20 Habits to Alleviate Stress Before It Starts

20 Habits to Alleviate Stress Before It Starts

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How many times in a day do you feel stressed out? It’s a common problem with no end in sight, but there are ways to alleviate stress and stop these overwhelming sensations before they start.

This problem is prevalent in our society. Indeed, the American Institute of Stress found that 83 percent of workers in this country suffer from daily stress, and nearly eight percent feel that their stress levels are paralyzing.

20 Ways to Alleviate Stress Before It Becomes an Issue

Not all stress is bad. It’s part of your body’s natural defense system to keep you on your toes. However, when this system kicks into overdrive, it can cause some real issues. By using a few habits and modifying your behavior a bit, you can learn to control these feelings of angst before they even start.

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1. Get Sufficient Rest

Nothing good happens when you’re running on empty. If you don’t get sufficient rest, then you’re going to feel horrible the next day. Thankfully, you can spare yourself the pain by simply making sure you get enough rest at night.

2. Meditate

Meditation is one of your best defenses against stress. When you feel your nerves start to get twisted, you need to go to your happy place using this ancient art. You can use guided methods or do it yourself.

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3. Listen to Music

Have you ever heard the saying that music calms the savage beast? Well, turning on some good tunes while you work can be beneficial, especially if you want to alleviate stress. According to the National Institute of Health, music is such a powerful motivator that it’s been used to help Alzheimer’s patients.

4. Chew Gum

Chewing gum while you work may be another way to keep your stress levels down. Studies reported by the National Institute of Health show that this common activity lowers cortisol levels inside your body. Just make sure it’s sugar-free, so you don’t have premature tooth decay from all the sugar.

5. Do Yoga

Yoga teaches you to breathe and relax muscle groups within the body. It’s an excellent way to get rid of stress and to keep your stress hormones in check. There are many variations, so you can use a modified version that’s best for you.

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6. Get Organized

Believe it or not, you could be causing your angst and tension by not having a tidy space. You get more done and feel better when you’re organized, so taking time to make sure everything has a place and everything is in its place can help.

7. Create a Zen Space

Is there something tranquil about painting the walls blue and burning candles in the background? Yes, by incorporating elements of nature, such as earth, wind, fire, and water, your workspace can set the mood for productivity and calm. If you feel stressed, then try burning some candles or using some lavender essential oils in your space.

8. Take a Spoonful of Honey

Did you know that honey can fight depression and anxiety? While you probably know that it’s excellent as a natural antibiotic, it’s also quite powerful at reducing inflammation in the brain, which helps your overall mental well-being. According to the National Institute of Health, Tualang honey is the best variety for this use.

9. Squeeze a Stress Ball

If you feel frazzled, as if your nerves are about to explode, then try using a stress ball. These are small enough to carry with you in the courtroom or the board room. Whenever you start to feel anxiety rearing its ugly head, give the ball a firm squeeze.

10. Indulge in Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has long been touted as being good for you due to the antioxidants it contains. However, have you ever considered that it might be good to alleviate stress too? Eating about two ounces of this sweet treat can help regulate the stress hormones known as cortisol, making you feel angst.

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Read how chocolate and coffee might increase cognition.

11. Exercise

There is no better way to get your stress under control than to exercise. You don’t need to break a sweat and work for hours to get beneficial results either. If you’re at the office and feel your stress levels increase, then take a walk around the building. Just get your heart pumping to increase those feel-good hormones in the brain.

12. Engage in Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation is a rhythmic activity that teaches you to focus on specific muscle groups. For instance, if you get neck problems when your stress levels are high, then you can work on this area. You start by squeezing the neck muscles as tight as you can and holding them for a few seconds.

The key is to squeeze the muscles tight and release them, then repeat until you feel relief. Did you know this is also an excellent way to help you calm down enough to fall asleep? The next time insomnia is an issue, try this method to see if it helps.

13. Get Outside in The Sunshine

Perhaps one of the most incredible remedies for what ails you is being outside in the sunshine. How can anyone be in a bad mood or feel stressed out when the golden rays penetrate your body? Sit outside for about 20 minutes and bask in the greatness of Mother Nature.

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If you need to feel grounded and reconnect with the Universe, you should take off your shoes and feel the earth between your toes. Do you have a lake, stream, or pond near you? Water is also known as very calming, and you can find that sitting beside moving water can help relax your body and mind.

14. Try Pranayama Breathing

It might sound very New Age, but the medical community studied this breathing practice. They approve!

If you’ve always wanted to try acupuncture but are too scared of the needles, then you might find you like pranayama breathing better. Rather than using both nostrils, you only use one to inhale deep breaths and exhale through the mouth. This technique is often used during yoga to help find your center and be grounded. It’s also very beneficial at helping you to alleviate stress.

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15. Drip Cold Water on Your Wrists

You already know that water is a significant earth element that is known to help calm you. However, did you know that splashing some cool water on your wrists and behind your neck can help to alleviate stress? The key is to hit these two areas because there are arteries located here.

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When you put cool water in this location, it helps to bring a full-body calm to you. If you’re brave enough, you could try ice too. You’ll see, many people do this when they’ve been working outside and are overheated.

16. Turn Off the Electronics

You need electronics for work, but you don’t need them every minute of the day. Designate specific times to check your email, voicemail, and text messages. Think of all the time you’re wasting when you’re constantly checking your phone or inbox?

When you seem like you don’t have enough hours in the day, it can cause stress. You can gain more time if you stop wasting it on social media and other frivolous online activities.

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17. Close Your Eyes

There will be times when your stress is rising, and there’s nothing you can do as you’re trapped. Perhaps you’re in a big meeting, and you can’t leave. The next best thing is to close your eyes and make the world go away.

While you’ve got your eyes closed, transport yourself to another time or place where you can find happiness. Just don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep.

18. Get Up and Stretch

Part of the reason why you may feel strain and tension is that you’ve sat in a chair too long. Don’t sit for more than an hour without getting up and stretching. It would help if you took a break every so often, but rolling your head all around and stretching can help to rejuvenate you.

19. Rub Eucalyptus on Your Neck

Essential oils have long been used to help alleviate stress and make you feel calmer. Rubbing these on troubled spots, like the neck muscles, can help make the entire body feel better. Some of the most used ones are peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and chamomile.

20. Try Counting

Sometimes life gets to be too much, and you need to stop and slow down. Do you remember the old campaigns about the discipline that told you to count to ten before talking to your child? It would help if you had time to calm yourself and get rid of stress before tackling a big project, so counting is a great way to accomplish this task.

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Final Thoughts on Adopting New Habits to Alleviate Stress

Stress is inevitable, and there’s no way to avoid it. The best thing to do is learn how to manage it effectively. When those hormones in your body start to rise and bring along muscle pangs and headaches, then you can employ some of these relaxation techniques to bring your body back to a more relaxed state. The key is to alleviate stress before it begins by keeping things in check.

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Deborah is a full-time editor, blogger, and children's book author. Her book series helps children with anxiety overcome the challenges in everyday life using kindness and courage. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Education English and a Spanish minor from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. When she's not working on one of her many writing projects, you will find Deborah working in her herb garden. She is currently completing her master herbalist certification and can't wait to share the knowledge.

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