how to relieve stress naturally

We all lead stressful lives. Whether we're chasing after toddlers or negotiating with tough bosses, stress is unavoidable. It's just part of life. But instead of self-medicating or ignoring it, here are 7 strategies for how to relieve stress naturally.

1. Breathe

It may sound obvious, but one way to relieve stress naturally is to breathe. Now, I'm not talking about the kind of breathing we do everyday. I'm talking about a mindful, slow, deliberate breath.

Slow it down. Count to ten.

I like to use a visual to force me to breathe more slowly. I inhale while I trace up one of my fingers with my other hand. Then exhale as I trace down. And on and on until I've made it all the way around my hand.

2. Change you Focus

Stress accumulates when we keep focusing on how stressed we are. Instead, change your focus.

Listen to the birds chirping.

Watch the clouds go by.

Make it a point to relieve stress by stopping obsessing about how stressed you are.

3. Exercise

This is definitely not my favorite way to relieve stress naturally, but it is effective.

Running or pumping iron are proven ways to reduce that stress. It releases endorphins and helps regulate that breathing.

An especially vigorous work-out can also help take your mind off whatever was stressing you out in the first place.

4. Get Outside

I'm a big fan of communing with nature. I take walks in the woods and birdwatch in the backyard.

It's proven that getting outside, getting some fresh air, and soaking in some Vitamin D can help you destress, so the next time you're feeling overwhelmed just walk out that front door and take a hike.

Now, you don't have to actually take a literal hike in the woods. I used to just walk around the block during my lunch hour when my stress levels started to rise. Any outside is better than no outside when you're stressed out and ready to blow.

5. Talk to Someone

I'm also a big therapy fan. Talking out my stresses with someone has historically really helped me to better handle said stress.

It doesn't have to be a therapist. Now there are hip apps you can try to deal with stress or you can talk to a trusted friend or family member.

Talking is talking. We're social beings, and it can help immensely to get some of our stresses of our chests.

6. Make a Change

Talking to someone about your stress can help you reach this next hot tip: change something about your life to feel less stressed more often.

This isn't always possible, but when it is, it's the clearest path to a less stressful life.

Job putting you over the top? Cut back hours. Quit. Get more organized.

Don't just accept your stress as inevitable. Make a change. Try something else. 

7. Play

This is my favorite trick for dealing with stress. Play.

As we age, we take on responsibilities, but that doesn't mean we have to stop having fun.

Play can be a powerful tool for dealing with stress. Turn mundane tasks into games and watch the stress melt away.

Play Your Way Sane is a 12 lesson/120 game system I've created to help you harness the power of play so that you can be more relaxed and stress free. Welcome!