How to release anxiety and stress

15 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Engaging in activities that support self-care may help reduce stress and anxiety. These can include exercise and mindfulness practices.

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for many people. In fact, millions of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.

Many people deal with stress every day. Work, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are parts of everyday life that commonly contribute to heightened stress levels.

What’s more, factors such as genetics, level of social support, coping style, and personality type influence a person’s vulnerability to stress, meaning that some people are more likely to become stressed than others (1, 2, 3).

Plus, research shows that parents, people in professions such as healthcare and social work, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to have higher stress levels (4, 5, 6, 7).

Minimizing the chronic stress of daily life as much as possible is important for overall health. That’s because chronic stress harms health and increases your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression (8, 9, 10).

It’s important to understand that stress isn’t the same as mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, which require treatment from medical professionals. Although the tips below may relieve many types of stress, they may not help people with these conditions (11).

Here are 15 evidence-based ways to relieve stress.

If you’re feeling stressed, moving your body on a consistent basis may help.

A 6-week study in 185 university students found that participating in aerobic exercise 2 days per week significantly reduced overall perceived stress and perceived stress due to uncertainty. Plus, the exercise routine significantly improved self-reported depression (12).

Many other studies have shown that engaging in physical activity helps reduce stress levels and improve mood, while sedentary behavior may lead to increased stress, poor mood, and sleep disturbances (13, 14).

What’s more, regular exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression (15, 16).

If you’re currently inactive, start with gentle activities such as walking or biking. Choosing an activity that you enjoy may help increase your chances of sticking to it in the long term.


Regular exercise may help reduce stress and improve symptoms related to common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Your diet affects every aspect of your health, including your mental health.

Studies show that people who follow a diet high in ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to experience higher perceived stress levels (17, 18, 19).

Being chronically stressed may lead you to overeat and reach for highly palatable foods, which may harm your overall health and mood.

Plus, not eating enough nutrient-dense whole foods may increase your risk of deficiencies in nutrients that are essential for regulating stress and mood, such as magnesium and B vitamins (20).

Minimizing your intake of highly processed foods and beverages and eating more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, and seeds can help ensure that your body is properly nourished. In turn, this may improve your resilience to stress.


Following a nutrient-dense diet and limiting ultra-processed foods may provide your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health and decrease your risk of deficiencies in nutrients that help regulate stress.

Smartphones, computers, and tablets are an unavoidable part of everyday life for many people.

While these devices are often necessary, using them too often may increase stress levels.

A number of studies have linked excessive smartphone use and “iPhone addiction” with increased levels of stress and mental health disorders (21, 22, 23, 24).

Spending too much time in front of screens in general is associated with lower psychological well-being and increased stress levels in both adults and kids (25, 26, 27).

Furthermore, screen time may negatively affect sleep, which may also lead to increased stress levels (28).


Minimizing screen time may help reduce stress and improve sleep in both children and adults.

Several vitamins and minerals play an important role in your body’s stress response and mood regulation. As such, a deficiency in one or more nutrients may affect your mental health and ability to cope with stress.

Plus, some studies show that certain dietary supplements may help reduce stress and improve mood.

For example, when you’re chronically stressed, your magnesium levels may become depleted.

Since this mineral plays an important role in your body’s stress response, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough each day. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve stress in chronically stressed people (20, 29).

An 8-week study in 264 people with low magnesium found that taking 300 mg of this mineral daily helped reduce stress levels. Combining this dose of magnesium with vitamin B6 was even more effective (30).

Other supplements, including rhodiola, ashwagandha, B vitamins, and L-theanine, have been shown to help reduce stress as well (31, 32, 33, 34).

However, dietary supplements may not be appropriate or safe for everyone. Consult a healthcare professional if you’re interested in using supplements to help relieve stress.


Certain supplements may reduce stress levels, including magnesium, L-theanine, rhodiola, and B vitamins.

