Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

While these quick ways to relieve stress won’t solve the underlying issues causing stress in your life, they will help you relax and reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing.

If at all possible, you should integrate relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation into your daily routine, but you likely won’t have time to introduce such changes when a tight deadline is looming.

If you’re in such a situation, follow the instructions below and your stress levels should decrease temporarily and allow you to focus on what needs to get done now.

5-Minute Stress Relief

Pick one of these 6 ways to relieve stress:

  • Sit upright, close your eyes and form fists with your hands. As you breathe in, tighten your fists. Breathe out slowly and release your fists. Keep breathing deeply for 2 minutes. Make sure your breath makes your stomach rise and fall (not just your chest). Let your eyebrows relax, keep your shoulders low and breathe deeply and slowly. Think about someone you love (could be a person or a pet).
  • Keep an aromatherapy bottle nearby and inhale essential oils to calm you down and improve your state of mind. For example, jasmine oil can improve your mood and increase your creativity while sandalwood can help reduce stress. There are many other oils that can help reduce stress such as neroli and ylang ylang. Learn more about using aromatherapy for relaxation.
  • Have a good laugh. Forget about your problems and chat with a friend instead. Sharing funny stories and having a good laugh at ourselves, especially in stressful situations, can alleviate some stress.
  • Listen to an audio guided meditation session and follow along. There are many meditation CDs or audio books that can help you relax. I highly recommend Meditations to Change Your Brain. Pick a short meditation session, let your mind forget about your current issues and let it be guided by the soothing voice and relax for five minutes or so. If you don’t have access to a meditation tape, simply breathe and think about your life purpose. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What will your life feel like then? What can you do today to get a little closer to your dream?
  • Get some fresh air. If possible, go outside to enjoy the sunshine, breeze and flora. If you can’t leave the building, take a stroll around your floor or take an extended bathroom break. It’s amazing how a short break can give you a new perspective when you return to your task at hand.
  • When your to-do list becomes too long, it’s difficult to find any motivation to get started on it. If that’s the case for you, forget about your long list for now. Pick one project that you need to work on, and identify the first step to getting it done. What tiny action can you take now to start the process? Don’t worry about completing the whole project today. Simply identify the first step and take action now.

If you ever have distracting and stressful thoughts popping into your mind, write them down and allow yourself time to forget about them for now, with the promise of returning to them later on. This tip is particularly helpful if you have trouble falling asleep at night.


Learning to Manage Your Stress – Ways to Relieve Stress

While these 5-minute stress relief tips and ways to relieve stress may help you in the short term, you really need to address the underlying issues that are causing stress in your life.


Knowing how to relieve stress is a very useful skill to have in our stressful world. In order to learn to relieve stress, you will first need to recognize when stress is affecting you.

Human beings do not react in the exact same manner when put under stress, so you will have to discover your very own stress symptoms.

The human body initially reacts to stress in a very general manner that remains common for all. The specifics of how your body then deals with the stress reaction that follows will vary.

How Stress Affects Your Body

When you mentally recognize or think you recognize danger, a whole sequence of events is triggered by your brain. Your nervous system gets a boost from a release of chemicals. Your heart rate then increases and your breathing accelerates.

These reactions are important in getting you ready for action. Your reflexes get sharper and you know you have to deal with the danger at hand.

If you try to imagine how the cavemen reacted when faced with imminent danger from a predator, it’s easy to realize that our natural reaction to danger is actually a good one that can save our life.

Unfortunately, most of the “dangers” that are recognized by our brain are not physical dangers, but psychological dangers. The initial body reaction can still be useful when confronted with “dangers” such as deadlines, public speaking, or meeting certain people.

This initial body reaction is good when kept under control and when it doesn’t last long. You can imagine that your body was not meant to function at such elevated rates all the time and negative consequences arise when your stress levels are too high for too long.

Read more on the effects of stress on this stress management tips page.

Learning How to Relieve Stress

This is why it’s important to learn how to relieve stress before you reach the critical threshold that can lead you to depression, burn-out, and other downsides of stress.

The most efficient way to relieve stress is to learn to breathe properly. Your emotional state affects the way you breathe. For example, anger makes your breath shorter, shallower and faster. When you are relaxed, your breath is longer, deeper and slower. You can easily see that stress will affect your breathing like anger does.

Such shorter, shallower and faster breath affects the equilibrium between oxygen and carbon dioxide. When the balance is lost, you experience, dizziness, panic attacks, faintness, sweating and other physical and psychological symptoms can be triggered.


Many people hyperventilates when facing a stressful situation or even when making an emotional connection to a past experience.

Fortunately, there are some breathing exercises that you can do anywhere that will improve your overall breathing. When you are confronted with stress, you can also focus on your breathing to help take the edge off. You should take a deep breath while mentally counting to 4 as you inhale. Then pause for 2, and exhale for 4 seconds. Pause for 2 and repeat.

How to Relieve Stress – More Relaxation Methods

There are countless ways to relieve stress but many of them involve a deeper change of lifestyle. Check out these links on other ways to relieve stress at home:


Final Thoughts on Stress Relief

Fortunately, you can work on your breathing on your own in the comfort of your home, or even your office. Learning how to relieve stress through improving your breathing skills is a wonderful way to improve relaxation at home and to improve your concentration, focus and overall well-being.

If you are looking for professional help to deal with stress and anxiety, there are other options.
Read more on what Chartered Psychologists recommend on the Psychology 4 You site.

You can also learn how to deal with stress with this great information: