you are and other factors like how much you move (fitness) and how stressed you are seem to be overlooked or just completely ignored.
Perfect health is not a singular pathway on a diet of healthy food. I’ve seen many people who eat very very well, practically healthy in the most perfect way yet still have health issues. Why? There are many more factors that play a role in how your health expresses itself. Exercise, Emotional trauma, stress and relationships play a huge role in how healthy you are. If you have an unhealthy level of emotional trauma, stress, bad relationship(s) or a general lack of movement because you think you don’t need it because you eat healthy (me at one time) then there can still be health challenges. This is why I do what I do on the blog here, to help educate and share alternative and natural pathways to explore, ignite and enliven these pathways in your life to ultimately have the same effect on your health.
One of the biggest factors in overall health is stress. Stress is known as the #1 killer in America. In fact, take a look at this info-graphic from the Heart Math institute that illustrates just how much stress can affect our health.
That is quite incredible huh? Stress impacts our brain, mouth, cardiovascular, digestive and joint health. If we are in pain we can be in more pain than we would be without stress. Stress speeds up disease growth and puts our body into a state of dis-ease, not in ease.
It’s important to continuously practice ways to reduce stress in your life. Life can be stressful at times and if we don’t work in ways to reduce stress we effectively just accept the reality of the picture above! and you don’t want that do you? these ideas will empower you to take action next time you are feeling stressed out.
50 Ways To Reduce Stress
1. Take An Epsom Salt Bath: A bath is a great way to relax your mind and body and an epsom salt bath helps to give you magnesium (through your skin) which is important because magnesium is the first mineral depleted in your body while under stress.
2. Listen To Music: Music has mystical powers to change brainwave patterns and to reduce your state of stress fairly quickly. I recommend classical or acoustic related music for the best stress reduction effects.
3. Take a Nap! 30-45 minutes is the sweet spot for reducing stress. Too short and you don’t get enough rest and too long and you can actually harm your regular sleep patterns, not to mention naps that go on too long make you feel groggy!
4. Go Swimming In Nature: Go to a lake, the ocean, a river or a stream and get in the water. This is one of the best ways to ground yourself and even if you just put your feet in you are benefiting your health and reducing stress by connecting to the earth and it’s negative ion field.
5. Light Candles: The amber orange glow of candles is calming and soothing. If you burn candles I recommend using beeswax candles or another natural candle that is free of the petrochemicals in traditional candle wax for health and environmental reasons.
6. Breathe Deeply And Intentionally: Deep breathing is one of the best ways to change your brainwaves and heart rate. Deep breathing slows your body down, puts you into a state of ease and relaxation and calms the nervous system.
7. Move Slower: One of the big reasons we can get stressed is simply because we move too quickly. Take time to slow down! walk slower, eat slower, shower slower! whatever you do take the time to slow down and live in that moment.
8. Meditate: Meditation (along with breathwork) is an amazing way to once again slow and calm your nervous system, relax your heart and brain and fall into a deep state of relaxation.
9. Guided Relaxation: There are many guided relaxation “follow-along” practices on youtube. These guided relaxations are similar to a meditation except for you are possibly speaking a mantra or affirmation throughout that helps you to release stress and relax.
10. Listen to Nature Sounds: Nature sounds have a powerful healing effect on the body. The sound of nature helps to rewire the brain in a positive way. You can help to connect your right and left-brain simply by hearing nature sounds. Going outside to hear nature sounds is great or you can just search youtube for ‘nature sounds’ and be on the beach or in a rainforest with your eyes closed in about 30 seconds flat!
11. GO OUTSIDE: This is a very important practice! We live in boxes, these boxes constrict our minds, ideas, thoughts, emotions and even our fresh air-flow. We need to be outside (even if it’s not in nature) to clear our heads and get some fresh air. Fresh air outside is up to 100x less toxic than indoor air!
12. Learn Something New: Learning something new helps put your brain into a state of concentrated focus and helps you to relax and ease up a bit. When you’re learning something new you take it easy on yourself because you’re new at this practice. Doing the “Same old same old” can add more stress but doing something new opens possibilities! I recommend learning how to juggle, it’s great for right & left-brain development and hand-eye coordination and really takes your mind off anything else because it requires a lot of focus.