Setting aside time to practice self-care may help reduce your stress levels. Practical examples include:

  • going for a walk outside
  • taking a bath
  • lighting candles
  • reading a good book
  • exercising
  • preparing a healthy meal
  • stretching before bed
  • getting a massage
  • practicing a hobby
  • using a diffuser with calming scents
  • practicing yoga

Studies show that people who engage in self-care report lower levels of stress and improved quality of life, while a lack of self-care is associated with higher risk of stress and burnout (35, 36, 37).

Taking time for yourself is essential in order to live a healthy life. This is especially important for people who tend to be highly stressed, including nurses, doctors, teachers, and caretakers.

Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. It simply means tending to your well-being and happiness.

Exposure to certain scents via candles or essential oils may be especially calming. Here are a few relaxing scents:

  • lavender
  • rose
  • vetiver
  • bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • neroli
  • frankincense
  • sandalwood
  • ylang-ylang
  • orange or orange blossom
  • geranium

Using scents to boost your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies suggest that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep (38, 39).


Self-care is an important part of managing stress. A few simple strategies you may want to try are yoga, lighting candles, taking baths, and reading a good book.

Caffeine is a chemical found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks that stimulates your central nervous system.

Consuming too much may worsen and increase feelings of anxiety (40, 41).

Plus, overconsumption may harm your sleep. In turn, this may increase stress and anxiety symptoms (42).

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back by replacing coffee or energy drinks with decaffeinated herbal tea or water.

Although many studies show that coffee is healthy in moderation, it’s recommended to keep caffeine intake under 400 mg per day, which equals 4–5 cups (0.9–1.2 L) of coffee (43).

Still, people who are sensitive to caffeine may experience increased anxiety and stress after consuming much less caffeine than this, so it’s important to consider your individual tolerance.


Large amounts of caffeine may increase stress and anxiety, although people’s sensitivity to caffeine varies greatly.

Social support from friends and family may help you get through stressful times and cope with stress (44).

A study that in 163 ​​Latinx young adults in college associated lower levels of support from friends, family, and romantic partners with loneliness, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress (44).

Having a social support system is important for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling alone and don’t have friends or family to depend on, social support groups may help. Consider joining a club or sports team or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you.


Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and is important for overall mental well-being.

Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Putting too much on your plate may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care.

Taking control over your personal life may help reduce stress and protect your mental health.

One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, because juggling many responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.

Plus, creating boundaries — especially with people who add to your stress levels — is a healthy way to protect your well-being. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member not to stop by unannounced or canceling standing plans with a friend who tends to create drama.


It’s important to create healthy boundaries in your life by declining to take on more than you can handle. Saying “no” is one way to control your stressors.

Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating.

Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality (45, 46).

A study in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection (46).

If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.

Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.


If you find yourself regularly procrastinating, staying on top of your to-do list may help ward off related stress.

Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.

While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind by increasing body and breath awareness.

Several studies show that yoga helps reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, it can promote psychological well-being (47, 48, 49).

These benefits seem to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.

Yoga may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate while increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that’s low in people with mood disorders (49, 50).


Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.

Stress reduction techniques that utilize mindfulness include meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (51).

Meditating on a consistent basis, even for short periods, may help boost your mood and decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety (52).

If you’d like to try out meditation, countless books, apps, and websites can teach you the basics. There may also be therapists in your area who specialize in MBCT.


Mindfulness practices such as meditation and MBCT may help reduce stress levels and improve mood.

Human touch may have a calming effect and help you better cope with stress (53).

For example, studies show that positive physical contact and sex may help relieve stress and loneliness (54, 55).

These types of contact may help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. In turn, these effects help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Both high blood pressure and increased heart rate are physical symptoms of stress (56).

Interestingly, humans aren’t the only animals that cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends that are stressed (57).


Positive touch from cuddling, hugging, kissing, and sex may help lower stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure.

Spending more time outside may help reduce stress.

Studies show that spending time in green spaces such as parks and forests and being immersed in nature are healthy ways to manage stress (58, 59).

A review of 14 studies found that spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting may help improve psychological and physiological markers of mental well-being, including perceived stress and happiness, in college-aged people (59).

