Start A Petition

11 Tips to Lower Stress

Health & Wellness  (tags: americans, AlternativeMed, babies, children, diet, disease, drugs, environment, ethics, exercise, family, food, healthcare, humans, medicine, nutrition, prevention, safety, science, study, society, Stress )

- 1931 days ago -
Studies have shown the benefits of lowering stress , and that high levels of worry and stress can negatively impact your health.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 7:26 am
Photo: tipologist

Everyone feels stressed out sometimes, but if you don't keep your stress level in check, it could become overwhelming.

Studies have shown the benefits of lowering stress , and that high levels of worry and stress can negatively impact your health. In 2010, researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine found that people with higher job stress also had a higher body mass index (BMI) than employees with less stressful positions.

A 2006 study from Tel Aviv University in Israel showed that workers who experienced high stress levels were 1.8 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. And another 2006 study from the University of California at San Francisco showed that stress-triggered hormones could worsen or even cause skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema.

Feeling stressed out over your stress levels yet? Here are 11 tips to help you live a little less stressed.

Take a yoga class

Yoga not only keeps your body in shape and improves flexibility, it also helps you cope with stress and lower inflammation.

Inflammation is an immune response that can be beneficial, such as when your body is fighting off infection, but chronically high levels of inflammation have been tied to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, asthma and depression. [The Science of Yoga and Why It Works ]

A 2010 study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University showed that when yoga experts were exposed to stressors such as dipping their feet in ice water, they experienced less of an increase in their body's inflammatory response than yoga novices who were subjected to the same stressors.

Get more zzz's

Getting adequate sleep doesn't just make you look better, it also improves your health and helps you stress less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unfortunately, poor sleep and stress can be a vicious cycle: feeling stressed out during the day can cause you to toss and turn at night, then feel tired and even more stressed the following day.

A 2010 study from the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, Mo., showed that people with chronic stress reported shorter sleep duration and worse sleep quality. The researchers also found that individuals who slept less were more likely to report feeling more stress.

Try talk therapy

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is often used as a stress management tool to ease symptoms of stress and anxiety. In talk therapy, patients and psychotherapists discuss the patient's problems and work together to correct negative or distorted thinking patterns.

There are various types of talk therapy treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and group therapy, but what they all have in common is that they aim to help patients deal with their negative thoughts or feelings and make positive changes to better deal with daily stress.

Meditate to mellow out

Numerous studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, which include soothing stress, decreasing blood pressure, easing feelings of pain and even preventing relapses in patients with depression.

For example, a 2008 study from Emory University in Atlanta showed that Zen meditation, which encourages mental awareness and control of one's thoughts while focusing on breathing, could treat disorders marked by distracting thoughts, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

There are many different meditation techniques, so don't think that you're required to sit cross-legged and hum a mantra to de-stress. Some meditation styles focus on clearing one's mind, while others encourage visualizing healing or calming imagery or thinking kind thoughts towards oneself and others.

Those with physical limitations can also meditate while sitting in a chair or even lying down.

Laugh hard and often

The old adage that laughter is the best medicine rings true if you're looking for a stress cure.

A study conducted at Loma Linda University in 2001 found that participants who viewed a funny video experienced a decrease in the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. They also had an increase in endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that boost mood and relieve depression, and
in human growth hormone, which boosts the immune system.

Laughter doesn't just help us deal with stress or emotional pain — it helps us handle physical pain as well. In September, researchers at the University of Oxford in England found that laughter raises our tolerance for pain by stimulating a release of endorphins.

Plan "worry time"

Heavy duty worriers may benefit from carving out a specific chunk of time to think about what is worrying or bothering them, according to a Penn State University study published in July.

Scheduling worrying into a 30-minute block of time each day is beneficial because people may not be able to stop worrying altogether, but they can postpone and limit when they worry, according to the researchers. This allows them to better control their fretful habit and focus on other — ideally, more positive — things during the rest of their day.

