Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety [31 Helpful Tips]
There are several different coping methods that can be used to help reduce the amount of stress and anxiety being experienced. All of those coping methods can be captured into 7 general categories. So pick your preferred category.
Then pick your preferred method to relieve stress and anxiety.
Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day. ~Karen Salmansohn
Anxiety and stress seem to be everywhere today.
When they strike, each of us experiences a different reaction.
Some people push forward, strong in their resolve.
Others collapse inward, struggling to find enough air to take their next breath.
Negative emotions will always create negative outcomes if they are left to fester.
There must be an effort to relieve anxiety and stress. It will not just disappear on its own.
There are several different coping methods that can be used to help reduce the amount of stress and anxiety being experienced.
All of those coping methods can be captured into 7 general categories.
So pick your preferred category.
Then pick your preferred method to relieve stress and anxiety.
Breathing helps the body to be able to create a “relaxation response.”
This helps to reduce the overall cortisol levels [the stress hormone] that are active within your body.
The end result? Feeling relaxed. Feeling happier. Even perhaps feeling more energetic.
Here are some of the breathing exercises that have been proven to work for virtually everyone.
Equal Breathing. Inhale to a 4 count, then exhale to a 4 count. Breathe all through your nose, so you can feel the resistance to your breathing. You can perform this breathing exercise at any place, during any time, whenever you feel a lack of calm throughout the day.
Abdominal Breathing. Take a deep breath through the
nose. Place your hand on your diaphragm to feel it inflate. Fill up
your lungs with enough air that it feels slightly uncomfortable. The
goal is to get your airways to stretch out just a bit. Take up to 10
slow, deep breaths per minute for about 10 minutes each day.
Progressive Breathing. As you begin to take deep
breaths, picture each muscle in your body beginning to relax
progressively. Start at your toes and work your way up to your head. It
can help to breathe in a count of 5 during this exercise to keep track
of where you are in the muscle progression.
Alternate Nostril Breathing. This is just like the
equal breathing exercise, except that you close off one nostril for each
breath intake or exhale. Close off the left nostril while breathing in,
but then as you exhale, close off the right nostril.
Happy Place Breathing. We all have a happy place
that naturally relaxes us. It might be the beach, the bathroom, or even
the car. Go there, get comfortable, and just breathe as deeply as you
want. Picture favorite memories or find happy thoughts about something
while you are in this moment.
Kapalbhati. With this breathing exercise,
the goal is to take a long, deep breath initially. Then you must exhale
it powerfully and quickly. Your abdominal muscles are going to contract
and the experience may not be comfortable the first few times you
attempt this method to relieve anxiety and stress. When you do begin to
get used to this technique, try to have an inhale/exhale combination
occur every 2 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Even if you don’t feel like performing a specific breathing exercise, just being still and calm will help.
Gently breathe as you normally would, but within an environment that will not stimulate stress.
Count to 10 [or whatever number best suits your needs]. Then repeat as often as necessary.
When you are breathing, you are giving your body the oxygen it needs to expel toxins.
That process also helps to relax your muscles and reduce cortisol levels.
If you’re feeling stressed or are dealing with a tough bout with anxiety, then remember these two words: just breathe.
Sometimes we might need to flee from a situation. There might be an actual threat.
These are the only instances when fear is healthy.
Fear is what provides anxiety and stress with the structural support it needs to survive.
If you remove fear, then you’ll be able to reduce cortisol levels.
Meditation is often thought of as someone sitting in what is known as the “lotus” position.
That can be a very beneficial method, but there are several other forms of meditation that can be used as a way to relieve anxiety and stress.
Open Monitoring Meditation. This form of meditation
allows you to look at all aspects of your experience instead of a
single point. Any perception, emotion, or sound is recognized,
acknowledged, and reviewed for its unique importance. The goal here is
to observe without reacting, which helps to lower stress.
Effortless Presence Meditation. Instead of focusing on a single point, this form of meditation has you focus on nothing at all.
You are simply “there” in that moment. Some might say this is the
pursuit of clarity, but it is more about the process of meaning. Each
moment has something to offer. Experience it effortlessly.
Mindfulness Meditation. This type of meditation has
you looking for the perfection that every moment offers. Like finding
the sensory perfection in the things that we touch. Or in the smells of a
home. Or in finding the good in those moments when a boss is yelling at
your team. Because your focus is on finding the good and perfect
moments in everything, stress and anxiety get the chance to disappear.
Loving Kindness Meditation. This form of meditation is growing in popularity because it extends blessings outward.
You spend time wishing those you know some form of a positive wish. In
return, a loving inward attitude begins to develop. This allows you to
be able to combat stress effectively because you’re turning negative
emotions into positive outcomes.
Mantra Meditation. Many forms of meditation include
mantras, a repeated word or phrase, as part of the process. In Mantra
meditation, the vibrations, rhythms, and sounds of the words or phrases
become central to the overall experience. The goal here is to create a
deeper connection to the mind, body, and soul by “feeling” the
Guided Meditation. It can be difficult to meditate
alone sometimes. There can be a lot of distractions that take away your
focus. That’s why having a guide to help you through the process can be
extremely effective when dealing with high levels of anxiety and stress.
