1. Eat Healthier
Though a lot of stress is psychological, there are also plenty of physical factors that contribute to this natural human response to perceived danger. In order to mitigate stress, make sure you’re treating your body right. A big part of this is eating healthier.
“There are no magic ‘anti-stress’ foods,” says Gilles Barbot, founder and director of Esprit de Corps, a leadership coaching program. “Nevertheless, adopting an alkaline diet instead of an acidic one is recommended.”
Foods that are highly alkaline include baking soda, lemons, lentils, onion, pineapple, pumpkin seed, raspberry, sweet potato, vegetable juices, and watermelon. For a full list of alkaline foods, check out this chart.
2. Wake Up Earlier
It’s certainly true that the more sleep you get, the less prone to stress you’ll be. However, waking up 15 or 20 minutes earlier each morning may have more benefits than sleeping in.
By giving yourself some extra time, you won’t feel quite as rushed or frazzled in the morning. This enables you to avoid having to rush out the door, which leads to better preparation and more confidence.
“Take time in the morning to center yourself,” San Francisco-based psychologist Leslie Carr advises. “A lot of people shoot out into their days like a rocket ship and it never gets better from there.”
3. Let Stress Motivate You
Since you’re never going to eliminate 100 percent of the stress in your life, one of the best things you can do is let it motivate you. This is what stress is designed to do, after all. The psychological and physical reactions brought on by stress are supposed to heighten our senses and empower us to fight off or escape a threat.
Next time you feel stress creeping in, take action. Stressed about the amount of work you have to do this week? Stay three hours late tonight and get a head start on tomorrow.
Stressed about your lack of income? Pick up a side job to earn more money. Taking action is one of the most effective ways to kill stress.
4. Watch a Funny Video Clip
Here’s a simple and practical tip: Watch a funny video clip on YouTube. Research shows that seeing something amusing activates the part of the brain that produces calm physiological responses and tranquility. This can lead to less anxiety and more happiness.
5. Take a Walk Outside
A walk a day keeps the doctor away … literally. Just as any other cardiovascular activity does, walking boosts endorphins in the body, which alleviates mild depression and improves mood. As a result, you’ll feel less stressed and more alert.
Whenever possible, make sure you take your walk outdoors. A number of studies show that spending time outside is a great way to relieve stress. It can improve energy levels and memory by as much as 20 percent.
One UK study even suggests walks in green spaces put the brain into a “meditative state.”