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How to Reduce Stress From Daily Life (5 Simple Tips!)


Explore easy ways to reduce stress from common daily challenges so you can boost your overall wellness and live a happier and more relaxed life.

Did you know over 50 percent of Americans are stressed during the day? Between work, relationships, and a lack of sleep, it’s not exactly surprising!

Living a completely stress-free life may not be possible, but the good news? You can reduce stress from daily challenges in sustainable, healthy ways. Stress may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to control your everyday life.

In this article, I’ll address five common daily stressors, practical steps for managing them, and why doing so is essential for your overall physical and mental health.

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It’s no secret that work causes feelings of stress for many people. The American Institute of Stress found that 83 percent of US workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25 percent saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives. (Pretty intense!)

Here are some tips for handling stressful situations caused by work: 

Running Late in the Morning

If you’re constantly in a time crunch before leaving for work, try to do less with more focus. Instead of trying to tackle a million things at once, pick just two or three important tasks, giving each your whole attention before moving on to the next.

Maybe it’s feeding the dog, putting your hair in a quick ponytail, or getting your child ready for school.

Avoid the urge to frantically multitask and think about what’s truly important before heading out the door. For example, can your email wait until you get to your desk? Is it necessary to spend a ton of time on your hair?

Prioritizing essential tasks can help you focus and avoid becoming frazzled.

A Long Commute

Is there anything more stress-inducing than a traffic jam or a long commute? Whether you travel by car, bus, train, or bike, a long commute is one of those life circumstances that’s inherently frustrating because there’s nothing you can do about it.

Reframe the narrative and use it as time for yourself!

Instead of focusing on something you can’t change, listen to a funny podcast, play music, or focus on what you are grateful for today. If you ride the train or bus, use your time to make lists for the week ahead, journal, or start a juicy book that you only read when you’re commuting.

If feelings of frustration or impatience come up, try this: Take 10 deep inhales and exhales. On the inhales, say to yourself, “I accept what I cannot change.” As you exhale, say, “I use this time to be grateful for my breath.”

It’s amazing how a simple deep breathing exercise and positive self-talk can turn your day around!

Email Overwhelm

As the number of emails in your inbox rises, so can your stress. To be more productive, practice a strategy that many successful people use: only check your emails during designated times of the day.

You do not need to answer each email the second it arrives—doing so interrupts what you’re currently doing and forces you to switch back and forth between different tasks.

Neuroscientists have found that multitasking drains mental energy, causes fatigue, and actually hinders one’s ability to do any one task well. The reason? When you try to multitask, you don’t actually do more than one activity at once—you quickly switch between them.

This switching is exhausting and uses up the same brain fuel (oxygenated glucose) that’s needed to focus on a task. As a result, you end up feeling more tired more quickly.

Try designating a few specific times of the day to check your inbox, such as in the morning, at noon, at 2 PM, and at 5 PM. Unless it’s a high-priority task, save it for your email check-in times!

Whether you have kids to clean up after or are too tired at the end of the day to deal with it, keeping your home as clean as you’d like isn’t always easy. If you find stress levels rising over housework that’s piling up, a great way to handle it is also one of the most simple: pick your battles

Which room do you feel is most important to keep clean? Are you happier in a clean kitchen or when your bedroom is tidied up?

Decide which areas are your “priority areas,” and which ones can wait. Even cleaning just one room can significantly reduce stress! A 2017 study found that clutter was linked to procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. When you organize messes around your home, it can increase feelings of order and control, ultimately leading to a more positive mental state. 

Another way to ease housework stress? Clean in short spurts instead of spending long periods of time scrubbing or mopping. You’re more likely to become annoyed, frustrated, or tired, which, naturally, can lead to more stress. 

Throughout your day, you’re bound to have an irritating encounter or two. Maybe someone cuts ahead of you in line, or you have a notoriously cranky coworker who loves to complain to you.

Sometimes, the most stressful conflicts can be with people you normally get along with, too—a tiff with your spouse in the morning can stick with you all day and leave you feeling on edge.

So, how do you deal with a stressful interaction with another person? Try the 4-7-8 breath to de-escalate:

Breathe in for four seconds
Hold it for 7 seconds
Exhale for 8 seconds
Repeat the cycle for one minute

We can’t control what other people do, but we can control our reactions to it. When another person is irritating you, the 4-7-8 breathing technique helps ease anxiety and nervous tension.

