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10 Surprising Strategies for Reducing Stress Levels

Stress has a major impact on your overall health. Controlling stress is a challenge for many, but there are some simple ways that you can reduce stress and improve your health in the process. Stress causes a fight-or-flight response in our bodies, and things like financial stress, job issues, family problems and more can wreak havoc on your psychological and physical health. Try these suggestions to improve your stress levels.

1. Warm water

Washing your hands in warm water can be very soothing. If you have time, take a warm bath for even better results, especially if you can add soothing bath salts or oils.

2. Hum

Have you ever noticed that people who are chronically happy tend to hum to themselves? Humming is a soothing activity that combines vocalization and comforting vibration, which can lower blood pressure and decrease stress.

3. Munch on celery

Studies have shown that a compound contained in celery, called apigenin, can actually help to reduce cortisol levels—a hormone that is released into the body when we are stressed. Chewing also helps your nervous system relax and reduces the amount of jaw clenching or teeth grinding that can come with stress. Munching on celery is also thought to help insomnia, which is both caused by stress and increased by stress.

4. Doodle drawings

When we spend time just making simple doodle drawings, it helps to integrate the right and left sides of our brains. When we switch which side of the brain we are using, we help to let the part that is overwhelmed relax, which helps to reduce stress. Doodling can also help us express ourselves and develop a fresh perspective on situations. Take the time to doodle, and you will feel better!

5. Make funny or ugly faces

When we are stressed, we often clench our facial muscles and the muscles in our jaws. When you take a moment to make a silly face or an ugly face, you unlock those muscles and allow them to relax. You might even make yourself laugh for a minute, which also helps to reduce stress and tension. Try this activity with a friend for best results!

6. Freshen up your lips

When we are stressed, we often touch our faces and mouths more frequently. Try using lip balm to soothe your lips, and keep your hands away. Also, when we are stressed, we often turn to mindless eating, and if you have just freshened up your lips you might avoid mindless snacking for a while! Mindless eating can lead to weight gain, which will only add more stress.

7. Pinch your eyebrows

Clenching your jaw while stressed can cause us to have furrowed brows, and lead to wrinkles and headaches. When you feel stressed, pinch your eyebrow area and massage the tight muscles, and you will feel some relief. Using essential oils can also help. Extend the massage to the areas around the back of your ears and the sides of your neck for best results.

8. Eat a healthy salad

When we are stressed, we often reach for sugary or fatty snacks. This can make you feel more stressed. Instead of reaching for the junk food, try eating a healthy salad. Lettuce is known to have some sedative properties, due to a certain substance called lactucarium, which is found in the stems. Adding some healthy fats and lean proteins will help your body generate soothing hormones, rather than stressful ones, and you will feel better. Plus, the vitamins and nutrients that you get will help your body fight stress better.

9. Go barefoot

When our feet are constricted, we will feel more tension throughout our bodies. Try taking off your shoes and walking around, especially outside in the grass. This gives the body gentle soothing and can release built up stress.

10. Give yourself a hug

As humans, we crave contact. Even when we cannot get contact from other humans, we can hug ourself. If you can’t get a comforting hug from a loved one, try wrapping your arms around yourself or kneading tense muscles you can reach. This helps to release oxytocin, which is known to help with relaxation.

When you are feeling stressed, instead of letting it get you down, consider these strategies for the soothing and comfort that you crave!