Hiking and camping are great options, but some people don’t enjoy — or have access to — these activities. Even if you live in an urban area, you can seek out green spaces such as local parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens.


Spending more time outside — whether at your local park or atop a mountain — may help reduce levels of stress and boost your mood.

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode.

During this reaction, stress hormones trigger physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, and constricted blood vessels.

Deep breathing exercises may help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response (60, 61).

Deep breathing exercises include diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel at peace.


Deep breathing activates your body’s relaxation response, thereby counteracting some of the physical sensations of stress.

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.

When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body releases oxytocin — a hormone that’s linked to positive mood (62).

Plus, studies show that pet owners — especially those who have dogs — tend to have greater life satisfaction, better self-esteem, reduced levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods (63).

Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.


Spending time with your pet is a relaxing, enjoyable way to reduce stress.

Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, being chronically stressed takes a toll on your physical and mental health.

Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help you reduce stress and improve your overall psychological well-being.

Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are all effective methods.

Just one thing

Try this today: Although there are many ways to reduce stress on your own, it’s important to get help when you need it.

If you’re experiencing overwhelming stress or symptoms of anxiety and depression, consider making an appointment with a therapist or visiting a trusted healthcare professional to discuss ways to improve your mental health.

Read this article in Spanish.

10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.

Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

We recommend cello master Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach, but if classical really isn’t your thing, try listening to ocean or nature sounds. It may sound cheesy, but they have similar relaxing effects to music.

When you’re feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.

They’re especially important when you’re under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.

Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing.

Don’t worry about seeming crazy — just tell yourself why you’re stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.

Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.

Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.

Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy.

Our suggestion: watch some classic Monty Python skits like “The Ministry of Silly Walks.” Those Brits are so hilarious, you’ll soon be cracking up, rather than cracking up.

A large dose of caffeine causes a short-term spike in blood pressure. It may also cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive.

Instead of coffee or energy drinks, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Most of the tips we’ve suggested provide immediate relief, but there are also many lifestyle changes that can be more effective in the long run. The concept of “mindfulness” is a large part of meditative and somatic approaches to mental health and has become popular recently.

From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem. Try joining a class.

Online meditation options

Read our review of the best online meditation options to find the right fit for you.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation.

Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.

Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time.

Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.

The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation.

For an easy three- to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest.

While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Too much untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems.

The good news is that in many cases, stress is manageable. With some patience and a few useful strategies, you can reduce your stress, whether it’s family stress or stress at the workplace.

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At any time, stress has always been in the life of every person. In moderation, their presence is even beneficial. But what if the stress in our lives goes off scale?

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Limit yourself, at least partially, from the flow of information, especially negative and unreliable. Minimize the time you spend in front of the TV screen, computer monitor, with gadgets. Try to communicate less with people who are fixed only on the negative, have a pessimistic attitude.

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Go in for sports, walk a lot. Choose the type of physical activity that you enjoy. Exercise regularly, preferably daily, for at least 20-30 minutes. Be sure to include aerobic exercise in the complex of exercises: brisk walking, running, squats, jumping, cycling, walking up the stairs. Neurotransmitters released during exercise have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety.

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Dehydration impairs brain function, increases anxiety. Drink regularly even before you feel thirsty. thirst indicates that the body is already in a state of dehydration.

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Lack of sleep negatively affects the brain: anxiety levels increase, irritability occurs, mental abilities and mood decrease, and depression can begin. In order to effectively deal with stress, you definitely need to get enough sleep. nine0543

Try to eat as varied as possible, choose more healthy products that have undergone minimal industrial processing. Increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet, preferably raw. Eat enough protein daily, as stress increases its consumption. Reduce the amount of sugar and "fast" carbohydrates, as well as coffee and strong tea. Eat plenty of dairy products. It is desirable to completely exclude alcohol intake. nine0543

