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Using proven healthy stress relief activities can be a powerful way to manage stress and promote overall wellness without any adverse effects.
Healthy stress relief activities focus on using natural strategies that harness the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Engaging in these activities has been proven to reduce cortisol levels and induce a feeling of peace and serenity.
Stress has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years, and it seems that there’s no end in sight.
With the fast-paced nature of modern society, it’s no surprise that most of us are feeling completely overwhelmed.
The pressure to keep up with the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities can be intense, leaving many struggling to manage their stress levels.
While unhealthy stress management activities such as smoking, drinking or popping pills may provide temporary relief, they do more harm than good in the long run.
It’s far better and more effective to engage in proven healthy stress relief activities that work.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple yet surprisingly effective way to relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on the breath helps to calm the mind and reduce tension in the body.
It also helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, which controls the body’s stress response.
Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere and at any time, making it a convenient tool for managing stress in the moment. Try taking a few deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed and notice how it helps to calm you down almost immediately.
Incorporating deep breathing into your daily routine can help to build resilience and better equip you to handle everyday stress.
2. Use Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy tops my list of healthy stress-relief activities. Inhaling the aromas of certain essential oils always works to help me unwind and de-stress.
Essential oils are highly concentrated natural plant extracts. Every essential oil has its own therapeutic properties.
The best essential oils for stress relief contain components that have a calming effect on the nervous system.
Lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are the top three essential oils known for their stress-reducing properties. See the full list of relaxing essential oils.
You can use stress-relief essential oils in a diffuser, add them to a warm bath, or even apply them topically to help alleviate stress.
Aromatherapy using relaxing essential oils can be a simple and effective way to incorporate self-care into your daily routine and manage stress naturally.
Meditation is a powerful stress management tool and always features high on any list of healthy stress relief activities.
When we meditate, we focus our attention on the present moment and become more aware of our thoughts and emotions. This increased awareness can help us identify and acknowledge stressors in our lives, and develop a more objective perspective toward them.
Additionally, meditation has been shown to activate the relaxation response, which can counteract the body’s stress response. It also helps improve sleep quality and boost overall mental health.
Regular meditation practice lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. The lower cortisol levels increase feelings of calm and well-being.
You don’t need any special equipment or training to meditate – simply find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and focus on your breath.
4. Get a Massage
Massage therapy is a hands-on approach to managing stress and promoting relaxation.
By manipulating the muscles and soft tissues of the body, massage can help to reduce tension and improve circulation, which can in turn help to lower stress levels.
Massage therapy also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood boosters.
Regular massage therapy sessions can be a great addition to a healthy stress management routine and can provide a much-needed break from the daily stresses of life.
5. Reconnect With Nature
Nature provides a sense of peace and tranquility, which can help to quiet the mind and reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm.
Spending time in natural surroundings – just you and the trees, birds, and bees – can feel as if time has come to a standstill.
As you take in the sights and sounds of nature, you can actually FEEL the stress drain out of you. That feeling cannot be described in words. You have to experience it personally.
Very recently, I spent a few days in a small resort located in the absolute wilderness and it was absolute bliss.
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, I highly recommend disconnecting from technology and immersing yourself in nature. If you can’t afford to take a few days off, try this for just a few hours at least and see the difference it makes.
Several studies have shown that exposure to nature helps us reframe our minds, get a fresh perspective on things, and recharges our mental and emotional batteries.
Read more here Benefits of Connecting With Nature
6. Take It Up A Notch With Barefoot Earthing
Barefoot grounding, also known as earthing, takes reconnecting with nature to the next level.
The concept of barefoot earthing is based on the idea that direct physical contact with the earth’s surface can have a positive impact on the body’s electrical charge.
When we walk barefoot on grass, sand, or dirt, we absorb negative ions from the earth’s surface, which can help to neutralize positive ions in our bodies that contribute to inflammation and stress.
Studies have shown that barefoot grounding can reduce cortisol levels, improve sleep quality, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
This simple practice is free, easy to do, and can be done anywhere there is natural ground to walk on.
Read about the Benefits Of Barefoot Grounding and how to incorporate this practice into your daily routine to tap into the healing power of nature.
7. Exercise Regularly
No list of healthy stress relief activities is complete without mentioning regular physical activity. Regular exercise offers a long list of physical and mental health benefits.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. These endorphins work very effectively to reduce stress and anxiety.
Exercise can also help to reduce muscle tension and improve sleep quality, which can further contribute to stress reduction.
Any form of exercise can be helpful for managing stress, whether it’s going for a walk, doing yoga, or hitting the gym. The key is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and can realistically incorporate into your routine on a regular basis.
8. Use Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help manage stress and promote relaxation.
Certain herbs, such as ashwagandha, valerian root, and passionflower, have been shown to have calming effects on the body and mind. These herbs can be consumed in the form of teas, tinctures, or supplements.
Brew a cup of chamomile, lavender, or lemon balm tea to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.
A cup of hot herbal tea provides warmth and comfort while lowering stress on cold winter days while a cup of cool herbal tea can be refreshing and calming during the warmer summer months.
Valerian root can be taken in supplement form to help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, can help the body to better handle stress by regulating the stress response.
Starwest Botanicals is the best place to buy high-quality herbal teas and other herbs for stress relief.