13. Write in a Journal: Journaling has been one of the best tools for me if I have brain baggage or cognitive stress. If i’m working too much and haven’t had time to express my thoughts and emotions I take a break, pull out my journal and let my pen flow on paper. This allows me to effectively release emotions and feelings that may cause me to be in a chronic state of stress if I don’t release them on paper otherwise. This is a great tool for releasing emotional baggage, mental baggage and stress .
14. Eat Something Healthy in Silence: Stress depletes the body of minerals and creates a state of dis-ease. A state of Dis-ease (not in ease) long enough will cause disease and major health problems. Eat a healthy meal, a salad, a smoothie, a green juice in complete silence. This quiets your mind and body and replenishes you with essential nutrients (minerals, antioxidants and vitamins) that help to combat stress on a biochemical level.
15. Paint or Create Art: Creating art whether it is a painting or even something as simple as coloring is a great way to activate the right hemisphere of your brain and to get out of your head and into your creative body. It is one of many great creative exercises to release stress.
16. Make Some Music: Art is great, and music is as well! Play the guitar, or any instrument. Making music is a great right-hemisphere creative exercise to stimulate creativity and release stress.
17. Huuuummmmm: That’s right! Hum more often. Humming (as in a meditation/mantra) is great for your body and helps create more harmony in your body. You can even hum the vowels (Aaaaa-Eeeee-Iiiii-Ooooo-Uuuuu) and that has it’s own unique benefits for both releasing stress and creating harmony in your body.
18. Stretch: Spend time stretching. Stretch your arms, shoulders, back, legs. Stretching helps to oxygenate your body which helps improve nutrient assimilation and absorption to these areas. When you’re stressed you want more oxygen, hydration and nutrition to replenish and help you deal with stress in a positively responsive way.
19. Do Yoga! Yoga is a great practice that helps to create harmony in the mind-body and spirit. It helps you oxygenate your muscles, stretch to open as well as to quiet the mind and gain perspective. It’s a valuable practice to align and create harmony in your life and a powerful stress-reduction and releasing practice.
20. Turn Off ALL Electronics: This is tough in our highly technology centric culture but it’s a powerful practice. Cell phones, tablets, computers, televisions and any other electronics can cloud your body and mind creating EMF (electro-magnetic frequencies) which actually create more stress on your body. Turning these off reduces EMF’s as well as gives you peace and quiet which is desperately needed to reduce stress.
21. Use Aromatherapy: Buy flowers or essential oils and enjoy the aromatheraphy! Aromatherapy has a fast-effecting effect on brain chemistry and can put you in a relaxed state almost instantaneously. I always have essential oils on hand.
22. Play With Your Kids: Kids have an light effect on life and you! they aren’t stressed themselves and when they are playing outside you can enjoy time spent with them. Naturally being around them will help to reduce stress when you’re focused on playing outside whether it’s a sport or game. It’s light, it’s fun and even if you don’t have kids you can spend time with your family’s kids or friends kids at the park!
23. Play With Your Animal(s): Animals are stress reduction ninjas! Cats and dogs are furry cuddly creatures that make great companions and help to reduce stress. You actually reduce stress just by petting your pet! can you believe that? Specifically petting a cat helps to lower blood pressure and the cat’s pur actually has therapeutic benefits! incredible huh?
24. Dance! Dancing is a creative art form to move your energy and create something and release something else. Dancing (even if it’s slow movement back and forth to your favorite song) is great for so many reasons. It’s exercise, art, and a creative stress reduction therapy.
25. Smile (even if it’s fake): Smiling helps to change your psychology and physiology in a positive way. It tricks your brain into being happier and works throughout your whole body.
26. Look At Fractals (a pattern based art): Fractals are patterns in nature (snowflakes, ocean waves etc) that carry a similar pattern. This pattern when seen by your eyes helps to reduce stress. Spend about 20 minutes looking at fractals to receive the stress reduction benefits. I’d recommend buying fractal art for your home or office so it’s normal and a part of your environment in a built-in way.