Listen to the voice of the guide, follow any instructions given, and
the negative feelings will begin to melt away.
It can also reduce stress and anxiety very effectively.
Think about it: when you hear a favorite song, what happens?
Do you stay focused on the problems of the day?
Or do you start singing or humming along to the song?
There are several ways to relieve anxiety and stress through music.
Which methods would you prefer to use?
Play an instrument. It isn’t necessary to master an instrument in order for the process of playing music to be beneficial. Something as simple as a scale on a piano can be enough to start reducing stress levels.
Use your voice. Do you love to sing with the radio when you’re driving? When you’re doing that, you are actually reducing stress and anxiety at the same time. Just remember to sing songs that will uplift your spirit.
Dance with music. The rhythms of certain types of music are almost like a verbal mantra. Just listening to them can help you be able to stay focused. If you dance with them as well, then you’ll be able to force stress and anxiety out of your body.
Listen to music in known situations that are stressful. If your boss is about to give you some negative feedback at work, then put on some tunes so that you can mentally prepare yourself. Music in the background can also help you get through stressful tasks quickly and effectively. As an added benefit, listening to music in stressful situations also drowns out potentially distracting noises that could enhance a problematic situation.
Incorporate relaxing sounds into the music. Certain sounds help you to relax. Sounds like the falling rain, or gentle ocean waves, or even the traffic of the city. By incorporating these sounds into your music, you’ll be able to enhance the relaxation process.#
If you’re not familiar with the practice, then this complete guide to EFT can help provide some added understanding.
What makes EFT such a beneficial practice is that everyone can use it.
It is even safe to use with infants and toddlers.
This makes it one of the most versatile stress reducers that is available right now.
EFT has an advantage over other forms of stress reduction because it
can help to relieve the symptoms of stress triggers that many people
don’t often think about.
Could any of these issues be contributing to your stress or anxiety?
Without exercise, the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and other
hormones do not get produced at appropriate levels. Inactivity can also
lead to a rise of free radicals that can promote bothersome signs and
symptoms. EFT can help to promote an increase in the needed hormones.
Sugar overload. Sugar acts like a drug on the
brain. Eating too much of it can lead to poor mental health because the
mind is literally over-stimulated. EFT can help to reduce that
Food additives. Food allergies are on the rise.
Problems with food additives are also more common than ever before.
Although EFT can’t make dietary changes for you, it can reduce the
severity of the body’s reaction to these substances.
Systemic inflammation. If you eat foods where there
is an intolerance issue, then that toxicity can reach the brain over
time. It dulls your thinking, creates ongoing fatigue, and stops
creativity. EFT can help you restore some of the communication between
the mind and body.
There are toxic exposure issues that are everywhere today.
Reactions vary in severity because we’re all a little different.
Some people can handle aspartame well, for example, and for others it can make them violently ill.
Sure – the stretching and poses offered in certain types of Yoga can be quite rigorous.
The spiritual side of Yoga can be equally rigorous.
This is because the ultimate goal of Yoga is to create harmony
between the “me, myself, and I” of your existence: mind, body, and soul.
If you look at the history of Yoga, which dates back nearly 4,000
years, the idea of increasing personal knowledge while obtaining
spiritual purification comes down to one question: what is the best way
to relieve anxiety and stress in your personal life?
For that reason, there are several different Yoga practices that can be personally modified to maximize stress and anxiety reduction.
Chakra Focus. There are 7 chakras, or centers, that are in your body. By focusing on just one of them, you can enhance the energy that is experienced at that chakra and then use it to reduce stress. Do so for 20-30 minutes or until you begin to feel uncomfortable.
In traditional Yoga teachings, there is the belief that an “energy core” is located at the base of the spine. It lies dormant, waiting for you to activate it. Once activated, it is said that the amount of creative energy and enlightenment is beyond measure. It should only be practiced by an experienced individual or under guidance from someone who is.
This practice is similar to focused meditation. You fix your gaze onto a single external object. Then you close your eyes, while still remaining focused on that object. The goal here is to work on the visualization powers of the mind. Because you are focused on this task, you become unfocused on your stress and anxiety. This helps it to just fade away.
This type of Yoga focuses on external or internal sounds. Many who first start with this type of Yoga will use ambient music, nature sounds [like ocean waves or falling rain], or even classical music from Bach or Beethoven. As personal skills develop to hear different layers of sounds, the individual is encouraged to listen for internal sounds. Then the ultimate goal is to hear para nada, or the one sound of life that has no vibration.
This form of Yoga might be popular because of its sexual connotations, but there are actually hundreds of different tantras that can be practiced. You can focus on the space between two thoughts, meditate on a specific emotion, or virtually anything else that holds importance to you. When you focus on the larger picture, but in the smallest of details, the triggers for stress and anxiety just don’t seem as important as they once did.