9. Music Therapy
Listening to music has a calming effect on the body and mind, reducing stress hormone levels and lowering heart rate. Music therapy can also help to improve mood and boost overall mental health.
The easiest way to use music for relief is to create a playlist of calming music that you can listen to during stressful times.
Incorporating music into your stress management routine can provide a much-needed break from the stressors of daily life.
10. Write in A Journal
Journaling is a simple, effective, and healthy way to alleviate stress and promote emotional well-being.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help to process emotions and gain perspective on stressful situations. Journaling can also serve as a way to track patterns and triggers that contribute to stress, helping you to better understand and manage your stress levels.
You don’t need to be a skilled writer to journal effectively – simply writing down your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or on your computer can be helpful.
Incorporating journaling into your daily routine can provide a cathartic and empowering outlet for managing stress.
11. Practice Yoga Poses
Yoga is an age-old practice that has stood the test of time as one of the more traditional healthy stress relief activities. It lowers stress and promotes relaxation with its combination of physical movement, meditation, and breathing exercises.
Focusing on your yoga poses can help lower has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, and can also help to improve sleep quality and overall mental health.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a master yogi – there are many beginner-friendly poses and sequences that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
12. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Moving to music and expressing yourself through dance is one of the more creative stress relief activities.
It combines music therapy and movement therapy to improve physical fitness and coordination while also lowering cortisol and stress levels.
You don’t need to be a professional dancer or know any formal dance steps to enjoy the benefits of dancing. Simply put on your favorite music and sway your body naturally to the rhythm.
The idea is to release the tension in your body and the only way to do it is by dancing like nobody’s watching! Being self-conscious about your movements will only add to your stress, which defeats the purpose.
Incorporating dancing into your stress management routine can provide a fun and effective way to alleviate stress and improve overall health.
13. Book A Reiki Session
This is a form of energy healing that can help to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.
Reiki practitioners use gentle touch or non-touch techniques to help activate the natural healing processes of the body and mind.
Reiki can help ease tension and promote feelings of peace and well-being, making it an effective and healthy stress relief technique.
Receiving a Reiki session can be a calming and soothing experience, and can also help to improve sleep quality and overall physical health.
Reiki can be a complementary therapy to traditional stress management techniques, providing a holistic approach to promoting wellness.
14. Practice Tai chi
This gentle form of exercise combines flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation.
Tai Chi can help to reduce stress and anxiety by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. The slow, deliberate movements of Tai Chi help to reduce tension in the body and promote mindfulness and inner peace.
Practicing Tai Chi helps to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility while also reducing cortisol levels.
Tai Chi can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels, making it an accessible and effective tool for managing stress and promoting overall health and well-being.
15. Spend Time With Family And Friends
We’ve all experienced this at some time or the other. Being around people who care about us gives us a sense of comfort and security. We feel more supported and less alone in our struggles, which, often subconsciously, reduces our stress levels.
We may not consciously recognize the stress draining away but we do get the sense of feeling better after having spent time with someone we love. It’s one of the reasons why we want to spend more time with that person.
Several studies have supported the theory that spending time with family and friends is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.
Furthermore, social connections can also help us to cope with stress more effectively.
It allows us to connect with others, engage in enjoyable activities, and feel supported during difficult times.
How Healthy Activities Can Benefit Your Stress Relief Journey
I’d like to emphasize the importance of using healthy stress relief activities over other riskier strategies that may seem appealing but can be harmful in the long run.
Reduces cortisol levels – Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with the body’s fight-or-flight response. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can lead to a host of health problems, including weight gain, heart disease, and immune system dysfunction. Healthy stress relief activities such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture reduce cortisol levels naturally and gently so you feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Boosts immunity – Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight certain illnesses and diseases. Natural healing techniques such as herbal remedies, aromatherapy, and massage therapy can help to boost the immune system, promoting overall health and well-being.
Improves sleep – Sleep is critical for overall health and well-being, but stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Natural healing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy can help to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Reduces muscle tension – Emotional stress can often manifest itself through physical symptoms such as muscle tension. Natural stress relief techniques such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga can help to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.
Increases self-awareness – Meditation, mindfulness and journaling are some of the healthy stress relief activities that help increase self-awareness, giving you vital insight into your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and physical sensations. With increased self-awareness, you’ll be able to pinpoint what is causing your stress, which is key to handling it better stress.
You don’t have to practice stress management techniques only when your stress levels have peaked. Incorporating a few of the above healthy stress relief techniques into your daily routine can significantly improve your quality of life.
Final Insights: Where To Go From Here
It’s important to remember that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to reducing stress, especially considering that every person is built entirely differently.
With that in mind, it’s best to pick about 2 or 3 activities listed above that would best fit in to your lifestyle.
Figure out how you’ll incorporate them into your routine, maybe just a few days each week.
Once you become more consistent, you’ll want to try and increase the frequency. After that, you can start adding more methods to your schedule as you see fit.
Lastly, make sure that you don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to make too many changes too abruptly. The process of stress relief is a gradual and peaceful one, it should not make you feel as though you’re rushed and pressured to get things correct.
Most of all, don’t ever hesitate to reach out and ask for help from a professional mental health therapist if your stress is off the charts and hampering your ability to perform your everyday tasks.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.