10 Ways to Reduce Stress Naturally That Work!
You don’t have to accept being stressed as a normal part of your life!
Stress in your life can cause many difficulties including feelings of being stuck and not being able to get the things that matter to you done. Here are 10 tried and true ways to reduce stress naturally that can help you feel better fast.
Being stressed is linked to anxiety, sleep problems, weight gain, lack of motivation, pain, and other issues. While it may feel impossible to not be stressed, it is possible and I want to give you some hope and relief.
If you are feeling really stressed, you may think you don’t have the time to do any of these stress-reducing activities.
That my friend, is exactly why you have to create the time to do this. Taking care of yourself is NOT optional anymore.
Feeling stressed can eat up time, cause health problems, and reduce the quality of your life. It can create health and relationship problems.
Here at My Think Big Life and as a certified Life Coach, I am committed to helping you create a life you love.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to reduce stress.
Why We Feel Stressed in the First Place?
As I said, life comes with plenty of stressful events. Things and people happen. We can’t control everything around us–even though we often wish we could!
But the majority of the stress we feel, we create ourselves with our thoughts. Yes, you my friend are creating most of your own stress.
“But Sara, I have a stressful job, my mom is driving me crazy, the kids won’t listen, my husband is doing something, etc…”
Yes, I know you believe that it is some combination of people and things that are causing you to be stressed. Just trust me on this one. You have so much more power over your level of stress than you currently believe.
As a life coach, I work with clients to permanently reduce their feelings of stress in their lives. This works because we uncover the thoughts and beliefs that are creating the feeing of stress.
For this post though, I’m sharing things you can do yourself to get some breathing room.
The Benefits of Reducing Stress
Stress wastes time!
I’ve always known, that the more stressed and hurried I am, the less efficient I am. I
t also seems like when I’m worried and feeling pressured—that’s when things seem to fall apart and get even worse!
Over the years, I’ve learned, that no matter what is looming, I need to attempt to stay calm, on pace, and take breaks when I’ve reached my limit.
When you have a calm mind, you can actually get more done in less time. I’ve found that when we’re hurried, stressed, and disorganized, then time does become our enemy.
Things get lost. People don’t cooperate with us. It takes longer to complete projects. We don’t come up with our best ideas.
Stress can cause physical problems
Our bodies can handle stress and our lives are not meant to be totally stress-free. However, when we have too much stress in our bodies it can create problems in our health.
Chronic stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, addictions, and mood disorders.
Feeling stressed a lot of the time is not good for you over time!
These are the ways I have consistently used over the years to manage stress and live my life more fully.
The first five are the Calming Practices. The second five are the Mind-Clearing Practices.
The Calming Practices
When I am overwhelmed and feeling stressed, I try to give myself some breathing room. These calming activities can help you manage your feelings and reduce your stress naturally.
During the most stressful time of my life, the two years after my divorce, I walked almost every day. When I think of my life, I often remember the places I walked.
I became a daily walker when I was pregnant with my first child, 37 years ago. One of my first viral posts on the blog was about walking. I love to walk!
More importantly, walking is a gentle way to handle stress and process emotions.
If you have a safe place to walk outside, that is the best. Fresh air and sunshine make a walk even better.
Sometimes I listen to music or a podcast and somethings I just like to be with my thoughts while I walk.
Any amount of time is great but I find 30 to 60 minutes to be most helpful. If you aren’t used to walking, start with 10 minutes and work your way up. You don’t have to go fast either. Pick a pace that is comfortable for you!
Schedule the Stressful Things
If you’ve got things you’ve been putting off; then it’s time to get those things scheduled! Putting off things we think are going to be stressful creates even more stress.
Make that dental appointment, plan a time to have that conversation, call the mechanic or repair person.
I often feel stressed about these types of actions but then I find that as I avoid them, I am just creating more stress for myself.
Taking some time to get centered and connect to your inner self is essential. Ten to twenty minutes seems to be the right amount of time for me. If you have or need more time, go for it. Meditating, sitting still, or praying are all ways to do this.
I really like guided meditations. There are a lot of quality meditation Apps you can get for your phone. The all offer a free trial period that you can cancel. When I was testing them, I would sign up for the free trial, then cancel so I didn’t get billed later if I didn’t want to keep the paid version after my trial period.