6. Distract for any classes .
Take on any routine household chores: laundry, cleaning, putting things in order in the house. Do what you usually don’t have enough time for: sort out in the pantry, on the balcony, put things in order in the cabinets, get rid of the old, unnecessary. Listen to music, watch movies, do needlework, learn a foreign language. nine0543

7. Breathing exercises .
Learn the breathing exercises. There are a large number of them, and they are good at helping to relax in a state of severe stress. Elderly people, as well as people with diseases of the cardiovascular system, are advised to consult their doctor before starting breathing exercises.
a) Belly breathing. Better lying down, you can sit. Put one hand on the upper abdomen to make it easier to follow the movements of the abdominal wall. As you inhale, inflate your belly as much as possible. As you exhale, draw your stomach in as much as possible. Take slow breaths in and out. Continue for 1-2 minutes, gradually increase the duration to 5-10 minutes. nine0543 b) Breathing to the count of 4-7-8. Slow breath in through the nose for a count of 4 (1-2-3-4). Hold your breath for a count of 7 (1-2-3-4-5-6-7). Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8 (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8). Repeat 4 times. Gradually, you can increase up to 8 times.

8. Support and help .
Support loved ones morally and do not refuse support yourself. Communicate more, share your feelings with others. Help those who are worse off than you. Do charity work. It can be not only material, financial assistance. It is enough to listen, give advice, reassure, share useful information. Helping others, we help ourselves even more, because. we begin to feel stronger. nine0543

9. Please yourself
During the day, find opportunities for activities that you really enjoy. Throw out emotions. If you want, get creative: draw, sing, play a musical instrument, write poetry or prose, embroider. Incorporate outdoor activities into your schedule whenever possible.

10. Daily stability .
Do your daily routine every day. Set up daily rituals and stick to them. This will add stability.

11. State " here and now ".
Try to solve only pressing problems. In times of uncertainty, live in the present moment, "here and now." Try to notice any positive moments in your life, even the smallest ones. For example, a sunny day, a delicious breakfast, a good movie, a call from a friend, etc.; the list is endless. nine0543

There is good news! Stress, paradoxically, plays a positive role in our lives. After solving the problem, we become stronger, more experienced, more resilient, self-confidence increases. Stress motivates us to build relationships with others, focus on solving problems, and achieve our goals.

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Neurologist Ignatova Evgenia Anatolyevna, medical clinic "Harmony", Rostov-on-Don.

How to get rid of stress and anxiety?

Anxiety, feelings of unease… The reasons can be different: stress at work, love experiences, family troubles. There are many easy ways to deal with stress.

Chamomile. A cup of chamomile tea will help you calm down and relieve nervous tension.

Melissa. This plant has long been used to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, and to help you fall asleep. You can brew infusions of lemon balm, add it to tea. nine0003

Green tea (which contains the amino acid L-theanine in its leaves) helps to reduce anxiety, increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Lavender is widely used in aromatherapy. Lavender oil has a pronounced aroma, its smell soothes and relaxes.

Hop. Yes, yes, the same hops that are used in the brewing industry. Hops essential oil has a calming effect, due to which it is used as a remedy for insomnia in aromatherapy (aromatic pads). nine0003

Physical activity stimulates not only the muscles, but also the brain, and also helps to cope with depression and anxiety. Just 20-30 minutes of physical activity a day can help reduce feelings of anxiety. It can be a run, exercise bike, climbing stairs, or at least vigorous walking.

Walking in nature, for example in the forest, meditation can also help to cope with stress and anxiety.

Breathing exercises. Yoga, largely due to the breathing technique, is considered an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. One reason is that it is impossible to breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. The classic 4-7-8 breathing technique is performed like this. Begin with a deep exhalation through the mouth. Then you need to calmly inhale through your nose for 4 counts and hold your breath, counting to 7. After that, you need to exhale through your mouth for 8 counts. It is recommended to repeat at least 2 times a day. nine0003

Omega-3 fatty acids, one of the main sources of which is fish oil. Including this supplement in your diet will help reduce anxiety. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids can also be obtained from food - oils, marine fish and seafood.

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