10 Proven Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress

A survey of 2,500 adults found that almost half said they had experienced a major stressful event in the last year. Stress seems to be an inevitable part of our lives. While sometimes it can be really healthy, too much of it can have some pretty detrimental effects on our health.

So how can you escape the harmful effects of stress? Here are 10 proven ways to clear your mind of stress.

1. Talk about it

Instead of keeping it all in, talk about it. Keeping everything to yourself can only add to your stress. Discussing your issues will help to relieve some pressures, and can even help you come to a solution. And of course, the person you talk to can also help you see the problem in a different light.[1]

What to do: Sit with a friend, family member, or even a stranger and just talk. Don’t think of it as burdening someone else with your problems, but rather asking someone for help. Chances are, you’ll find yourself feeling much lighter without all the stress weighing you down.

2. Exercise more

Exercise is good on any occasion, not just when you’re stressed! Studies show that exercise can have anti-anxiety effects.[2]Aerobic activity can decrease tension, stabilize mood, and improve sleep. In addition, it is excellent for improving cognitive ability because it reduces fatigue and increases concentration and alertness.

What to do: Run, play sports, lift weights, or do 100 jumping jacks in the middle of your bedroom. Whatever you do, just do enough to get your heart pumping and get sweaty. Just put aside all the stressful things in your life and focus on your health.

3. Meditate

Exercise for your body is important, but so is exercise for your mind! It may seem like a hassle at times, but meditation and yoga are key solutions to many problems we might face. Studies show that some unconventional alternative mental health therapy helps to improve emotional regulation, learning, cognition, and memory.[3]Studies also show that yoga helps to slow down physiological arousal, allowing you to be more relaxed.[4]

What to do: Find the time to take a yoga class, or try meditating before you go to sleep. Even if you do either for just a few minutes a day, your mind will thank you.

4. Do something you enjoy

Stress tends to make us forget about the good things in life. Take the time to do what you love to do. Doing something that you’re passionate about activates your pleasure centers and releases endorphins, which is also released during exercise.[5]

What to do: Find something that makes you happy, whether it’s reading a book, dancing, hiking, or even skydiving. Make time to pursue it and you might find your mood and spirits lifting.

5. Shut everything off

Sometimes life just gets too overwhelming that you just want to get away. It doesn’t help that with today’s technology, we’re always available.[6]Take the time to just put everything aside and relax without any distractions.

What to do: Put away your phone, shut down your laptop, and just put aside any electronic devices. Try to forget about anything that causes you stress, and instead choose to get some fresh air and reflect on positive things. Think of it as taking a mental vacation.

6. Don’t stress unnecessarily

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Some things in life are just not worth stressing over. It’s easy to have the stress pile on you, and it’s easy to have unnecessary stresses follow you around.[7]Be sure to put in mental effort to keep unnecessary stress from getting to you.

What to do: Decide not to take stress from work with you at home. When you don’t need to be stressing over something, make the effort to push it out of your mind.

7. Write it down

Sometimes the stress can be too overwhelming, and you might not have someone to talk to. Writing down all your stresses can also be a very therapeutic technique.[8]

What to do: Take a pen and a piece of paper and just write. Don’t think just write the first thing that comes to your head. You might just find that the words will come flowing out, and you might even feel lighter for having your stress off your chest. If you’re experiencing something extremely stressful, you could even try just crumpling the paper and throwing it away.

8. Hug and cuddle

Having physical contact with someone though hugging or cuddling releases a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone promotes bonding, whether it’s between mother and child, or between friends. Oxytocin has the ability to lower your stress, by lowering your blood pressure, and lowering anxiety.[9]

What to do: First, find a friend or a loved one. Then, just ask for a hug, or even to cuddle with them while watching TV. Having healthy doses of oxytocin will really help to relieve much of the stress you might be facing.

9. Sing and dance

Find an emotional outlet for stress, by singing and dancing.[10][11]Dancing’s effects can be similar to exercise by getting your heart pumping and releasing endorphins. Singing also allows you to focus on something other than what’s stressing you out, giving you a nice mental break.

What to do: Sing aloud to your favorite song, and dance as much as you want! Try it long enough that you barely think about your stresses. If you’re dancing, try to really get your heart pumping, and getting those endorphins flowing! Also, remember that relaxing music can help relieve stress, so put on some relaxing music and sing away.

10. Laugh

Laughter really is the best medicine. It stimulates so many of your organs- from your lungs to your muscles. It also stimulates the brain to release endorphins. Laughing can help to reduce tension, by bringing more blood flow to your muscles and relieving some symptoms of stress.[12]

What to do: Just find something that makes you have a good laugh. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a comedian of a friend, or a hilarious movie, as long as you’re laughing you’ll start to feel some of your stress relieved.

Image Source: C3 for Stress

About The Author

Jessica Prashad is neuroscience and psychology student, and a writer at CogniFit, a major vendor in neuropsychological assessments. She is fascinated with all things people, from the way our brains work to how we think. She is always looking for new things to learn, and is eager to help others be inspired