7 Ways to Be Less Stressed and More Optimistic

August 15, 2016
women lays in sun above a city

Do you have a friend that always seems to have a smile on her face and a bounce in her step, no matter how busy she is? She’s even in a good mood before she has her coffee in the morning! What’s up with that?

With the stress of daily life it can be hard to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Our work, daily tasks, commute, errands, and even just the news can bring a dark cloud over our sunshiney day. Many people find counseling, massage, and even retreats helpful – but those solutions take a lot of time (and money).

So how do you lower your stress and create some happiness right now?

  1. Take 5 minutes.
    Find somewhere quiet, sit down, and set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes. Take inventory of where you’re holding stress in your body from your toes all the way up to the top of your head. Mindfully let that stress go. When your mind wanders to work or daily tasks, bring it back to yourself. You’ll be surprised at how quickly those minutes go by, and how much of a difference that short amount of time to yourself will make! Better yet, take those 5 extra minutes first thing in the morning, and start your day right.
  2. Pump up the volume!
    Jamming out to your favorite tunes isn’t just for the dance floor. Listening to music can actually help reduce heart rate and anxiety levels, and trigger your body’s natural stress reducing chemicals. Also, hearing your favorite song triggers the release of dopamine – the hormone that gives you the feeling of pleasure.
  3. Drink tea.
    Not only has it been shown to help relax the body by reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels, but drinking tea has a whole list of other benefits. Just another of the many great reasons to start drinking more tea!
  4. Crack yourself up.
    They say that laughter is the best medicine, and this might actually be true when it comes to stress! Laughing can reduce fatigue that comes from being over-stressed, while also boosting your mood. Turn on a humor podcast, or browse Netflix for a favorite comedian’s stand-up special. You’ll be giggling your worries away in no time.
  5. Breathe deeply.
    This might sound a bit too simple to be true, but consciously taking big deep breaths can help lower cortisol levels. Studies suggest that it can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. For an added bonus, get outside before you start breathing deep to get fresh air in your lungs!
  6. Chat with a stranger.
    Start up a conversation with the person ringing up your coffee, or with someone you’re sitting next to on the bus. Creating a new connection with someone else allows you to stop worrying about what is stressing you out, and focus on the person that’s right in front of you. Better yet, figure out a new way to get more involved in your community!
  7. Color.
    Yes, you heard that right! Coloring has been shown to help reduce anxiety in the same way that meditation does – it switches off our other thoughts and lets us focus in the moment. So borrow your kids book for the day, or look into some coloring books specifically tailored to adults needing to chill out.

Looking for more ideas? Here are 9 quick tips for improving your life!

[Credit: Morin, Kate. “23 Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Stress Right Now”. Greatist.]
[Credit: University of Maryland Medical Center. “Stress.”]
[Credit: Fitzpatrick, Kelly. “Why Adult Coloring Books are Good for You.” CNN Health.]

Tags: mental health, health tips, wellness, relaxation