ost people can attest to the fact that stress is not a fun thing to have present in their life, whether it is momentary or ongoing. It can be caused by a wide variety of situations and circumstances including school, work, friends, family, emotional problems, moving house, and traumatic events.

Stress can negatively affect almost every system in the human body, and can manifest itself both internally and externally. It can lead to anxiety, sleep disorders, skin irritation, can affect the immune system, and have many more negative affects on your body [stress.org]. Additionally, when you are stressed, you aren’t the only person who suffers. Have you ever found yourself becoming more irritable than normal and lashing out at others when under stress? This can put strain on relationships, and cause others to become stressed themselves.

Below are some simple ways to reduce or alleviate stress when you find yourself getting agitated.

#1 Aromatherapy

Certain essential oils can aid in reducing stress. Rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, and lemon are all good choices. Candles, body care products including shampoo, moisturizer, lotions, and soap containing the aforementioned essential oils are some of the best ways to benefit from their calming and de-stressing effects. Another option is to use an aromatherapy diffuser, which mixes the essential oils of your choice with water, and disperses them into the air, creating a calming and humidifying vapor.

#2 Have a Relaxing Bath

Take some time for yourself, and have a relaxing bath. Burn some scented candles for aromatherapy and let the stress melt away.

#3 Exercise More Regularly

Almost every form of exercise can reduce stress, whether it be walking, yoga, or weight training. When you exercise endorphins are released into the body, which in turn act as natural painkillers and elevate your mood. Additionally, exercise can make you tired and so improving your ability to sleep.

#4 Bake a Sweet Treat

Get in your kitchen and bake some goodies for yourself and/or your loved ones. Some individuals (including myself) find that baking is a good stress reliever, because you are in control, and it can aid in taking your mind off of whatever is stressing you out. The resulting sweet treat can also aid in relieving stress, especially if you incorporate dark chocolate into the mix, which studies have shown can aid in reducing stress.

#5 Listen to Music

When you are getting ready in the morning, commuting, cleaning, or working out, turning on your favorite music can aid in relieving stress. Just be sure not to listen to any “aggressive” music since music can affect your mood, listening to “aggressive” music might not be the best choice.

#6 Go Outside

According to studies, spending time in nature can improve memory and attention span, and apparently the scent of freshly cut grass has a calming effect [dailymail.co.uk]. Additionally, sunshine can be a mood enhancer and aid in natural production of vitamin D in the body. Whether you live in the country or a city, find a park, forest, or trail nearby and take a stroll, meet a friend, read a book, or just sit and relax for a while.

#7 Buy a Plant

Being outside and surrounded by nature can relieve stress. Likewise being in a room with a plant or two can have a similar effect. Studies have shown that having plants present in your home and/or workspace can aid in reducing stress, increase productivity, and improve air quality [uvm.edu].

#8 Get Adequate Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can be one of the causes of stress, and according to a survey done in 2013, people know it. In addition to experiencing higher levels of stress when you don’t get enough sleep, tiredness can lead to anxiety and depression.

#9 Keep A Stress Journal

Instead of bottling up your thoughts and feelings, put them onto paper as it can be a good outlet. You can start writing a stress journal, which involves writing an entry each time you feel stressed out, how you felt and responded, and how you coped with the stress. After doing so for a period of time, read the past entries to attempt to uncover the root or cause, and/or see how you coped with the stress, and if there’s a better way to do so.

#10 Just Breathe

Deep breathing exercises can aid in lowering blood pressure, help with relaxation, and relieve stress. Here are 6 deep breathing exercises you can use to help you relax.

#11 Have a Good Laugh

Invite your best friend out for coffee, and just talk. Laughter can decrease the presence of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in your body [nature.com]. Alternatively, you could also host a movie night. Invite friends over, make some popcorn, and watch your favorite comedy!

#12 Clean and Declutter

Clutter can play a part in creating a stressful environment. So take some time out of your day to make an effort to clean up clutter, whether in your kitchen, office, bedroom, or other area.

#13 Don’t Procrastinate

Benjamin Franklin knew what he was talking about when he said “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Procrastination can lead to unnecessary anxiety, which is caused by the pressure of leaving things to the last-minute, and the eventual worry that things won’t get done, or done well.

Next time you feel agitated or find yourself in a stressful situation, try one of the above ways to reduce or relieve your stress. A life with less stress is a healthier life.

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