The benefit of Yoga is that it combines aspects of meditation, exercise, and deep breathing all in one session.
This trinity of stress reduction is incredibly effective, with results often coming in just a few days.
Some may need to remove their preconceived notions about Yoga.
It will not interfere with any religion, career, or relationship.
Others may simply need to make it a priority in their life.
We all make time for the things that are a top priority for each of us.
If you can make Yoga a top priority, then you will know how to handle stress better.
If you’re dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety, then a little exercise might just be the solution you need.
We all have heard multiple times about the physical benefits of exercise.
It makes you stronger, faster, and improves stamina.
It also has the power to fight off disease.
This is why almost every doctor will encourage physical activities every day, whenever possible.
When stress has caused your energy levels to be prematurely depleted,
just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise can help to restore what you’ve
Every type of exercise is beneficial in some way.
Here are the best exercises that are commonly used to relieve anxiety and stress.
Choose the one that you feel like you can do the best.
Walking, running, or jogging. The goal here is to
do the most comfortable exercise out of this trifecta for at least 30
minutes. Set the goal to complete a minimum of 3 exercises sessions per
week, with the eventual goal of walking, running, or jogging 5 times per
Biking or dancing. People who use these types of
exercise for stress relief tend to pack them into long weekend sessions.
It’s better to bike or dance 20-30 minutes every day than to put in 3-4
hours of exercise during the weekend.
Taking a trail through the woods or up a mountain is a little
different than walking or jogging around a neighborhood or on a
treadmill. Not only does nature have a calming effect on the mind,
but you’ll also be giving yourself a more strenuous exercise regimen.
Walking up a 20 to 45-degree slope is a lot different than walking on a
flat sidewalk and the amount of stress reduction corresponds to the
increased activity levels.
Strength training. Lifting weights can also take
the place of aerobic exercise for some individuals. 30-45 minutes of
weight training can stimulate a person’s metabolism for up to 48 hours
afterward. While the metabolism is stimulated, the body has more natural
tools to help you combat stress and anxiety.
Exercise can be a very effective tool to help you be able to find your center once again.
Not only will the exercise help you be able to reduce overall mental
fatigue, but you’ll receive a natural energy boost and get more sleep at
More sleep at night means more power to combat future stress and anxiety.
This means exercise can create a positive cycle of health that can help you keep cortisol levels naturally low on a regular basis.
Talking to someone can be very beneficial when feeling high levels of stress or anxiety.
The conversation should be with someone you trust: a friend, family member, or close associate.
It must be a non-judgmental environment so you can express the emotions of stress and anxiety properly.
There must also be a willingness to provide you with feedback after you’ve finished discussing your concerns.
Following these steps can help you to make sure that the conversation you have will be able to be beneficial.
Isolate the conversation. You don’t need to be
speaking with someone you trust in front of an audience. Go behind
closed doors. Go get coffee somewhere that is outside of your routine.
Even a quiet corner of a park can be a great location.
Express your concerns. Be as specific as possible.
Why are you feeling stressed out? What is making you feel anxious? Do
your best to put these negative thoughts into positive words.
Summarize your feelings. Stress and anxiety often
involve fear. There might also be other emotions involved. Make sure
every potentially negative emotion is addressed so it isn’t left to
fester and grow on its own.
Connect your feelings to your choices. How we feel
is often reflected in the choices we make. Do your best to connect the
feelings you are having to the choices you’ve been making.
Assess yourself. As you are talking, is it making
you feel better? Or are you feeling worse? If a conversation is causing
your stress and anxiety to increase, then you should stop immediately
and use a different stress reduction method.
Prepare yourself for the drop. Your body does not
handle high levels of cortisol very well. It amps itself up to deal with
the stress. When you are able to let that stress go, then there will be
a physical feeling of release. Many people feel fatigued or exhausted
after the release occurs. Be prepared for this so you don’t potentially
put yourself into a dangerous situation – like being behind the wheel of
Enter into new territory. You must then make the
choice to leave those negative feelings behind. You’ve expressed them in
a conversation. You’ve now developed a solution. It’s time to let the
anxiety and stress go. Retaining it will only cause it to continue to
If you’ve followed these steps, then you may have noticed that the steps spell out something unique: I Escape.
You can escape from your stress and anxiety.
The only issue is that it must be something that you’re willing to do.
No one can take the footsteps forward on your journey toward a more peaceful existence.
It must come from you. The effort must come from inside you.
Now a trusted friend, family member, or associate can give you
meaningful advice during this conversation so that it becomes easier to
take those steps.
But in the end, it will be up to you. It will always be up to you.
Sometimes we get so comfortable in dealing with stress and anxiety on
a regular basis that we just allow these negative expressions to exist.
There is a better way. Talk it out.
Which Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Stress Are Right for You?
There are 7 primary categories of coping skills available to you right now.
Each one has the potential of reliving anxiety and stress very effectively.
Within each category are specific methods that can be used to make
sure you can relax and rejuvenate, even after the most stressful day of
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The Power of Music to Cope with Stress and Anxiety
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS