15 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress


With everything going on in the world today, and having to wear multiple hats -- it is no wonder that millions of people in the United States experience some form of stress and anxiety on a daily basis.

From work to home, health to financial obligations and everything else in between that you see and hear on the news or on the streets - the levels of stress are easily heightened which can affect our daily lives.

This is not to mention the additional factors that can also contribute to your stress levels; such as genetics, your level of social support, coping mechanisms, and personality traits that can influence how your body will react to stress.

Plus, research shows that parents, people in professions such as healthcare and social work, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to have higher stress levels (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

It is no secret that stress is a number one silent killer, increasing your risk for heart disease, anxiety disorders and depression - so it is very important that we all make the time to take care of ourselves to  minimize our stress levels for our overall health.

Here are 15 evidence-based ways to relieve stress.


1. Let's get Physical!

It is no secret that increasing your physical activity has many health benefits to it.  Regular exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of common mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety as well as it improves your overall mood and increases the amount of uninterrupted sleep each night.  (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source). (13Trusted Source, 14).

Even if you do just 10 minutes a day, you will begin to notice your overall health starting to improve.

A 6-week study in 185 university students found that participating in aerobic exercise 2 days per week significantly reduced overall perceived stress and perceived stress due to uncertainty. Plus, the exercise routine significantly improved self-reported depression (12Trusted Source).

 Start small with short walks around the block or going for a bicycle ride.  If you chose an activity that you enjoy, you have a better chance of sticking to it long term.

 2. Healthy Eats!

You will be surprised how much your diet affects every aspect of your health, including your mental health.  Increased stress levels tend to increase your food intake which may cause you to over eat and increase weight which will affect your health and mood.

Studies show that people who follow a diet high in ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to experience higher perceived stress levels (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).


Plus, not eating enough nutrient-dense whole foods may increase your risk of deficiencies in nutrients that are essential for regulating stress and mood, such as magnesium and B vitamins (20Trusted Source).

Minimizing your intake of highly processed foods and beverages and eating more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, and seeds can help ensure that your body is properly nourished. In turn, this may improve your resilience to stress.


3. Minimize Phone Use & Screen Time! 

We can't seem to live without our smartphones, computers, and tablets  as they are an unavoidable part of everyday life for many people.

While these devices are often necessary and can  be most useful, using them too often may increase stress levels and negatively affect your sleep.

A number of studies have linked excessive smartphone use and “iPhone addiction” with increased levels of stress and mental health disorders (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

Spending too much time in front of screens in general is associated with lower psychological well-being and increased stress levels in both adults and kids (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source


4. Consider supplements

When your body experiences deficiencies in one or more nutrients, your body can slow down, which can also affect your mood, mental health and your ability to cope with stress.

For example, when you’re chronically stressed, your magnesium levels may become depleted.

Since certain minerals play an important role in your body’s stress response, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough each day. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve stress in chronically stressed people (20Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).

An 8-week study in 264 people with low magnesium found that taking 300 mg of this mineral daily helped reduce stress levels. Combining this dose of magnesium with vitamin B6 was even more effective (30Trusted Source).

Other supplements, including rhodiola, ashwagandha, B vitamins, and L-theanine, have been shown to help reduce stress as well (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).

If you think your body is lacking in supplements, contact your physician to see how you can boost your energy and reduce your stress.


5. Practice self-care

Setting aside time to practice self-care may help reduce your stress levels. Practical examples include:

  • Walk outside
  • Take a bath
  • Lighting some candles
  • Read a good book
  • Exercising
  • Healthy meal prep
  • Stretching before bed
  • Massages
  • Practice a hobby
  • Use a diffuser with calming scents
  • Practice yoga

Studies show that people who engage in self-care report lower levels of stress and improved quality of life, while a lack of self-care is associated with higher risk of stress and burnout (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).

Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. It simply means tending to your well-being and happiness.