Finding a calm place internally helps de-escalate the situation and allows you to own and control your response to someone rather than hastily reacting.

If you’re constantly scrolling online, you’re not alone: around 210 million people worldwide suffer from addiction to social media and the internet. Unfortunately, all that screen time is bound to have an effect on both your mental and physical health. 

Research has found that adults who spend time on social media sites such as TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat are more likely to report symptoms of depression. Another study reveals that more than six hours of screen time per day can lead to poor sleep quality, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and lack of concentration.

Of course, eliminating screen time completely isn’t always an option, especially if you work on a computer all day—but cutting back is. Here are some different ways to combat stress from too much screen time: 

Take frequent breaks during the day: If you work in an office and are glued to the computer screen for hours, try taking a break every 30 minutes. Not only does it give you a mental break, but research suggests that just 10 minutes of physical activity per day, such as walking, can lead to a longer life.
Find healthy distractions: Whether it’s reading a book, meditating, meeting up with friends, or incorporating regular exercise (try my favorite cardio workouts and strength training moves), there are plenty of healthy alternatives to spending time online. 
Be realistic with yourself: Before logging on to social media, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is there really anything to gain? Do you feel more relaxed afterward, or will all that scrolling leave you with a headache?
Keep track of your screen time: Most smartphones allow you to track your daily and weekly usage, which can be a huge wake-up call! Try cutting your time down gradually each week.
Try some quiet meditation every day: Set aside 15 minutes of quiet meditation per day to unwind. Just a few minutes away from screens (and blue light) can help relieve ongoing stress.

Getting enough sleep is essential for your overall health. Sleep allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest, and not getting enough can negatively impact your memory, judgment, energy levels, and mood. Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.

There’s also the sleep-stress cycle to consider: Stress causes insomnia, and in turn, insomnia causes major stress. It’s not a pretty cycle! When you’re tossing and turning at night, focusing on the fact that you’re awake when you shouldn’t can cause a great amount of stress.

So, how can you start getting a good night’s sleep?

Here are a few tips for logging more hours of sleep: 

Get out of bed: If you’re experiencing insomnia that lasts more than 10 to 15 minutes, get out of bed, go into another room, and do something relaxing. Read a book, have a glass of warm milk, meditate, journal, or whatever relaxation techniques work best for you. Just don’t put the focus on forcing yourself to sleep—focus instead on doing a simple task in a calm manner. Only get back into bed when you start to feel drowsy. You’ll take the pressure off yourself—and likely be able to fall back asleep in the process.
Stop scrolling: The blue light from smartphones can suppress melatonin levels, the hormone needed to help you fall asleep. Try to avoid scrolling the internet or social media while lying in bed!
Try meditation or sleep noises: Find a soothing, guided meditation specifically designed to help you sleep, or listen to green, brown, or white noise. They can all help calm your mind and ease you into a relaxing sleep.
Avoid caffeine before bed: Too much caffeine can cause you to fall asleep later and sleep for fewer hours. Experts recommend avoiding caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime. 

Check out my list of science-backed tips for getting better sleep for even more ideas!

Everyday stress comes with an array of negative effects on the body. Even minor acute stress can cause tension headaches, migraines, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and more. But over the long run, continual stress becomes chronic, and that’s when it can really wreak havoc on your body and mind.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress poses long-term threats to your respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and nervous systems. Yikes!

The potential effects of long-term stress include

Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
Fertility problems and low sex drive
Weakened immune system
High blood pressure
Increased weight gain, which can put you at greater risk for Diabetes or heart disease
High blood sugar
High inflammation in the body, which puts you at an increased risk of heart attack
Memory impairment and poor concentration
Increased instances of anxiety and depression

This is why stress management is crucial to your overall health! Managing your stress allows you to acknowledge your stressor and move on without letting it do long-term harm.

If managing it on your own is not producing positive changes, professional help is always available.

Sometimes, mental health professionals are the best way to combat chronic stress and get you feeling like yourself again. You don’t have to go through it alone! Emotional support from friends and family can also prove invaluable during times of severe stress.

Ultimately, it’s up to you—finding the best stress management solutions for your personal needs can lead to a healthier mind, body, and overall outlook on life. 

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