How to Lower Stress? 10 Ways to Destress and Be Happier

Issues and deadlines at work, a hectic family schedule, money is tight, the grass needs trimming and you haven’t slept a full night in the last week.

You are not alone. Over 50% of North Americans feels stressed out on a daily basis. Feeling of being overwhelmed and that you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done are common.

If only your day had 36 hours, instead of 24 you would be able to get it all done and just have some time for yourself.

What to do about it?

We have compiled a list of the best ways to lower stress and be happier. These ways to lower stress work if you put them into action.

Here are the top ways to lower (and prevent) stress:

Exercise

The most common excuse we hear about exercise is, “I don’t have time to exercise”.

Exercising can do the body good, but how do you fit exercising into that busy lifestyle?

The good news is that any form of exercise, from yoga to kettlebells and even walking will significantly benefit you and help to significantly reduce your stress. The best news is that you do not have to exercise for a long period of time to achieve the benefits of stress reduction.

Exercise can help to improve your mood, pump up your endorphins and blow off some steam. And in some time warped sort of way, exercising is one of the very best things we have found to increase productivity and maximize the use of your time.

We have put together a great 30 minute stress busting workout that you can do right now (with no equipment) to immediately lower your stress.

Download this 30 minute stress busting workout here.

Eat Great Food

Eating is one of the most common ways people deal with stress, however, many people tend to indulge in foods that add inches to their waistline.

Well, it is time to ditch the candy bars, diet sodas, and bags of chips and indulge in these stress busting foods.

Broccoli

Foods that are high in Vitamin C (more than an orange) and B Vitamins and are great food to eat for stress reduction.

One of the B Vitamins that broccoli contains is folic acid, which helps convert food into fuel (read between the lines and think increase metabolism)

Eat it raw or steam broccoli instead of boiling, to lock in the nutrients.

Asparagus

Asparagus is also high in folic acid so will provide similar benefits to broccoli, as well as detoxifying affects on your body.

How to Cook: Like broccoli, steam instead of boiling, to lock in the nutrients. One our favorite ways to eat broccoli is to add a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and cook over low heat on the grill

Tip: Make sure you use lower heat so you don’t convert olive oil into a bad fat.

Avocados

High in Vitamin B6 and is again important for metabolic activity and lowering stress.

Watch this quick video on how to choose the perfect avocado here.

Blueberries

These tiny little berries are packed full of goodness.

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C and Antioxidants, which are both important in dealing with stress by fixing and repairing cells in your body.

Almonds

Full of vitamins that help crank up your immune system in time of stress. Almonds are higher in fat so don’t just focus on these, but they will help satisfy that crunch.

Oranges

A by-product of stress is high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels in our system.

Oranges and their juice work to naturally lower blood pressure. Plus they are high in Vitamin C, so they also help to fix and repair the cells in your body from stress.

Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids have been acclaimed for their many benefits, one of which is to protect the heart during periods of stress.

Chocolate

We couldn’t help but put this one in as chocolate can be absolutely delicious.

But taken in moderation (moderation is the key word here), dark chocolate can help to lower stress hormones in your body and increase levels of serotonin (the happy hormone).

Who doesn’t like to he healthy and happy?

We have put together a stress busting meal plan that you can download here (best part it is gluten free meal plan).

Journal

The simplicity of journaling to lower stress is amazing. It might be feelings of being overwhelmed, anger, depression or your hectic schedule that are getting you stressed out.

Follow these simple journaling tips to lower your stress, right now.

Break your journaling into 3 parts:

1. Emotions

Jot your thoughts, emotions and your stresses down on paper. Don’t think about this section, just start writing and get it all down on paper. As your first start to journal, this section ccan get quite long, just give yourself permission to get all that stress out onto paper.

As you are consistent in your journaling you will find this section will get shorter and shorter.

2. Action Plan

Write down in list format everything that you need to do the next day and prioritize each of the items them from most important to least important.

Get more done in a less stressful way by starting at the top of your list and not moving on to the next item until the first is complete.

Too many people, get stressed because we have too much on the go, start lots of projects and finish very few of them.

Use journaling to help get things done. As you start to use this stress busting technique it is common to plan too much for the next day, stick with it and refine your planning as you go along.

3. Lessons Learned for the Day

In the last section of journaling you should write down any valuable life lessons you have learned for the day, anything of importance that you can carry forward to help lower and prevent stress.

Read a Book

Reading to lower stress? If you really need to escape from stress, reading is a good place to start. When you read, you have to concentrate (at least you should concentrate) and this form of distraction through reading helps to lower your stress over 65%.

Smile

The only person that is responsible for your emotions is you. No matter what you have told yourself in the past, or what your circumstance are, happiness is a choice.

It can all start by you choosing how you react to the circumstances around you. Choose to smile and be happy.

Breath

When our stress levels get high, our body adopts a defensive posture in which the shoulders role forward. This forward motion of the shoulders decreases the air capacity of your lungs followed by shallower and quicker breathing.

This is a recipe for more stress as your oxygen levels in your body become depleted and your tissues and organs become starved for oxygen, leading to oxidative stress (associated with a number of chronic health conditions).

Tip your head back pull your shoulders back and take 5 deep breaths in and as oxygen filters back into your system will notice your stress levels will come down.

We found this great set of stretches to help open up your lungs and increase your breathing.

Sex

Interestingly enough, research shows that having sex can lower your blood pressure and lower your stress stress

Having sex was not just correlated with lowering your stress, but also with helping you prevent and respond to new stressors that show up.

Other benefits of sex shown through research include: increased immune system function and burning more calories (think of this as a form of exercise).

Sleep

Not getting enough sleep creates the perfect storm for massively increasing your levels of stress.

It can be a challenge to fall asleep when your stress levels are high and you are worried about everything going on.

Use this stress busting techniques to sleep better:

  • As mentioned above try journalling before bed.
  • Cut out all technology for 60 minutes before going to bed.
  • Do not eat for 60 minutes before going to bed.

Have you discovered other natural strategies for falling asleep that worked well for you, write them in the comments below to share with others.

Be Grateful

Research is very clear that those who view life from a cup half full perspective experience a ton of benefits with stress reduction.

Some side effects of being grateful are being happier, having stronger relationships, better health and lower levels of depression.

Think about it, what are you grateful for? Air to breath, food to eat, clothes to wear….

Say No

Between work, family and all of your day to day commitments it is often difficult to put yourself first. Block time in your schedule and say no…

Watch a funny video

We like this one, if you know of any other great funny videos, feel free to share the link in the comments section below (keep it clean).

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