10 Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress and to Relax

Throughout the day stress really builds up and we desperately need ways to relax and reduce this feeling. There are numerous tips on how to relax on the web and it is difficult to decide what helps the most. We gathered some of the most efficient ways to lower your stress and ranked them from 1 to 10. The key to relaxation is the reversal of the stress response and turning on the so called "relaxation response". We roughly arranged activities by their strength in terms of bringing about a relaxation response.

1. Practice a relaxation technique, meditate or do yoga

Relaxation Exercises

The natural and the most powerful way to relax or reduce stress is to practice some sort of relaxation technique or to meditate. They all have in common the shift from a stress to a relaxation response. However, they need some time and guidance to master at the beginning, but it is worth the effort since they also hold many positive effects of relaxation, which are desired by all of us. Who does not want to be a calm, positive and happy person?

2. Regular exercise

It must be emphasized that the regularity holds the key to success when it comes to exercising. The first few jogging days may actually be exhausting if you overexert yourself. However, in the long run exercise is actually an incredibly beneficial activity, which holds endless positive effects on your general health as well as on your ability to handle daily stress.

By exercising you are burning all the stress gathered throughout the day and also getting in shape. Your blood circulates and many physiological changes occur during the exercise. In short you will live an easier, longer and fuller life.

Some tips how to start (jogging):

a. Do not rush into regular exercise, not only can you lose motivation, but your cardiovascular system and the rest of your body has to adjust to the higher demands of effort and energy consumption.

b. Adjust you exercises to your weight and physical condition. If you are overweight and have not exercised in years, go to your GP to have a general check up first. He might give you a program for exercising adjusted to your needs.

c. Start by walking for half an hour every second day. And after a week start walking for 45 minutes every second day. After four weeks jog slightly during your walk.

d. Listen to your body, it is not only the heart that must adjust to exercise, but muscles, joints and bones also have to strengthen and adapt to the changes.

e. Eat a balanced diet, so your body receives enough energy and material to recuperate after extra energy consumption. Consume proteins and complex carbohydrates after you exercise. Also make sure you receive enough vitamins and minerals, which your body needs after exerting extra effort. Drink plenty of water. Reduce fat and instead try fish or flaxseed oil, which hold omega fatty acids that burn fat and build your nerve cells.

f. After you start exercising regularly write down your data and keep track of your progress. Do not overdo your effort at the beginning. Remember, you have many days still to come and will have all the opportunity you need to exercise.

3. Drink enough water

Glass Of Water Ways To Relax

This is actually not an activity, but dietary advice to lower your stress levels throughout the day with a noticeable effect. Drinking enough water means you drink it all the time the whole day. Have a glass bottle besides you throughout the day, and if you get thirsty you are already dehydrated. If you drink coffee or tea, you must compensate the water you lose because of caffeine intake. An extra two glasses of water for every cup should do the trick. This is the easiest way to lower your stress levels, which is why we put it on the third place.

4. Take a power nap

Taking a nap that lasts from 15-30 minutes does not start a deep sleep cycle and revitalizes a person, boosts cognitive functions and relaxes us. Some take more than one nap a day and keep their energy levels up by doing so. The problem is some cannot relax enough to fall asleep. You should avoid coffee three hours before taking a nap or practice a relaxation technique to fall asleep. This is a great way to gain energy and lower stress if you are sleep deprived.

5. Get a massage

Some forms of massage are proven to reduce stress and feelings of anxiety, they can help with depression, lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate, which is basically what the parasympathetic nervous system does. This means it lowers our stress levels, restores our body's functions and brightens our mood. We only list massages after power naps, because they tend to require a more effort.

6. Spend time with your pet (go outside, go for a walk)

Pets love us no matter what we do in our lives. When we arrive at the doorstep they are thrilled to see us. They are good stress relievers; we are happy to see them, we can pet them and we can take them for a walk. Going outside for some fresh air in a park can be really relaxing and the blood flow gets going when you walk, your pets will be also happy. Maybe you can sit in a park, read a book and play with your animals or just get some sunlight.

7. Take a warm bath

Warm Bath To Relax

We seldom have time for ourselves and taking a warm bath is a relaxing time just for us. There is something about these warm baths and it is similar to visiting a sauna. However those with a bad heart or coronary problems should know that exposure to too much heat is dangerous for people with these conditions.

8. Watch a comedy, sitcom or laugh with your friends

Laughter has also been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. When we laugh the brain releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also boosts the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system.
Watch a comedy instead of a horror or action movie. Find a favorite sitcom and enjoy doing nothing. Go out with your friends and change your environment, but do choose a friend that makes you laugh or feel accepted. Try avoiding relationships that drain your energy.

9. Tidy up your room and make a to do list, write a diary

Having a feeling of neatness in your apartment or in your head is very important. We have many things to worry about and putting them down on paper and organizing them by priority gives us perspective, concrete deadlines, and relieves our tension knowing we do not have to do things all at once.
Writing a diary is offloading. Write what bothers you; spill it all out on the paper. You can really release your feelings, write with no boundaries, and swear if you like, do not worry about handwriting. You can burn the paper afterwards to symbolize the nature of offloading. You will feel released and you will be able to put things behind you.

10. Read a good book

This is for all you book lovers. For some reading is relaxing and you should definitely read if this is the case. Take time and choose a book you have always wanted to read. Curl up under a blanket and drink some mint herbal tea to relax you further.