How do I know how to reduce your stress in 30 days or less? Well… for most of my life I’d have told you “stress” was my middle name. I was born with stress, lived it my whole childhood, and as an adult it only worsened. Just to be clear, I don’t mean just one kind of stress. I mean acute stress -> chronic stress -> acute stress -> stress habits -> chronic stress. I mean, I think you get the picture! The stress cycle I was experiencing was never ending. It was so intense and overwhelming that it literally led to serious physical illness.
That’s when I realized something had to give. Because y’all, my stress really was killing me. I was desperate to reduce my stress and tried just about everything I could think of. Some things worked, some things didn’t, and some took so much time that it really didn’t matter. I mean, c’mon, if there’s one thing you don’t want it’s to wait a long time for stress relief. So, if you’re stressed in any way and you want to reduce your stress in 30 days or less, check out these super effective and easy to implement techniques.
I know… I might sound like a broken record here, but affirmations ARE the foundation for all self-improvement. If you want things to get better, you need to believe they can. You need to believe you deserve it and this is particularly true with stress.
So much of our stress is caused by people pleasing, expectations, and poor coping skills we learned in childhood. We struggle to let go, to break the shame and blame cycle, and to trust ourselves. Of course, we’re stressed! How would we not be!
Rewiring your brain (yes, that’s what affirmations do) to create resilience and creativity is everything. The best part is… it only takes about 1 minute a day to do affirmations and you’ll reduce stress within just a couple weeks.
Just to be clear… affirmations work for everyone (scientific fact). If you’re finding they aren’t working for you you may need a little help creating customized affirmations and building a powerful practice. No worries… I’ve got you on this one, check out my next Affirmation Workshop Week. You’re going to love it! (Oh… and even if you have an affirmation practice, super charge it with this free training)!
In the hustle bustle world we live in we often forget to take the time to nourish our spirit. Listen we all have on and it needs TLC just like your body and mental health. Regardless of your religious background or spiritual awareness you need to take time to connect.
- Connect with yourself and your intuition.
- Connect with God.
- Connect with your breath.
- Just connect already!
We all have a longing within us to be connected to something bigger than ourselves. Neglecting or ignoring that is profoundly stressful. There is comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone. So… meditate, pray, worship, study. Do the things that nourish your spirit every single day! This is a surefire way to begin to reduce stress almost immediately.
I know, I know… many of you may be reading this because you want to reduce stress so you can sleep and I’m telling you you need to sleep to reduce stress. The stress / sleep cycle is definitely a catch 22. But there is something you can do to improve your sleep right now, even if you are super stressed. Be intentional about it!
- Create a bedtime and morning routine you can actually follow with ease.
- Go to bed and wake at the same time every day
- Sleep only at night (be careful about napping while you’re establishing a sleep schedule)
- No electronics within a half hour or bedtime or waking.
- Do a brain dump to kick off your bedtime routine every night.
- For more sleep information check out my post about sleep, here.
Nothing looks as bad after a good night’s rest. Ensuring that you’re getting enough sleep every night will reduce your stress level and enable you to make clear minded decisions to address whatever it is that’s stressing you out.
Prioritizing sleep is also insanely important to your physical health. Does it take a little longer than the other items on this list… well, that depends on where you’re starting. But once you’ve established good sleep habits, they’re very likely to stick and you’ll reap the benefits in every area of your life. Well worth the effort!
Have you ever heard the term “shake it off”? Well… turns out that actually works. Now, I’m not saying you literally have to shake (though my fave way to move my body is dancing) but you do need to get moving.
Moving your body is an excellent way to get your mind otherwise occupied and to stimulate the release of feel-good hormones like endocannabinoids and endorphins. But did you know that when you exercise intensely your body also produces specific hormones designed only to reduce stress? Why… well because your body sees the movement as stress, and it’s designed to help you overcome that!
Sitting at your desk all day or spending too much time behind a screen increase your stress levels so even if you aren’t feeling very motivated… get moving. You’ll see reduction in your stress level as soon as you get yourself committed to movement. Even 10 minutes a day will pay off!