Aromatherapy - Exposure to certain scents via candles or essential oils may be especially calming. Here are a few relaxing scents:

  • lavender
  • rose
  • vetiver
  • bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • neroli
  • frankincense
  • sandalwood
  • ylang-ylang
  • orange or orange blossom
  • geranium

6. Reduce your caffeine intake

You would be surprised how much Caffeine can affect your mind and your body.  Caffeine is a chemical found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks that stimulates your central nervous system which, if taken in large amounts, can lead to feelings of anxiety and contribute to increased stress and lack of sleep .

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back by replacing coffee or energy drinks with decaffeinated herbal tea or water.

Although many studies show that coffee is healthy in moderation, it’s recommended to keep caffeine intake under 400 mg per day, which equals 4–5 cups (0.9–1.2 L) of coffee (43Trusted Source).

7. Spend time with friends and family

Social support from friends and family is very important and can greatly reduce one's stress levels. 

A study that in 163 ​​Latinx young adults in college associated lower levels of support from friends, family, and romantic partners with loneliness, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress (44Trusted Source).

Having a social support system is important for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling alone and don’t have friends or family to depend on, social support groups may help. Consider joining a club or sports team or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you.


8. Create boundaries and learn to say no

Setting healthy boundaries is another way to help reduce stress.  Not all stressors are within your control, but some are, and one way you can control it is by saying "no" to avoid putting too much on your plate which may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care.

Taking control over your personal life not only helps to reduce stress but it also protects your mental health.

This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, because juggling many responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.

Plus, creating boundaries — especially with people who add to your stress levels — is a healthy way to protect your well-being. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member not to stop by unannounced or canceling standing plans with a friend who tends to create drama.

9. Learn to avoid procrastination

Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating.

Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality (45, 46Trusted Source).

A study in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection (46Trusted Source).

If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.

Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.


If you find yourself regularly procrastinating, staying on top of your to-do list may help ward off related stress.

10. Take a yoga class

Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.

While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind by increasing body and breath awareness.

Several studies show that yoga helps reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, it can promote psychological well-being (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source).

These benefits seem to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response. 

Yoga may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate while increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that’s low in people with mood disorders (49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).


Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.


11. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.

Stress reduction techniques that utilize mindfulness include meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (51Trusted Source).

Meditating on a consistent basis, even for short periods, may help boost your mood and decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety (52Trusted Source).

If you’d like to try out meditation, countless books, apps, and websites can teach you the basics. There may also be therapists in your area who specialize in MBCT.

12. Cuddle

Human touch may have a calming effect and help you better cope with stress (53Trusted Source).

For example, studies show that positive physical contact and sex may help relieve stress and loneliness (54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source).

These types of contact may help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. In turn, these effects help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Both high blood pressure and increased heart rate are physical symptoms of stress (56Trusted Source).

Interestingly, humans aren’t the only animals that cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends that are stressed (57).

13. Spend time in nature

Spending more time outside may help reduce stress.

Studies show that spending time in green spaces such as parks and forests and being immersed in nature are healthy ways to manage stress (58Trusted Source, 59Trusted Source).

A review of 14 studies found that spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting may help improve psychological and physiological markers of mental well-being, including perceived stress and happiness, in college-aged people (59Trusted Source).

Hiking and camping are great options, but some people don’t enjoy — or have access to — these activities. Even if you live in an urban area, you can seek out green spaces such as local parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens.

14. Practice deep breathing

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode.

During this reaction, stress hormones trigger physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, and constricted blood vessels. 

Deep breathing exercises may help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response (60Trusted Source, 61Trusted Source).

Deep breathing exercises include diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel at peace.

15. Spend time with your pet

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.

When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body releases oxytocin — a hormone that’s linked to positive mood (62Trusted Source). 

Plus, studies show that pet owners — especially those who have dogs — tend to have greater life satisfaction, better self-esteem, reduced levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods (63Trusted Source).

Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.

Posted by Talbot Sutter on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.