Some of the ones I tried were: Calm, Breethe, and Headspace. I noticed that when I meditated during the day, I slept better at night.
You can also simply set aside 10 to 20 minutes and create your own meditation practice.
Meditating sounds more complicated or difficult than it is. There are several ways to do it. You can sit upright in a comfortable chair and set a timer.
Start at five minutes and add a minute a day until you are meditation for 10 to 20 minutes.
I rest my hands on my lap and close my eyes. Then I breathe. Behind my closed lids, I focus my eyes on the space between them. I keep my attention on my breath. That’s it. When I catch my mind wandering, I bring it back to my breath. I continue until the timer goes off.
You may think of journaling as a way of recording what’s happening in your life. Is is a little bit like that but you are also processing thoughts and feelings. Research shows over and over how beneficial journaling is.
One of the most famous journal keepers is Oprah Winfrey.
I’ve read that keeping a journal can help with painful emotions even better than talking to a friend. If you’ve never tried keeping a journal or you’ve gotten away from it, you might consider picking up your pen and notebook again.
Journaling is thought to not only be beneficial to your emotional health but to your physical health as well. When you open a space where things that stress you or upset you can be brought to the surface, you allow healing to begin. The calming affect on your mental health has the effect of reducing the stress on your physical health.
Writing in your journal can help you clarify thoughts and feelings. You gain a deeper understanding about yourself. It can help you resolve differences with others. As much as I love to write about how mad I am or disappointed in someone, once I write through that, I am able to look at my own behavior and process that in a positive way.
I usually do my journal writing first thing in the morning while I’m having my coffee. I can honestly say, that I look forward to it and really enjoy this time with myself! Sometimes I’ll do a shorter session later in the day to help me wind down.
I try not to censor myself. It’s not always pretty what comes out. No matter what I’m writing about or how bad I feel; I always feel better after writing. Sometimes I get some very profound insights.
Sometimes I get a new idea. And sometimes, I just write and it seems to go nowhere. It’s all good in the journaling world. I trust that I’ll write and delve into what I need to on that day.
I also use my journal time to self-coach. I’ll go into something deeper and identify the thoughts that are causing the stress and get clarity on that.
Emotional Freedom Technique EFT Tapping
Tapping is a daily activity for me. If you aren’t familiar with it, then let me share my experiences.
I first discovered EFT almost seven years ago after my divorce. Like walking, I used tapping to reduce stress and process all my emotions.
EFT is a process where you say words and you use your fingers to tap on different parts of your body. There are books about it and you can create your own tapping scripts.
However, I love guiding tapping. Right now, I have a paid app called The Tapping Solution. I use it every day. There is a free version you can try. There is one guided tapping called, “You are enough” that is life-changing if you do it every day for a week or so.
Another quality tapping guide is Brad Yates who has hundreds of videos on YouTube. This is a quick way to try out tapping on many different subjects.
The Mind-Clearing Practices
These are things that sap and zap your energy, creativity, motivation, and time. If you find yourself spinning and not getting things done the way you’d like to, then look at these five areas and see if one of them might be the problem.
Clearing these time wasters can be so effective. Sometimes it only takes a few hours to clear one out or just a change of attitude. I encourage you, even if you are a little skeptical to give it a try.
Clean up Unmade Decisions
Sometimes, we don’t know the exact right thing to do and we get stuck in our mind, going back and forth between our options.
Our brains love to try to solve things. But sometimes we get caught in a unmade decision spiral. We go back and forth about something.
While it might seem like you are doing something useful, it isn’t. It’s a trick! Your brain feels safer NOT making a decision. But it has to do something, right? So, it spends hours and hours creating stress around that decision you aren’t making.
There are actual neurological reasons that making a decision helps you get back on track. Making and committing to a decision ends the struggle in your brain.
Here’s what is important right now. You don’t have to make the perfect decision. Make the best decision you can with the information you have right now.
Do it. Tell someone. Take an action on it. And then feel your brain give a big “Ahhhhh” of relief. You can always go back and change it if you get some new information.
We all have these things. There’s something we need to do and we aren’t getting it done. Some examples are doing your taxes, cleaning the garage, planting a garden, writing a new resume, or putting some furniture together.