While we’re talking about ways to get your body to produce anti-stress hormones there are a couple other techniques you can try out.
Cold Showers / Ice Baths
Cold showers and ice baths are all the rage right now. I’m not sure if it’s Mark Sisson including them in his morning routine, the dipping pool in the background of some of the I am Not Your Guru Tony Robbins documentary or something else entirely, but I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter about them. And I’ve noticed that while hoards of people are talking about it very few know why it’s a thing to do. So… let me share…
It stimulates your immune and circulatory system by increasing heart rate and muscle contraction.
It reduces stress and makes you sleep like a baby by stimulating endorphin production. Endorphins naturally reduces stress by changing your body chemistry. Staying in that cold water for 3- 5 minutes has a massive and almost immediate pay off!
Doing things that are safe but scary is also an excellent way to get your body chemistry working for you. Often the reason it’s so difficult to alleviate chronic stress is because our body normalizes it. Getting out of your stress comfort zone is a great way to signal your body that you’ll be needing some of those anti-stress hormones asap.
Scary things to try out…
- Horror movies
- Haunted houses
- Roller coasters
- Sky diving
- Rock climbing / ropes courses
It works best if your body senses some type of physical danger. Like the cold-water technique, you’re likely to see results very quickly. BUT… don’t engage in scary stuff right before bed, it’s likely to mess up your sleep.
There’s something almost magical about time spend in nature and there’s good reason for it… it’s only natural. There’s been a ton of research around the benefits of time outside on mental health and stress management. Whether you’re doing your workout outdoors, gardening, going for a walk or camping, spending time reconnecting with nature is an excellent way to reduce stress.
For additional benefits, skip the sunscreen for at least 10 minutes a day. This will help increase vitamin D absorption. A couple of the many side effects of vitamin D deficiency are depression and anxiety which both contribute significantly to stress.
Reduce stress with the mental and physical benefits of time spent outdoors. If you struggle with anxiety be sure to check out my post here for anxiety management tips.
Let Go (vent / brain dump)
You can’t ignore stress away! It will linger. It will gnaw at you. And chances are it will get worse. Keeping it all bottled up isn’t a good strategy. Instead… let it out and let it go! There are many ways to go about this but a few of mine are talking to a therapist or trusted confidant, brain dumping, and questioning. I’m pretty sure you’re clear on the talking part but the brain dump and questioning might be new, so let me elaborate.
Anytime I’m feeling stressed (whether it’s chronic or acute) I grab a notebook and write everything that crosses my mind. No censoring, no trying to make sense, just getting everything out on paper. This works even if I’m not sure where the root of my stress is and sometimes even helps me get to the heart of it so it can be addressed and resolved. Since I’m one of those people who lays in bed and thinks all the thoughts rather than falling asleep, I often start my bedtime routine with a brain dump. I find that getting my thoughts out on paper helps me fall asleep quickly and peacefully. This technique often offers immediate stress reduction for me.
Ok… so really, I do this more to prevent stress and overwhelmed but when I was starting out I was ALWAYS stressed and overwhelmed so I had to start where I was. This works. I simply started asking myself “is this mine”? Every time I felt stressed (and could identify why), every time I felt stretched too thin, every time I felt overwhelmed, I asked this question. It helped me identify the things I needed to ask for help with, delegate, and let go of. It made all the difference in the world to me and still does.
Pro-tip: If you’re anything like me this will be a difficult habit to create without reminders. I put post-it notes with “is this mine” all over my house as prompts to keep my mindful.
Celebrate Your Wins
Sometimes the best way to reduce stress is to shift your focus. That’s why gratitude journaling works so well and so does celebrating your wins. It helps you keep your focus on the progress you’re making and the joy in the journey. This reduces stress and makes your efforts more enjoyable. Make the intentional choice to celebrate your wins to maintain a positive mindset and keep stress at bay. And remember, learning stress management techniques is a win… so what are you waiting for… CELEBRATE!
Share the stress management tip from this post you think will most help you in the comments.