5 Stress Relievers That Are Virtually Free and Totally Good for You

We all experience stress. It can come with change, insecurity, a long to-do-list, or sometimes seemingly out of nowhere.

Here are some helpful tips to manage and get rid of your stress, no matter where you are or how tight your budget is:

1. Try breathing exercises and meditation. 

Focusing on taking full, deep, cleansing breaths is one of the most effective and quickest ways to relieve stress. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your nose, feeling the breath fill you and then exit. Watch your breath move throughout you with your mind's eye, bringing your attention to your internal self, and feel your body relax.

Bringing your conscious attention to your breath automatically calms your mind and brings you to a state of meditation. A technique for beginner mediators is to count your breath, on the exhale, up to ten and then begin back at one. If you lose track, simply go back to one.  To learn more about mediation, please read here.

2. Relish good music and good memories. 

A study was performed at a nursing home that found that when individuals listened to music from their favorite era, (say, the 1950s), their seratonin levels increased and their symptoms of depression decreased.

I think this tells us that forcing ourselves to take a break in the day and listen to an old favorite song, looking at photos of happy memories, or talking to a long-time friend for a few minutes really makes a difference in our mood and state of mind. It doesn't take long, and it has profound effects on your overall well-being!

3. Use nature to find inner peace. 

Find a place to sit for at least 15 minutes where you won’t be too distracted by cars or other people. Just sit there.

By actively watching your surroundings, you will see that the trees, grass, and plants must adapt to survive. Change should be embraced with trust that it is necessary in order for something better to enter your life.

Focus on one tree for a minute and notice how it adapted to its surroundings in order to grow. Maybe you notice that there is a fence obstructing where branches could grow, and see that the tree gracefully re-directed itself in order to survive and flourish. The tree doesn’t give up just because there are obstacles. Obstacles are just a reason to find a new path. Don’t stress about the obstacles in your life. Trust in yourself and in the Universe that a new path will appear for you to flourish in.

4. Think about the Universe, and put it in perspective. 

Put your worries into perspective. Although you may have a few things on your plate that you could do without, is that "thing" that's stressing you out so much really going to matter in 5 days, 5 years, or 50 years from now?

Maybe yes.

But honestly, nothing is so important that you sacrifice your health, your state of mind, and your interactions with others. Being in a state of stress is not only destructive to your immune system and overall health, but it doesn't feel good, either.

Your stressor is going to exist regardless of how you respond to it...you might as well have a positive attitude about it. It is what it is, why make things worse by your reaction to it?

Isn't it relieving to know that you are responsible for how you react to events in life? Once you stop giving control to things outside yourself, (i.e.: the "stressful event" that occurred), you stop victimizing yourself and take back the control of your emotional response and the world is yours.

And... I like to think that a positive attitude not only makes the feeling of being overwhelmed disappear, but it makes you feel better, too.

5. Write down an action plan

Action plans are always a go-to to alleviate stress. Jotting down a few quick bullet points immediately allows your mind to let go of that stressful thought. A list lets you focus on relaxing but still know that you have a plan to conquer the to do list, or whatever the stress is.

If all else fails, take a nap!

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