1. Get some sun!
When the some comes out, you should too. Because sunlight triggers the release of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is our brain’s natural mood stabilizer. It’s been linked to calmness, focus and low levels of depression.
If you want to go all in, you can even find special light boxes. Those are used in light therapy and they’re designed to stimulate the brain to release serotonin.
2. Go for a walk in nature
You’ve probably heard this tip before. And hopefully you’ve also done it many times. But its effect is big enough to repeat it here one more time. Simply being in nature helps reduce negative, repetitive thoughts. One particular study for example showed how a quiet stroll through nature helps improve mental health and reduces rumination.
So go out and experience nature. You could enjoy the views on a leisurely walk or cycle through the woods. Even sitting on a park bench and observing your surroundings could have a beneficial effect.
3. Try gardening
Gardening is more just a cheap and obvious tip. It works so well that there’s an entire therapy approach that’s based on spending time working the garden and farming. It’s called eco-therapy. To get a short glimpse into why and how it works, check out the video.
Of course, not everyone enjoys the luxury of having their own garden. During the last couple of years though, urban gardening projects have sprung up in many cities. And if that’s not for you, just get a few plants to keep indoors and you might find you enjoy that too.
4. Listen to soothing music
Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of calming down. And you probably know from your own experience what an impact music can have on mood and energy levels.
Researchs shows how some songs can have measurable effects on your nervous system and anxiety. One that stands out is a song called ‘Weightless’ which has been called the most relaxing tune ever.
To reduce stress, create a playlist of songs you find soothing and take some time off to listen to them with your full attention. Focus on particular instruments, on the melodies and the singer’s voice and it’ll help you take your mind off whatever stresses you right now.
5. De-clutter your things
When we’re stressed and anxious about things that are out of our control, it can help to start where we have control right now. De-cluttering our house means starting with whatever is in our control right now. At the same time, it helps organize our personal space which also contributes to reduced stress. It’s two birds with one stone: The act of cleaning itself is calming. And once it’s done, you get to enjoy a tidier home.
6. Start working out again
Everybody nows that exercise is good for our body. It improves our immune system and keeps us healthier. But exercise isn’t only good for your physical health, it has surprising effects on your mental health as well. It produces endorphines which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and improve sleep.
Regular workouts help access our natural potential for self-repair and resilience. That’s why it’s time to get your running shoes out and your bicycle ready. Spring’s the perfect time to start a workout routine.
7. Start a gratitude diary
Research in the field of positive psychology has shown that practicing gratitude on a daily basis can have a tremendous effects on your life. Instead of getting used to all the good things around you, gratitude enables you to see in your life with fresh eyes.
One simple suggestion from those researchers is to keep a gratitude journal. The only thing to do is to take a few minutes every evening to write down the things for which we’re grateful. And this doesn’t just reduce stress — it improves sleep, reduces symptoms of illness and makes people generally happier.
8. Mindful photography
Taking pictures is a great tool to end stress. When you grab a camera and endeavor to capture the beauty of life, something extraordinary can happen.
It can help shift your focus fully into the present moment. And because we’re caught up in our thoughts most of the time, this can make a huge difference. It can help you slow down and remind you to life in the here and now. When you are fully aware of this moment, it is much harder to get stressed and anxious. Sounds like we’re pushing too hard? Maybe it’s not for you. But giving it a try won’t harm you.
9. Try Pocketcoach
If you want to try a more comprehensive approach, check out Pocketcoach. It’s a therapy chat bot that’s helps you build effective coping skills — step by step and one day at a time. It builds on well-researched therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and helps users deal with negative thoughts and feelings.
So if you’re experiencing anxiety in your life, don’t hold it in. Try one of these stress relief strategies, and message Pocketcoach to see if it’s right for you.