The best ways to reduce stress

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people.

In fact, 70% of adults in the US say they feel stress or anxiety daily.

Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

1. Exercise
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.

It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.

The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise (1).

There are a few reasons behind this:

Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.

Activities — such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.

SUMMARY
Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.
2. Consider Supplements
Several supplements promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:

Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects (2Trusted Source).
Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms (3Trusted Source).
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective (4Trusted Source).
Green tea: Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels (5Trusted Source).
Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety.
Kava kava: Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. Long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat mild stress and anxiety (6Trusted Source).
Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.

Shop for ashwagandha, omega-3 supplements, green tea, and lemon balm online.

SUMMARY
Certain supplements can reduce stress and anxiety, including ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and lemon balm.

3. Light a Candle
Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.

Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:

Lavender
Rose
Vetiver
Bergamot
Roman chamomile
Neroli
Frankincense
Sandalwood
Ylang ylang
Orange or orange blossom
Geranium
Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

SUMMARY
Aromatherapy can help lower anxiety and stress. Light a candle or use essential oils to benefit from calming scents.
4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety (10Trusted Source).

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate.

If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.

Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.

SUMMARY
High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. However, people’s sensitivity to caffeine can vary greatly.
5. Write It Down
One way to handle stress is to write things down.

While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for.

Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.