How Do You Relieve Stress and Anxiety?

Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2021
how to relieve stress
Here are thirty tips for relieving stress, including deep breathing exercises, relaxation strategies, blood pressure management and mental health stress responses.

Feelings of stress and anxiety can be unpleasant, even affecting your mental and physical health. These feelings can result in distress, which makes them extremely challenging to deal with.

Fortunately, here are some easy strategies and tips that you can follow to relieve stress, relax and calm down immediately and ease anxiety, which can ultimately improve your mental health.

30 Tips for Reducing Stress

  • Go for a short walk
    • Exercise can be a great stress reliever because it helps reduce stress and releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones). 
    • Going for a walk creates a diversion from worries and provides new perspectives.
  • Use visualization techniques
    • Visualization and guided imagination can restore peace of mind, which can relax a person both mentally and physically.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
    • This is a technique where all the muscle groups are tensed and then relaxed, making the body feel calmer.
    • PMR can help a person handle anxiety and manage stress better.
  • Aromatherapy
    • Sniffing relaxing fragrances is another easy tool that can be used quickly. 
    • Lighting a candle or diffuser with a calming essential oil, such as lavender, decreases anxiety and stress levels.
  • Hydrate
    • Not drinking enough water can cause heart palpitations and make anxiety symptoms worse, so drinking a large glass of water will relieve stress.
  • Breathe deeply
    • Focusing on breathing exercises is one of the most effective ways to slow a fast heart rate and feel calmer right away.
    • Slow, deep breathing techniques lead to feelings of comfort and relaxation and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Use logic to challenge fears
    • Intense feelings of anxiety and stress often stem from irrational thoughts and our deepest fears. Thinking more positively and using logic to challenge these fears can reduce anxiety.
  • Move the body
    • Anything that gets one moving, such as washing the car, gardening or playing a game, removes negative thoughts and encourages the body to release endorphins that boost mood and make one feel good.
  • Chew gum
    • Chewing gum helps reduce stress, improves mood and reduces anxiety.
  • Take a bath
    • People who bathe in hot water have better emotional and mental health.
    • Warm water eases sore and aching muscles, which can help relieve anxiety and feel calm.
  • Go outdoors
    • Getting some sun can increase the release of serotonin in the brain, which improves mood and relaxes the mind.
    • Being surrounded by nature is calming even on a cloudy day.
  • Write it down
    • Writing about anxious and worried thoughts can make one feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
    • Journal writing helps healthily process emotions and confront fears, reducing feelings of anxiety.
  • Sit up straight
    • Sitting up straight can boost confidence, improve energy levels, help relieve anxiety and calm down.
  • Listen to music
    • Listening to music helps control anxiety and stress levels, even in tough situations.
    • Calming music or soothing sounds keep cortisol levels down and relaxes the mind, giving instant stress relief.
  • Be thankful
    • Being grateful can help you feel less anxious and depressed almost immediately. 
    • Writing down a list of things that you are thankful for helps focus on the positive aspects of life, thus reducing anxiety.
  • Close your eyes
    • Closing your eyes and focusing on relaxing facial muscles can eliminate anxiety and bring one back to a state of calm.
  • Play with a pet
    • Playing with a pet can lead to a significant reduction in the stress hormone, cortisol, which improves one’s mood and reduces anxiety.
  • Watch something funny
    • Laughter is the best medicine that can relieve anxiety and boost positive feelings. 
    • Watching a clip of a favorite comedian or blooper reel will help you stop feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
  • Focus on a mantra
    • Silently repeating a mantra or self-assertive phrase quietens the brain and helps one calm down.
  • Meditate
    • Meditation can significantly lower levels of anxiety and stress, as well as release positive endorphins.
  • Sip herbal tea
    • Chamomile or green tea decreases anxiety symptoms and depression. In fact, brewing a cup of tea provides a much-needed break to step away from stress.
  • Distract yourself
    • Redirect attention away from distressing thoughts or emotions, such as shifting attention to any activity that will interrupt your racing thoughts.
  • Avoid alcohol
    • Alcohol impacts the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, making anxiety symptoms worse.
    • A person may feel more anxious after the effects of alcohol wear off.
  • Avoid caffeine
    • Caffeine is an anxiety inducer that releases stress hormones.
    • Coffee, chocolate and some pain medications contain caffeine. When you’re experiencing anxiety, caffeine intake should be reduced. 
  • Eat something healthy
    • Low blood sugar can make one feel nervous, irritable and anxious. Have a healthy snack, such as fruit, oatmeal or nuts.
  • Relieve high blood pressure
  • Practice yoga
    • Practicing yoga decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety since it reduces levels of cytokines, which are released during stress in blood.
  • Accept anxiety
    • Accepting anxiety instead of feeling ashamed or frustrated will help feel less anxious.
  • Stretch to release tension
    • This is extremely effective at relieving tension in different parts of the body, as well as releasing positive endorphins.
  • Talk to someone understanding or seek therapy
    • If feeling overwhelmed makes it too hard to function, talking to an understanding friend or therapist can help you relieve anxiety.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2021
National Institutes of Health. Anxiety Disorders.

Medline Plus. Anxiety.

ADAA. Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress.

Delzell E. How to Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now. WebMD.