How to Destress: 12 Easy Ways to Combat Daily Life Stressors

how to destress

What exactly is stress?

Well, it’s the body’s response to a stimulus it considers dangerous. The body will respond in the exact same way to imminent danger and a stressful situation.

It adopts the flight or fight mechanism. Although this process is necessary for our survival, when over triggered as can occur when the body is under continuous stress, it can lead to significant health issues like heart disease and stroke.

And let’s be honest, in today’s world stress is at every corner!

I am here to share with you these very simply to adopt strategies to combat stress.

So, keep reading because I will be sharing 12 easy tips on how to destress.

Stress is a part of life that we all go through from time to time. Whether it’s from taking an exam, attending a job interview, or managing the daily expenditures such as bills, feeling stressed and anxious is common.

According to the American Psychological Association, Stress helps us to prepare against unseen threats and dangers. But too much of it and it becomes a negative force that can wreak havoc on our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Some common health problems caused by stress include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, and stomach aches. It can even lead to heart attacks and even death in serious situations. It also affects your day to day interactions often making one withdrawn or aggressive and short-tempered.

Stress is so prevalent in our lives that not learning to manage it can significantly impact the quality of your life.

Here are the 12 tips on how to destress that you can start today

1. Have good quality sleep

The importance of sleep is often under estimated. Getting seven to nine hours sleep for adults ensures that not only the body is given time to recuperate but also the mind.

After a long day at work, raising your family, running your business you need rest and with so many distractions from phones to an over active mind, good quality sleep can often be a difficult task to achieve.

So I often recommend to my patients to practice good sleep hygiene habits such as turning off or putting away any phones, iPad an hour before bed, getting your mind into the mode for sleep by gently unwinding before going to bed.

2. Recognize Stress Causing Activities/Events

Another tip I recommend on how to destress is controlling your stress by understanding its causes. You need to know what triggers it and how you can get around it? Although you may not be able to completely rule out stress from your life, you will be able to handle it instead of it controlling you.

For instance, for some people, heavy traffic and traffic jams during the morning commute to work causes a lot of stress. You can request to opt for a flexible schedule or even work from home so you can avoid driving during the rush hours to feel better.

3. Laugh Often

There is nothing more contagious than laughter and also that unburdens the mind.

Take time at work to converse with colleagues and share jokes or funny life stories or occurrences during the day. Not only will this make the working day pass with ease but also create a light hearted and friendly working environment.

The other day whilst out I caught my reflection and had to laugh, my face mask had smudged my lipstick making me look like the joker’s cousin! I laughed and secretly prayed no one I knew had seen me.

Laugh, laugh and laugh some more!

4. Schedule in Relaxation Time

Having you time and allowing your mind to rest is another tip of mine on how to destress. Mental clutter leads to a lot of stress. Make sure to set aside be it thirty minutes a day just to do nothing, to simply take time and appreciate the moment. During this time you can listen to music, write in your journal or even take a power nap if it’s during the day.

I like to sit with a cup of chamomile tea and simply fill myself up with feelings of contentment. You can also read my post here on how to destress by incorporating essential oils in your routine.

5. Practice Gratitude

According to different studies, expressing gratitude and being thankful for your blessings calms your mind and de-stresses you. Start a journal and write down everything positive that happens daily. You will slowly realize that you have a lot to be grateful for, this will slowly give less room for negative stressful thoughts to take over.

6. Go for a walk

Exercise is a great antidote to stress and it can be something as easy as going for a walk. You do not need to do anything strenuous unless like myself a good 55 minutes of martial arts based workout has you yelling yes at the end! Then go for it! Otherwise start small, take a short walk daily or do a workout at home.

7. Do Breath Work

The positive health benefits that deep breathing can have on us is still being discovered daily. Even if you breathe deeply for a few minutes during the day, it would decrease your muscle and mental tension. According to sports psychologists, you can reduce tension by applying these simple breathing exercises that can be done even during your lunch break:

  • Power 10 – This is about taking 10 breaths. While inhaling focus on stress and anxiety and then letting it all go when exhaling. Do this for 6 seconds.
  • Boosting Your Heart: Think about the two best moments in life when inhaling. Also, release the negative feelings when exhaling. This will have a positive effect on your heart and will also help to improve your overall mental state.
  • Shifting Heart: In this exercise, you need to take three-five breaths inhale 4 seconds, and then exhale for 6 seconds. During the first five breaths, think of the negative emotions and then release them when you exhale. During the second set of breaths, just focus on the inhaling and exhaling process. And during the last set of breaths, think about the love you have for your family, loved ones when inhaling. Release the negative emotions when exhaling.

8. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A well-balanced diet also helps you to stay calm and relaxed. Most of the time, when we are stressed, we also experience a change in our diet. We start craving certain unhealthy foods. However, instead of over indulging your cravings, support your immune system and health by consuming nutrients rich food such as vitamin B and omega-3s. You can also consume healthy whole-grain carbohydrates.

Vitamin B helps with mental health and omega-3s can decrease depression and anxiety. Whole-grain carbs regulate serotonin to help you stay calm. On the other hand, eating processed foods increases anxiety.

9. Go to bed early and rise early

One of my tips on how to destress earlier is by getting enough sleep. Going to bed early so you can also wake up early is the sister to getting a goodnight sleep. This will help you accomplish a lot of tasks by the time everyone wakes up. Take some time to read something good, exercise, or just reply to a few emails to get into a wining morning routine.

Clearing out all such tasks right at the start of the day helps to focus and meet your to-do list before time. Researchers have also proved early risers to be better performers at jobs and achieving more success than those who don’t wake up early.

10. Start Meditation

We all know that meditation helps to relax our mind and body. This is backed by science as meditation helps to increase the grey matter in our brains. This rewires the brain to stress less.

Many studies also indicate the powerful positive effects of meditation on stress and anxiety symptoms. Having these quiet moments of reflection will often yield answers in regards to what is truly bothering you and allow you to see the solution more easily.

11. Set Concrete Goals when visualizing

Fear is from the unknown. We all know it and experience it. However, still, when thinking about the future, instead of feeling fearful, we can set a few concrete goals that we want to achieve. This will reduce anxiety levels about the entirely unknown future.

By setting concrete goals when visualizing it also helps you feel excited instead of becoming anxious about the future. You can also use social media such as Pinterest for some inspiration. Create your dream or goals board, and hang it up where you can see it daily.

12. Put some plants in your surroundings

Plants are a beautiful gift of nature. They help to purify the air and this in return reduces anxiety and stress. Grab a few stress-relieving plants such as jasmine, lavender, skullcap, and camomile and de-stress your environment.

I hope you were able to find some useful ways to effectively manage stress. If you want more information on specifically coping with anxiety, this post here will be of great help. 

Over to you, how do you destress? What are your go to tips in identifying your stress triggers?


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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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