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These Are The Best (& We Mean Best) Tips To Reduce Anxiety, From mbg's CEO

Jamie Schneider
Author:
January 17, 2023
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
By Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy
January 17, 2023

Everyone favors different techniques and practices to manage their stress. For example, some may swear by a regular gratitude practice, while others find success with a daily afternoon stroll. Not every tip—no matter how absolutely life-changing it may seem on social media—will work for you. And that's OK! 

That being said, if someone has access to the best doctors and mental health experts in the game, it would be a mistake not to at least consider their tried-and-true habits. Our co-founder and CEO, Jason Wachob, has chatted with countless neuroscientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists on the mindbodygreen podcast about the best stress-reducing tips. As a result, he has picked up quite the restorative routine over the years. 

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Below, find the daily stress-relieving practices Wachob swears by—we bet you'll add one or two to your own regimen: 

1.

Meditation.

"I am a meditator off and on," Wachob says during a conversation with psychologist and stress researcher Elissa Epel, Ph.D. Specifically, he's a big fan of Vedic and Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes per day. "With kids, that practice kind of disappeared. Now, it's maybe a couple minutes a day, maybe twice, maybe every other day," he adds. It's not always consistent, but whenever he can find the time, he'll sit and collect his thoughts. 

2.

Breathwork. 

Breathwork, on the other hand, is much easier to make an everyday habit. You can do it anywhere and any time, and it can be as short or as long as you need. "I subscribe to the simple, inhale for two, hold, exhale for four [practice]," Wachob says. 

This timed-breath routine where the exhales are longer than the inhales can help immediately soothe the nervous system—here's a full tutorial, if you'd like to follow along. 

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3.

Regular exercise. 

The link between exercise and mental health is well documented. For instance, when you increase your heart rate, your body pumps more oxygen to your brain—and multiple studies1 have found that a well-oxygenated brain helps manage anxiety and depression2. Other studies have found that exercise may help alleviate depression and anxiety overall3

Wachob's general exercise philosophy? "Always try to be moving," he says. He does try to schedule some resistance training a couple of times a week for 25 to 30 minutes, and he loves practicing yoga on the weekends—but it can be difficult for him to pencil in frequent trips to the gym.

So, in addition to quick at-home workouts, he emphasizes the importance of walking. "I walk all the time," he notes. "I have a rule: If I [have] less than five flights, I'll take the stairs. I try to take 11,000 to 12,000 steps a day." 

4.

Time outdoors. 

"Being outside…There's so much great science there," says Wachob. Specifically, one study out of Japan4 found that taking a walk in the woods as opposed to the city delivered a 12% decrease in cortisol levels, a 7% decrease in sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nerve activity, and a 6% decrease in heart rate, plus a better mood overall. 

"That's one of the reasons we love the warm weather. We love being near the water. We love nature," Wachob adds. If you don't have access to forests or seawater, don't fret: Indoor nature spaces can have beneficial health impacts5, too. 

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5.

Targeted botanicals.

At the end of the day, it's impossible to evade stress forever. And you shouldn't want to! Some stress is actually beneficial to your health! "Most people can't eliminate stress, and doing so would be a fool's errand," Wachob says. "It's more about managing stress, accepting stress, and changing your relationship with stress." 

That said, he loves anything that can help turn the volume down on stress, if not eliminate it entirely. Specifically, certain botanicals like hemp oil, ashwagandha, and lavender oil have been clinically shown to improve stress resilience, elicit relaxation, and balance mood. You can find a list of high-quality supplements featuring these ingredients here, some of which happen to be Wachob's all-time favorites. 

The takeaway. 

These habits sound pretty simple—and that's the point! After all, managing stress shouldn't feel like a giant undertaking (that will only add more of a mental burden to your day, don't you think?). "It's about these micro-moments, if you will," Wachob adds. "The big change post-kids is just finding the time."

RELATED: Want To Stress Less? These 14 Science-Backed Supplements Can Help*

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Jamie Schneider
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.