27. Consume Vitamin C: Vitamin c has been shown in studies as a great way to reduce stress. Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin c as well as camu camu which is the richest source of vitamin c in the world! I keep a bottle of camu gold handy so I can give myself a nice potent shot of vitamin c during the work-day or wherever I am to destress and keep my brain flowing with happy feel good chemicals.
28. Massage Your Ear Lobes: Massaging your ear lobes has a relaxing and de-stressing effect and it’s something you can do quickly and easily!
29. Play With Toys or Games: Have juggling balls, bouncy balls, stress balls… hell, you own balls! (just kidding) handy so that when you’re stressed you can juggle or do something that involves hand-eye coordination. It’s a great way to turn off stress and move into a different space.
30. Do Laughter Yoga: Laughter yoga is quite an amazing experience! It’s a form of yoga that involves laughter and laughter therapy. Laughter is one of THE best ways to reduce stress as quickly as possible so spend time laughing by doing laughter yoga or watching funny cat videos on youtube!
31. Take A Break To Organize or Clean: Oddly enough taking a break from whatever you’re doing to clean and organize your environment is a de-stressing protocol. It helps take your mind off whatever is stressing you and gives you quick satisfaction from cleaning and organizing. You may feel that doing the dishes for example is therapeutic, cleaning with water and seeing your results does have a calming and focused de-stressing effect.
32. Go Somewhere New: The brain is rewired and stimulated by new sensual stimuli so taking time to just leave your current environment and going somewhere new is a great way to de-stress and activate your curious nature.
33. Practice Martial Arts or Boxing: There’s something amazing about expressing stress through physical forms of striking. It may sound weird but using your stress and energy as fuel for your next workout where you strike (punch, kick, knee, elbow etc.) is a great practice. It helps you not do anything crazy or stupid with your stress as well because you can visualize the punching bag as something other than what it is!
34. Ignore or Turn Off Your Clock: Your clock (and really your perception of time) can often make you feel stressed. You have timelines, duties, responsibilities, appointments and so much to do in such a short period of time. Life is busy and we can be run by time. This isn’t the way nature intended. The only clock in nature is the sunrise and sunset. Our ancestors weren’t in a chronic state of stress ran by time 24/7 and we shouldn’t be either.
35. Go For A Walk: Walk for 10 or 15 minutes, preferably outside but if that doesn’t work for you then inside is fine too. Walking reduces stress hormones and boosts endorphins which are happy brain chemistry.
36. Visualize Something Peaceful: Visualization is a powerful practice to take your mind in it’s current state, completely uplift it and drop it into a new reality. Visualization allows you to go from being in a stressful situation or environment at work, school or home and to be on a beach in Hawaii in a minute flat! Visualization changes your state of stress to a state of ease and bliss. A beach, a Rainforest or something nature oriented seems to work best!
37. Sit By Your Houseplant(s): I personally practice and love this one. I have about 5 houseplants near my windowsill in my living room and whenever i’m feeling stressed or any form of overload, anxiety etc, I walk to my living room, sit down and look at my plants and look outside at the trees and the wind blowing. This helps me a lot personally and if you don’t have houseplants get some and use them in this way!
38. Kiss Somebody! You think i’m kidding, i’m absolutely not. Kissing boosts endorphins and reduces stress. Kissing also improves circulation and other aspects of health and well-being as well. If you’re partner is nearby then kiss them! If you don’t have a partner then just raise your hand in your workplace and say “Who wants to kiss me? I’m trying to relieve my stress by kissing.” And then report back and let me know what happens! ha!
39. Eat Chocolate: It’s only natural that eating chocolate comes after kissing, or maybe it should have been before to increase your odds of getting that kiss from that stranger? Moving on… chocolate is great because it induces happy brain chemistry effectively reducing stress as well as being a rich source of magnesium which is one of the most important minerals to give your body during times of stress to stay calm and relaxed. I recommend dark chocolate with minimal sugar!