Uncompleted things take up mental energy and create stress. Our brains love to remind us about our undone things but then also tell us that we don’t have the time or energy to do it.
It’s a never-ending cycle until you get proactive and complete those things.
List them out. Pick one and do it. Rinse and repeat.
This can also be smaller things such as someone you need to reach out to, a card you need to send, a return need to make, or a bill your need to pay you. Scan your mental or written to-do list and find some things that you can take care of.
Let go of grudges
Grudges and being mad mess with the brain big time. I’m not saying it’s easy to forgive. Yet, it is essential. This doesn’t mean you totally forget either.
Even if you think you can’t forgive someone, go ahead and say the words. Start making the effort to forgive. It’s more of a change of attitude than any concrete action. Forgiveness is something that goes on in your head. The other person may not even be aware of it. They don’t need to be aware of it.
I will write down any situations or people that I want to forgive and say a short forgiving statement.
I forgive you
I love you
Tapping/EFT is another way to process forgiveness. Either of the above resources can give you a guided tapping session on forgiveness.
I’ve written extensively about the process of forgiveness. Forgiving is THAT important to you quality of life. Remember, you don’t forgive to help the other person; you forgive to help yourself.
Holding onto hurts and grudges is not good for us! This truly is one of the most important things you can do to improve the quality of your life in all ways.
Here’s a forgiveness worksheet that can help too.
Download your Forgiveness Worksheet
This is similar to forgiveness but it’s about forgiving ourselves for something we did. Maybe you messed something up or you forgot to do something. Maybe you said something to or did something to someone and now you regret it.
If you need to make amends—make amends. If you need to fix something—try to fix it. If it’s done and there’s nothing you can do—let it go. Sometimes you have to just learn the lesson and move on.
I heard a great quote by Brene Brown. “Regret is a fair, but tough teacher.”
While feeling regret might be normal, it does not feel good. However, life doesn’t come with a rewind button and eventually you really have to try to move on from it.
If that seems impossible, consider hiring a life coach to help you process regrets. Our brains love to beat ourselves up and judge what we’ve done.
What our brains don’t like to do is give ourselves a break and some compassion. Yet to reduce stress we really have to let up on how hard we are on ourselves.
Clean up Clutter
I’m a big fan of keeping your home and work space clean and organized. It’s so easy to let clutter build up even when you are fairly vigilant
Don’t worry about getting it all at once. You may have many areas of clutter or just a couple.
Cleaning out one out can be helpful. Pick a drawer, shelf, or table top and remove everything. Only put back what belongs there. Find a place for the rest or get rid of it.
Go through that old mail. Clean out the junk drawer. Sort your underwear. It doesn’t matter what you pick, go to the one that comes to mind, and do it.
Do one small area a day for a week or so and you will feel better. Sometimes when I’m really feeling the stress, I’ll organize my socks, or spices, or paperwork.
Clearing clutter and putting your environment in order also benefits your mind.
How to Find Time to Decrease Stress Naturally
Stress can be debilitating and it is not good for you to walk around feeling stressed so much of the time. Your mental health is important. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish or a luxery. It should be at the top of your list of things to do.
I know, you don’t have time for more things.
I know, you don’t have time to take care of yourself.
I know, you don’t have time to relax or any of these other things.
You, my friend, don’t have time to NOT do them. If you don’t have 20 or 30 minutes to take care of yourself, then we need to talk and talk soon.
I offer free coaching consults to hear what your problem is, give you my process to solve for your problem, and to show you what you after would look like.
In the meantime, you can use any of the above tips to give yourself some breathing room.
Keep showing up my friends,
Ready to find out more?
Schedule a free consultation today.
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Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.
So much good advice here! I feel like my mind is less cluttered when I make a To Do list. It is always so helpful. And I de-cluttering my apartment always make me feel less stressed and on top of things. One thing I would like to start back up is journaling! My blog has kind of taken the place of that I guess, but sometimes I miss putting pen to paper. 🙂
Thanks Paula! I know what you mean, the more I write for the blog, the less I’ve been writing in my journal. I’m attempting to do NO technology near bedtime these days and I’m going to do the hand-written journal then instead of AM.
This was such a lovely read!
I couldn’t agree more to each of your points.
Taking out time for ourselves and letting go of everything that triggers some negative feelings are the best steps to carry out a make time for things that matter <3