We are surrounded by stress. The speed of life and technology in large part are responsible for a decent amount of that stress. Before, when you left work you left all the communication at work, now emails follow you home in the evening and you wake up to more work. 

You hear about meditation and yoga everywhere as ways to help reduce stress. And you might be thinking, but how… How am I supposed to take care of work, family, kids, and still have time to dedicate to meditation. That usually goes to the background. 

So if you clicked on this post, you’re probably wondering how you can reduce your everyday stress, so let’s just cut to the chase. Here are a list of 10 tools to use: 


1. Guided Imagining Visualization

Guided Imagining has been used for a long time in different indigenous cultures as well as Hinduism and as a part of Chinese medicine. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it was introduced by Joseph Wolpe. It has grown in it’s popularity since then and multiple doctors incorporated it into their practice. 

How do you do it? This method is taught by a professional and usually is a practice that takes 10 minutes a day and the course lasts from four to eight weeks. The goal of GI is to use images from your mind to help find ways to create symbolic associations with certain feelings. Essentially it’s accessing memories or images in your mind and linking them with a state of relaxation. 

It has been proven to help with depression, successfully reduce stress and aid as an anxiety treatment. It also has been known to help with pain management and even as cancer therapy. GI has been researched and proven to be beneficial through the decades. 


2. EFT

EF,T also known as Tapping has been introduced in the 90’s by Gary Craig. This method combines cognitive as well as somatic elements. 

How do you do it? EFT or Emotional freedom technique works by tapping on nine acupoints while saying affirmations or short phrases with important meaning while tapping. Based on the research, imaginal exposure when paired with acupressure can help reduce midbrain hyperarousal and reduces stress and anxiety as well as helps work through and reduce traumatic memories. 

EFT can help reduce pain perception, help with the way certain phobias affect anxiety and depression and even PTSD. 


3. Prioritize Sleep

Sometimes even taking a nap is helpful but it’s not something that can be easily done when needed. It is important however to prioritize sleep and a stable sleep schedule. We make kids have a bedtime, yet when we grow up we don’t think of it as nearly as important to be on a schedule. 

How do you do it? Well, we all know how to sleep. But there are a couple tricks that can make sleep better: 

-Turn off technology at least 30 minutes, ideally 60-90 minutes before going to bed. 

-Wear some blue light blockers if you have to use the computer late. 

-Create an evening routine that’s relaxing on it’s own and is focused on winding down.

-Read some fiction to escape this world and go somewhere different and stress free.

-Have the window open before going to bed to keep the room cool- cool air aids in better sleep quality.

Better sleep quality will aid in stress reduction just by normalizing the cortisol production cycle. Also, to provide a simple example of how much of a difference it makes, have you ever been so busy during the week and then had a proper night’s sleep on a weekend and felt truly revived… Imagine that, but every night. 


4. Transcendental Meditation

This meditation technique was first introduced to the west by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a scholar of the ancient Vedic tradition of India.

What is it and how does one do it? The Transcendental Meditation is a 20 minute meditation that you do two times a day with your eyes closed while saying a mantra. This matra is different to every person and is dedicated to promote a natural shift of awareness to the peaceful state while being awake. TM is taught by a certified teacher and it is taught in the form of a 7 step course. Through this meditation you can reach a state of transcendental consciousness, which is not quite an awake state nor sleeping. 

This technique can help improve brain function as well as attention. Studies have shown that this technique improves stress resilience in people who practice it. TM can also help in anxiety reduction, overall depression and stress management as well as better recovery from stress.

5. Journaling

You probably have heard this one before, and you might even roll your eyes right about now, but please, let me tell you. It’s not that different from therapy, but you can do it for free in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes just writing out your feelings and thoughts can help release them from the body onto the paper and that alone is so beneficial. 

Journaling can help reduce stress and manage the negative thoughts that are causing it. It can improve cognitive functioning and even immune system response! Who doesn’t want that? 

And if you’re thinking that you’re not much of a journaling person, I get it, there have been products developed specifically for you, like a 5 minute journal. Take 5 minutes out of your day to write down things that you’re grateful for and that bring you joy in your life and that can go a long way. Morning pages is another cool practice of free form writing 3 pages every morning as a stream of consciousness. That will take more time, that’s for sure, but I’m just providing you options and ideas and you can go for whatever works best for you, dear reader!


