Home Health Top 15 Activities for Stress Management to Try in 2023
Stress Management

Top 15 Activities for Stress Management to Try in 2023

by Robin Smith

With work, family, and personal responsibilities, modern life can quickly become hectic. Most people experience some kind of stress in their life, but as many as 33% report feeling extreme stress in their daily life. Even more, than that have been reported that stress impacts the way they sleep, their mental health, and their physical health. Chronic stress can increase the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack. With multiple sources of stress, it can be hard to pinpoint and eliminate the problem. Other times, stress is unavoidable. That’s why practicing activities for stress management is important for your overall health.

These can range from being active to more calming activities. Trying some kind of relaxing activity daily or on a regular basis can help keep you from feeling too stressed or overwhelmed.

1. Meditate or Do Yoga

Meditation and yoga are some of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety. During meditation, the goal is to rid your mind of all the thoughts that are crowding your mind and stressing you out.

The process can put you in a state of relaxation that can calm you at the moment and give you the skills to self-soothe in future stressful moments.

Yoga is similar because the process also focuses on breathing and putting stressful thoughts out of your mind. But the physical aspect of moving also helps to relax you physically.

The positions in yoga can relieve muscle tension and alleviate pain that may be caused by stress. Overall, the process will make you feel relaxed to help reduce stress in your mind and body.

2. Start a Gratitude Journal

For those who may need to get their feelings out, expressing them through a gratitude journal can help. In a gratitude journal, you write down three to five things you’re grateful for each day.

You can write about things that happened that day that you’re grateful for or things in your life that you’re grateful for. These can be things like your family, friends, or your job. Or things about you, like you’re creativity or kindness.

A gratitude journal and writing the things you’re thankful for can help keep you focused on positive moments and aspects in your life. During negative or stressful times, remembering the positives can help get you through.

3. Try Coloring

It may be an activity that’s associated with childhood, but coloring is a great way to help the brain and body feel more calm and more relaxed. It’s not a cure on its own but it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Coloring can put you in a meditative state that can improve mindfulness and stress relief while also triggering the creative process. It could be a great activity to do before bed to help you sleep better.

You can look for coloring books that fit your personal interest, like favorite television shows and movies. Of course, there are also classic versions that depict beautiful scenes or geometric designs.

4. Get Moving With Exercise

Exercise is one of the most proven ways to reduce stress. Physical activity produces endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, which can put your body in a more relaxed state, improve mental health, and help you sleep better.

Exercises for stress relief come in a variety of forms. You can go for a run, walk, or bike ride. Engage in a sport like kickboxing, tennis, or swimming for a fun way to get moving.

It’s also a good opportunity to partake in group activities for stress relief. Gather friends and family to work out, play, or exercise with you to enjoy a bit of social time with your physical activity.

5. Sleep More or Better

Stress can negatively affect your sleep by keeping you up at night, which can make you more stressed when you wake up, creating a dangerous cycle. Lack of sleep can raise your blood pressure and affect your mental health.

Sleeping helps to reduce cortisol levels, which is the body’s stress hormone. But sleeping better is often easier said than done. Take time to improve your sleep hygiene and sleep routine to increase your chances of waking up rested.

Some things that improve your sleep environment are a room that’s dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Avoid looking at screens before bed, including the phone and television.

Large meals and caffeine late in the day can also affect how you sleep at night. But consistency with all of these things, plus your bedtime, will ultimately have the most effect on your sleep.

6. Grow Something in a Garden

Gardening is one of the best hobbies to take on to increase relaxation and reduce stress. As you work on your garden, you can feel more in the moment, which can help reduce negative thoughts and stressful feelings.

Gardening helps you focus on immediate tasks, which can put those negative thoughts out of your mind. Spending time around plants and flowers is also proven to help mental health and help improve mood.

It doesn’t matter what you’re gardening, whether it’s vegetables, plants, or flowers, all can be a benefit to reducing stress. Learning how to ease anxiety can be as simple as spending a few hours outside.

Spending time out in the fresh air can also help reduce anxiety and stress, raise oxygen levels in the brain, and increase serotonin, which improves mood.

7. Start a Creative Hobby

Being creative helps your brain process emotions, so taking on a creative hobby can help improve anxiety as well as help you let out your emotions. Engaging in a creative hobby each day can help you relax.

Drawing and painting are classic hobbies that can help lower anxiety. They’re also easy, accessible, and relatively inexpensive to start. Creative writing can also help you get your emotions out and reduce stress.

Taking classes to learn new art forms is another great way to engage in art if you’re not ready to invest in a ton of materials. Classes on woodworking, pottery, ceramics, and photography are all great for beginners.

