With busy schedules, long days, and many responsibilities, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Stress is a common feeling in many people’s day to day lives. In fact, 75 percent of people report feeling moderate to high stress levels in the past month.

While stress may feel like a normal part of your life, it doesn’t have to. Learning how to handle stress is simpler than you may think.

These five stress management activities can help you achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle.

1. Meditate

Between 200 and 500 million people meditate worldwide. With such popularity, what is all the hype about? Meditation can help relax, clear your mind, and de-stress.

Not only can meditation help you relax, but it can also help relieve symptoms of insomnia, increase attention span, and find mental clarity. With so many health benefits, the popularity of meditation has skyrocketed in recent years. By meditating once a day, you may find relief for a stressed-out mind.

If you’ve never tried meditating before, it’s simpler than you may think. At first, meditation may seem out of your comfort zone. With time, meditation will grow more to feel more natural and more effective.

If you’re new to meditation, there are many videos and mobile apps to help guide you along the process. If meditating alone, start by finding a quiet, safe, and comfortable place to sit or lay.

Depending on your preference, you may want to play calming sounds or sit in complete silence. Next, close your eyes and begin taking deep breaths.

When meditating, work to clear your mind of any thoughts. You can meditate for as little as five minutes to find peace.

2. Try Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a popular form of stress relief, but what exactly does it entail? Aromatherapy uses essential oils and natural fragrances to calm the mind and body. By participating in aromatherapy, you may find a natural way to relax.

Essential oils are often applied as a topical solution or inhaled. Before using essential oils, be sure to check that they are safe for either topical use or inhalation.

One simple way to practice aromatherapy at home is to apply essential oil to your wrists, neck, and under the nose. Another way is to add a few drops of essential oil to a mist diffuser to fill your home with a calming scent.

When practicing aromatherapy, focus on relaxing your mind and body. We often carry tension in our muscles and joints without noticing. A common area some carry stress is in the jaw, causing teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding and stress can cause headaches, jaw aches, and toothaches. During aromatherapy, be sure to release any tension in your joints and muscles.

3. Go for a Walk

During a busy and stressful day, we often forget to take time for ourselves. No matter your schedule, set aside at least 30 minutes to relax and take a break. One simple way to do this is by taking a walk.

If you work at an office or from home, consider taking a mid-day walk to rest your brain. You may even choose to walk during your lunch break. If spending most of the day inside, it’s important to breathe fresh air for an energy boost.

The change of scenery during a daily walk can help boost your mood, provide inspiration, and calm an anxious or stressed-out mind. Like exercising in a gym, daily walks can boost endorphins and even reduce symptoms of depression.

Endorphins are a chemical produced by the nervous system to help manage stress. These “feel good” chemicals can also relieve pain and increase happiness.

While taking a walk, your nervous system increases the production of these endorphins. This can have a significant impact on your mental health. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and, remember that taking a short walk is one of the best ways to manage stress.

4. Prioritize a Healthy Diet

When we are busy and stressed, it’s easy to let our diet and eating habits fall to the bottom of our priority list. It’s important to remember that to be productive and happy, we must feed our bodies with nutrients. If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, be sure that you’re prioritizing a healthy diet.

While comfort foods high in fat and sugar may be delicious, they provide temporary joy and stress relief. In the long run, unhealthy foods can increase our stress levels. Common items high in sugar and fat include some juices, cereals, packaged snacks, and fried foods.

Rather than eating greasy, sugary, unhealthy foods, consider some of these alternatives:

  • Berries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh-brewed tea
  • Oats

Remember that while high sugar foods may seem to provide a boost of energy, this temporary sugar rush will cause more harm than good. After snacking on cookies, chips, and other carbs, an afternoon energy crash is inevitable.

Be sure to nourish your brain and fuel your body throughout the day to help you deal with everyday stresses.

5. Practice Journaling

Regular journaling is an underrated, yet impactful activity to manage stress. By writing our thoughts, to-do lists, worries, and goals on paper, the brain can work through its thoughts better.

Before you dismiss the “dear diary” format, understand that your journal will differ from anyone else’s. As we all have different needs and preferences, there is no wrong way to journal. Writing in a journal every day is a personal activity that you may enjoy.

One study found that those who wrote in a journal daily experienced a higher rate of relaxation and decreased feelings of stress. By writing about stress and trauma, participants were able to overcome specific anxieties and stresses.

Writing stressful thoughts down on paper helps provide meaning and aide in management. Consider writing in a private journal at least once a day.

You may want to write first thing in the morning or right before bed. By writing in the morning, you may find your journal as an effective way of handling responsibility. By writing before bed, you may find a way to release daily stress and calm the brain.

Participate in Stress Management Activities Today

Everyone deserves to live a happy, healthy life. By participating in stress management activities on a regular basis, you can achieve the life you want.

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