40. Give Yourself A Hand Massage: Your hands have meridians that connect to systems and organs in your body. Massaging your hands can help to keep your heart calm and calm your nervous system if done right. Learn how to massage your hands on youtube! (I’ll probably make a video about this soon so subscribe to my youtube channel here) You can also ask others to give you a hand massage as well.
41. Tighten Then Relax Your Muscles: This contrast works great! Start with your feet, legs, abs, chest, arms, shoulders etc. You flex and tighten these ares of your body and hold it for a few seconds then let go and relax. This helps to relax and reduce anxiety and stress because it’s signaling your body that yes! I am in a state of stress but i’m letting go of that and would like to relax now.
42. Eat A Banana: Bananas are great because they are rich in potassium and healthy brain chemistry as well. Potassium is another mineral that is beneficial when you are stressed to keep your heart and brain working in a healthy way. This food helps you recover from stress as well as be proactive in certain ways as well.
43. Reminisce: I think that living in the past of the future can be harmful to your life at times because the only time you are living in is NOW and by living in the past or future you can corrupt your sense of reality and create a life that may not be as enjoyable. Taking time every once in a while to reminisce though on positive experiences is great because you can relive them! Reminisce on a past vacation or fun experience and take a trip into your head for a few minutes to experience something enjoyable.
44. Be Grateful: Sometimes we are stressed because simply because we are not grateful. When you have traffic on the freeway, or don’t have that one ingredient to make your recipe the best it can be or didn’t perform at work the way you would have liked you can be very hard on yourself and be your own stress inducer. Being grateful and having an attitude of gratitude is a very valuable practice to feel happier and reduce stress. Being grateful for your first-world luxuries and lifestyle should be an everyday practice. People ALL over the world are struggling to find water, food and shelter and we get stressed here over losing a video game or not having exactly what we want when we want it? Gratitude is a positive practice that will hep you long-term. I recommend thinking of a few things you are grateful for before even stepping out of bed in the morning to start on a good ans positive note.
45. Eat Avocado’s: Avocado’s are rich in healthy fats and minerals such as potassium that help keep your brain healthy and engaged. Avocado’s contain an awesome nutritional profile that help you feel better and help to cope with stress. They contain glutathione and other minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that help to combat and relieve stress and oxidative damage.
46. Eat Berries: Eat more berries! Berries are the category of foods that tend to be highest in anti-oxidants which help to deal with oxidative stress. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries and other berry foods are great for your brain and to reduce the oxidative effects, which are a by-product of stress.
47. Eat Cashews: Cashews are rich in zinc which is important to help deal with anxiety and depression. Our bodies do not store zinc so make sure to eat cashews and other rich sources of zinc to have a sufficient supply when needed.
48. Drink Chamomile or Lavender Tea: Chamomile and lavender have great relaxation and calming effects to help harmonize and balance your body when it’s in a state of stress. There are many other herbs that help to reduce stress as well but these are two of the most common! Have tea handy in your fridge or in a closable bottle that you can bring to work to reduce stress in the workplace.
49. Sit Less And Stand More: A lot of us hold tension in our neck and back from bad posture caused by sitting in an office, in our car or at school all day. We are not made to sit all day! We are much healthier when we stand. I actually spend about half of my day working while standing, right now I am standing while typing this. Standing helps to increase circulation and reduce tension. Tension caused by stress will be held in your neck, back and body by standing more often you can and are stretching to relieve this.
50. Don’t Work Too Hard: We’ve all heard this expression before haven’t we? but how often do you get caught into this trap? I know that I do! life is not about working as much as it’s about enjoying and being free OF work! We live in an overworked and undernourished society and this is a bad habit and trap to fall prey in. Work less and enjoy life more! that’s the best advice I can give.Whether work to you means working at a day-job or taking care of your kid’s.
I hope that you can take life less seriously and enjoy it! Your job, kid’s, partner, income, home and everything WILL be fine. Everything ALWAYS works out. We’ve all had hard times but knowing that everything will always work out no matter what it looks like in the moment is a great perspective to have to keep your peace and sanity at all times.
If you found these ideas useful please share this with a friend that you know can benefit from it.