8. Learn Breathing Techniques

Breathing controls more of your body systems than you may realize. Proper breathing techniques can help lower stress levels even when you’re in the middle of a highly stressful environment or event.

Deliberate breathing can relax the nervous system, help lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and lower levels of cortisol in the blood. All of this is directly related to stress and can help fight against anxiety.

To do this, you should focus on breathing deeper and slower from your stomach. Practice deep breathing daily by incorporating it into your routine, as in before bed or when you wake up. 

9. Have a Spa Day or Night

Spending time at the spa is a known stress reliever, so, of course, if you’re feeling overwhelmingly stressed, you should treat yourself to some spa treatments.

You can go to a spa to have a few treatments and procedures done to help relax you. Mud baths, steam rooms, and saunas can all help aid in relaxation at the spa.

If you can’t go to the spa frequently, consider recreating it at home with your own facials, scrubs, or masks. You can also create a relaxing environment by incorporating aromatherapy.

Scents like eucalyptus, lavender, ylang-ylang, and lemongrass can all create a space that aids in relaxation, stress relief, and even sleep.

10. Try Mindful Cleaning

When you get stressed and overwhelmed, other tasks may fall by the wayside. And your to-do list going unfinished can make you even more stressed. Combat this with mindful cleaning, which combines mindfulness practices with cleaning.

Mindfulness helps you put out stressful or anxiety-inducing thoughts and focus on what you’re doing in the moment. You can put this into practice while washing dishes, sweeping, or doing laundry.

During these tasks, you can focus on your breathing and the way your body feels. Focus your thoughts to be positive and express gratitude. During this practice, you can help relax yourself and check a few things off your to-do list.

11. Cry If You Have To

Negative emotions can build up over time, and it may be days or weeks before you notice that you’re bubbling over. Expectations from society often prevent people from crying, instead telling people to suppress emotions.

Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness, but that isn’t so. Allowing yourself to cry can be cathartic and can actually lower stress levels because these tears can release stress hormones.

So, if you feel like you have to cry and let it all out, do it. Allow yourself to cry when it feels like you need to, even if you have to hold it in and cry in the privacy of your home.

Though it may not get rid of the stressor, it can rid your body of some of the chemical forms of stress.

12. Stress Relief and Fidget Toys

Having a few ways to relieve stress is essential to lowering your overall levels. Though it’s not a long-term solution, stress balls, and other toys you squeeze can help release some of the tension in a stressful moment.

Squeezing the ball and tensing up your muscles can also be a reminder to release tension in your body. You may not realize how the muscles in your body tense up throughout the day.

Fidget toys serve a similar purpose by providing an outlet through small repetitive movements that can help rid the body of anxiety and stress. They can also help improve focus.

13. Get a Massage

Our bodies hold on to stress and anxiety, creating tension in the muscles. Having a tense body can also lead to you feeling more stressed. Getting a massage can help remove these knots and physical manifestations of stress.

Massages increase temperature and blood circulation, which aids in removing waste products and help relieve tension throughout the body. They can also help release endorphins that promote a relaxed feeling.

Deep tissue, therapeutic, and Swedish massages are some of the best for reducing stress and tension in the body.

14. Spend Time in Nature

Just as breathing fresh air can help improve stress levels, spending time in nature can have similar effects. In many people, being out in nature can help reduce cortisol levels, muscle tension, and blood pressure.

And not only that, nature can boost dopamine and endorphin levels, making you feel happier. Breathing fresh pine, listening to birds, or being by the water, for example, is great for stress reduction.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to travel far in order to reduce your stress. A walk through a park, visiting an arboretum or botanical garden, or a local hike can have just as strong an effect on your stress levels.

It’s been studied that just twenty minutes in nature can be a benefit. Having indoor plants can also have a similar relaxing effect.

15. Sing and Dance Around

It’s been shown that physical activity has benefits for reducing stress and anxiety. Because of that, dancing is a great way to help reduce those feelings. You don’t need to be a professional dancer or a good singer to take part.

Put on your favorite song or other feel-good music, dance like no one’s watching, and sing at the top of your lungs. Allowing yourself to be free and let your body move can help rid your body of stress.

Along with feeling calmer, you may even feel happier or more optimistic, which can put you in a better mood when you’re feeling down.

Try Activities for Stress Management

Ongoing stress can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. When you’re stressed, you can be irritable or face mood changes, as well as increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and helplessness.

It’s so important to manage the stress in your life, whether it’s coming from work, family, or relationships. Regularly engaging in activities for stress management can help keep stress at healthy, lower levels.

Did you find this article helpful? If you’re looking for more tips, tricks, and advice, you can find new articles posted on the site daily.

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