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I hate those moments where everything seems to go wrong and there aren’t any simple ways to relieve stress. I drink too much coffee and end up feeling sick, I stare at the computer too long and get a headache, I’ve ticked off that one person I like and don’t want to tick off, bills need to be paid, and of course I’m hungry but everything in my kitchen is something you have to prepare.
Yeah, not a good day.
Stress is one of the biggest things that can reduce our health and life quality. And a lot of the time, people tell us to get rid of it in ways we’re not too crazy about. Exercise until you’re tired 30 minutes a day, eat these bland foods, and make sure to not think about the things that stress you out. And while these things can help a lot, not all of us have the drive or the will (or time) in the moment to start on these thing.
Thankfully though, there are more easy and enjoyable ways to reduce stress quickly and overtime. Combine these hacks and you’ll be seeing a difference in your mood fast.
Foods that Relieve Stress
I could tell you to eat green leafy vegetables and salmon, both of which help to relieve stress levels immensely, but you might not care for either or really feel like cooking a full blown dish. So I’ll give you some easy but awesome foods that you can snack on and are great ways to relieve stress.
A couple of years ago when my now spouse started his job, it took a lot of energy and emotion out of him. Politics at work were going strong and there was a lot of stress. So what did I do? I hopped on the computer and started researching, only to find that dark chocolate (among many foods), is a great stress reliever.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants that help to relieve blood pressure, and causes you to release endorphins (the feel good hormone in your brain), and it also has unique natural element that create a feeling similar to being in love. Pretty crazy right?
It ended up being an easy fix, all we did was go to the store or go to the chocolate shop in the mall and get dark chocolate frequently and I could already see the stress roll off of him.
The next thing I found was berries (we focused mainly on blueberries since they were high in stress relieving benefits), which was also high in antioxidants that aid in your body’s response to stress and help fight it off.
There are two options here, you can either eat them as a snack while you relax or create an easy smoothie with milk and yogurt (both stress relievers as well), and drink your berries.
Another one of the ways to relieve stress with foods is to eat nuts; pistachios and cashews more specifically. Cashews have 11% of your daily recommended value of zinc, which can help to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. They’re also rich in omega-3s and protein, which can help heart health and relieve stress as well.
Eating pistachios can also reduce stress by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. They have antioxidants in them as well which as we know by now, help relieve you of stress.
Drinks that Relieve Stress
When we’re dealing with stress, it can be so easy to go for that drink that we feel helps us get through the day. Turns out though, caffeine in coffee only increases our stress, and (if you drink) that glass of wine or brew isn’t good for your stress levels either.
So choosing the right drinks when frustrated are great ways to relieve stress.
I talk about this drink in my post on easy nighttime routines for better sleep as well. It really is a great drink for relaxing your mind and soothing any upset stomach you may have. And it’s a simple fix if you go to the store (or save yourself the trouble and get the tea online here) and get a box of them. Just pop it in the microwave and you’re ready to go!
Milk is high in Vitamin D which can help to increase your happiness levels when drunk. People who have good levels of Vitamin D in their system avoid stress and panic disorders.
Other foods that are high in vitamin D include yogurt, eggs, cheese, and cereals. Or you can take a Vitamin D supplement to up your happiness levels more quickly.
Actions that Reduce Stress
Gaining control in our life is one of the great ways to relieve stress. Because when things feel out of control, we end up feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Things that we didn’t see or plan for, get us irritated. But when we do gain control, we’re able to better our mental and physical health.
If you know a day is going to be crazy or there are things that could potentially happen that would cause you stress, create padding around your plans. So whether it’s planning for unseen expenses and creating an emergency fund or heading out early so you don’t stress about the time and all of the rubberneckers on the freeway watching a person who got pulled over for speeding, you’ll have a way to ensure that you don’t stress yourself out. The extra cushioning will give you peace of mind.
Find Ways to Cut the Stress
My father-in-law is a counselor and he’s found himself feeling overwhelmed and stressed when he’s counseled too many people in too little of a time. He knows it’s not good for his health or personal life, so he looks for the ways to cut out anything that he can. He’ll turn down some counseling requests if he knows it will be too much, and says no (or cuts out) to extra tasks that aren’t necessary for him to do.
And a lot of the time, taking control and cutting out stress has a lot to do with saying no and cutting things out of your life that cause frustration. Don’t do more than you can handle at work or at home; if you see that a task that you’re doing could be done by someone else and it’s increasing your stress, pass it off. If friends ask for favors or time to hang out, let them know that you can’t and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Do what you can to reduce the factors that cause you frustration and it will be one of the great ways to relieve stress.
Don’t be Immobile
Another part of taking control, is taking control of your circumstances, and eliminating the problems. So yes, you just made that same mistake that cost you more time or money or emotions, but instead of dwelling on it and letting it bother you, find a way to ensure that it won’t happen again.
Sometimes I’ll start to feel sorry for myself and then stop and think of what I could do to prevent it next time instead of beating myself up. It really helps me to stay focused and positive, and it takes away the possibility of it happening again.
Legs Up the Wall
Now I also talk about this as something you can do to help yourself get better sleep, but the legs up the wall position (or Staff Pose), can be one of the great ways to relieve stress. Laying on your back and putting your legs straight up on the wall helps your heart to rest (pump less), reducing your heart rate, and calms you as you focus on your breathing for five minutes (or longer if needed).
Apps that Relieve Stress
Apps are awesome. I’ve written entire posts dedicated to their money saving awesomeness. But now I’m writing on how there are apps that can be great ways to relieve stress.
The first time I found something like this, it was Rainy Mood on the computer (you can still find it online), but now there’s an app similar (but better) to Rainy Mood on iOS and Android. With Rain Rain, you can pick what type of rain or sound you want to listen to (city rain, rain on tent, crackling fire, etc.), block out the extra noise, and relax.
You can check out Rain Rain here.
Seriously an awesome app that helps you improve your stress and happiness in the long run. Happify is focuses on 5 things that make us happy: giving, thankfulness, savoring, empathizing and aspiring. When you first open the app, you can choose to track what you want to achieve. So whether that’s coping better with stress, building self-confidence, or dealing with negative thoughts, you’ll be given various daily activities, as well as games and quizzes to help you achieve your goal.
Over time you’ll see what causes you stress and you’ll be able to find ways to deal with it and become happier.
You can check out Happify and learn more here.
MyCalmBeat – No Longer Available
Simple and easy, MyCalmBeat helps to improve your calmness through slow breathing. You can use the monitor in the app to calculate your best breathing rate when you’re at your calmest, and then train yourself to breathe at that rate.
Monitoring your happiness and stress through an app, eating and drinking stress reducing foods, and taking control of your life can help improve the quality of it. You want to find ways to relieve stress so you can have amazing health benefits for later on in life.
Now I hope this post was helpful, and if you have an tips for relieving or cutting out stress, email me or let me know in the comments below!