Get a massage

Getting a massage not only helps you relax and ease muscle tension, it may also impact your hormone levels in a positive way, according to a 2010 study.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that after receiving a 45-minute massage, participants had decreased levels of cortisol , a stress hormone, and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior.

Try journaling

Keeping a journal can lessen stress in several ways, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When you're feeling frazzled, writing down your feelings makes you feel more in control, and may help you better analyze the situation. It can even give you a new perceptive or ways to address the problem.

And by looking over past journal entries, you may begin to see a pattern of what stresses you out, according to the NIH. You can then decide what needs to change to prevent those stress triggers from affecting you in the future.

Hug it out

Oxytocin, which is also known as the "cuddle hormone," is involved in social bonding, but can also help to lower stress levels. Produced in the brain's hypothalamus, oxytocin is then transferred to the pituitary gland, which releases the hormone into the bloodstream.

Several animal studies have shown that the hormone relieves stress and anxiety in social settings. In a 2007 study, researchers separated prairie voles, which are Midwestern rodents, from their siblings. The isolated prairie voles exhibited signs of anxiety, stress and depression, but these symptoms abated after they were injected with oxytocin. [11 Interesting Effects of Oxytocin ]

The body naturally produces oxytocin during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. But the "love hormone" can also be released during simple physical contact, such as a friendly hug. Even playing with your dog can boost oxytocin levels, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.

By: Remy Melina, My Health News Daily Contributor | Live Science |


Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 7:29 am

Please keep in mind these are generalized suggestions for mild stress affectations, not therapeutic treatments. If you suspect you are suffering from a deep depressive problem or illness brought on by stress factors, then do please seek some medical advice.

Teresa W (782)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 7:39 am
Oh, no! I hate hugs and physical contact in general... It's so smelly and disgusting!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 8:39 am
Noted , thanks Kit .

Fiona O (565)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 9:46 am
I need three dozen tips to lower stress. Thank you, though, Miss Kitty. Noted and saved. This is a good beginning.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:30 am
Are most of us on C2 not already covering several of those tips ? I would say yes we do!
Perhaps add a #12 to the list: Do not try to submit a full page of your own stories while reading, noting, commenting and signing those of your friends at the same time. ;-)

Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:48 am

I dunno Angie, but I do know that many do have a great sense of humor and that does provide for a marvelous cushion against stress. Works well for Trolls too, they may not have a sense of humor, but we can always laugh at them.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 11:50 am
So very true! Even works against insults.

Christeen A (371)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 12:25 pm
Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. Thank you.

Linda h (86)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 1:40 pm
Great post.

Julia R (296)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 1:55 pm
Great tips for relieving stress a factor which can have such an impact on our mental outlook and our physical health! I'm now going to start incorporating a lot of these wonderful suggestions on a daily basis. I particularly liked this one suggestion in this article on how to cope with setbacks; acceptance, humor and positive reframing, which means looking for something good in an otherwise stressful situation. Thank you Kit for this post.

Agnes N (703)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 4:11 pm
Thanks Kit

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 4:34 pm

Patricia H. (440)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:36 am
noted and shared

Amanda H (1)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 3:07 am
I believe in laughter and hugs :-)

Anna M (18)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 5:55 am
thanks Kit

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 6:52 am
A helpful article, Thanks!

Süheyla C (234)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 9:50 am
Noted Thanks Kit .

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 3:35 pm
Noted. Thanks for the great list, Kit. I could add a couple myself....I've been taking this seriously for the past couple decades since my mom died of brain cancer. At the time of her illness, doctors told her she needed to rid herself of stress, and suggested many of the items on the list to her as well. She took up yoga, carefully monitored her nutritional intake, got massages....but couldn't de-stress. We decided amongst ourselves at that time that "stress kills."

Ro H (0)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 4:04 pm

Bonnie M (22)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 4:49 pm

Stress is part of life- just that with today's fast pace and the need for instant gratification, stress levels are definitely magnified. What works for one does not always work for another. Exercise and good nutrition are definitely helpful. Learning not to be immersed in negative issues can be uplifting. Talk therapy is helpful
Thank you for this article.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Health & Wellness

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.