6. Healing Dance

You heard it right, dance as a way to de-stress. We know that exercise is a good form of de-stressing. You can dance in the morning when you wake up or when you’re taking a break from work in the middle of the day or at any time you’re feeling stressed out and you just need to switch the wavelengths. 

How do you do it? Turn on some of your favorite music, (if you have roommates or family members who you don’t want to witness your dancing, close the door) and just dance. Jump around, shake your arms and hands to shake off all the negative energy. It might feel silly in the beginning, but I promise you, even one song, 3 minutes of just dancing by yourself will make you feel so much better. 

It has been documented that music has soothing powers but combined with movement it helps release endorphins and make you feel calmer, happier and overall less stressed out. 


7. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Technically speaking, diaphragmatic breathing is the proper way to breathe, but breathing with our chest is just an easier and quicker way so we adapted to doing that. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just different. 

Diaphragmatic breathing is breathing deep through the stomach and it has been known to have so many positive effects. It helps you relax during the practice, brings down levels of stress and helps with sleep and digestion. It even has been proven to be beneficial for people with PTSD.

Practice this simple exercise to improve your diaphragmatic breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable position either lying on your back or sitting. If you’re sitting down, make sure that you keep your back straight, have both feet on the floor, and release the tension in your shoulders by letting them drop.
  2. Close your eyes. Alternatively, you can keep your eyes open (and eventually you likely will) but closing your eyes helps you to focus on the mechanics of breathing rather than outside stimuli.
  3. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  4. Take a few breaths as you normally would. Does your belly rise and fall with every breath in (inhalation) and every breath out (exhalation)? If you can answer “yes,” that’s good. This is the natural way of breathing. If your belly stays still but your chest rises and falls with every breath, practice breathing by only allowing your belly to rise and fall when you breathe in and out.
  5. Continue to take deep breaths, concentrating on only moving your belly. As you take a breath in through your nose, imagine a balloon being blown up in your stomach. When you exhale, breathe out through your mouth as if you are blowing out through a straw.
  6. Continue as long as you would like.


8. Exercise

I think the only reason I didn’t put this one first is to keep things interesting. We all know that movement is crucial in aiding stress reduction. The benefits are vast and can be truly life changing. 

How do you do it? Exercise doesn’t have to be this huge overwhelming thing. If you’re already stressed out and you need to lower it, don’t overthink or overwhelm yourself! Go for something as simple as walking around the neighborhood, or going for a quick little jog. Consistency here is key. 

Exercise can help with cortisol control, and cortisol is a stress hormone. It helps release endorphins, improves sleep, helps with self confidence and can improve your metabolism. Find an activity that speaks to you the most and stick to it for a couple weeks, you’ll be amazed on how much can change in just a short amount of time. 


9. Prioritize yourself and say no more often

I want to clarify this one from the beginning. I’m not saying stop going out with people and being active. What I am saying is when you are asked to go do something, and you don’t feel like it, vocalize it. If you really want to be extra courteous, explain that your personal space needs extra peace right now and you need to listen to your gut and your body and do what’s best for you. It can be scary, but true friends will understand and people who find it convenient to be friendly with you might fall into the background and that can be good for your inner peace by itself. 

How to do it? “Hey Sarah, do you want to go out tomorrow night?” “Hey Megan, I’d love to, but i’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately and I think it’d be good for me to just sit this one out.”

The characters in this situation are subjects of my imagination and if that gave you a little laugh, I feel like my job has been done. 


10. Shower or bath

Don’t you get all your best ideas in the shower too? This one however is slightly more about baths and it goes back in time pretty far back. The bathing culture or bath houses back in Ancient Rome, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Russia and so many other countries. People would get together and go to a bath house to relax in hot water and talk to friends. 

Your skin can release endorphins in response to warm water, the same way it does in response to the sun. Have you ever got into a bath or a hot tub and just went “aaaaahhhh” that soothing moment that happens the moment you get into the water. Warm baths can improve breathing, help with blood flow in the body, and have therapeutic effects. 

I think for this one the ‘how to’ would be: fill up the tub with hot water, add some epsom salt, bubbles or a bath bomb of your choosing, get in and “aaaaahhh” and enjoy. 










By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editors: Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio & Katie McKenzie