relieve stress - painting outdoors

6 Sustainable Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress is a part of everyone’s life. It’s hard to avoid — still, it’s unwelcome. Knowing what causes your stress is essential. It’s also critical to deal with these situations correctly. Finding healthy coping mechanisms is vital in mitigating stress and keeping it away. So, how can you relieve stress sustainably? Here are six ways to try today. 

1. Journaling

One of the best ways to mitigate stress is by journaling. It’s as simple as picking up a pen and paper and writing down your thoughts. Alternatively, you can use a digital device and type your stress away. Journaling reduces stress because it lets you tackle your negative or intrusive thoughts head-on. This practice is suitable for people who have trouble outwardly expressing their emotions. 

Many use journaling to show what they’re grateful for. This practice helps you think positively and put things in perspective. A 2021 study examined how journaling helped nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The subjects used essays to show gratitude and self-reflection. The researchers concluded journaling helped the students manage stress and emotional health. 

relieve stress - painting outdoors

2. Creating Art

Writing is a beautiful form of expression. You can write your thoughts on paper and express yourself in a way only you can understand. Another way to express yourself is through art. You’re taking your mind off things and promoting your brain’s creativity. Artwork can be as simple as drawing in a notebook. You can take it further and take painting lessons or create sculptures. 

Researchers have used art as an effective treatment for stress. Creating art engages your body, mind and spirit to produce fabulous pieces of work. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it doesn’t matter what the art looks like. 

A 2019 study examined how art therapy helped military members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and brain injuries. The researchers concluded art therapy helped relieve stress because the subjects felt more in control of their lives and increased their sense of competency. 

3. Practicing Meditation

Sometimes, all you need is some time to yourself. Taking time for yourself in isolation can be relaxing, especially when doing calming activities like meditation. People have been meditating for centuries because it’s an effective way to calm yourself and find inner peace.

Find a comfortable and quiet spot to sit. Close your eyes and breathe in and out. Playing soft music in the background may help. Try turning off your phone and eliminating as many distractions as possible. Focus on the positives in life and become one with your inner self.

A 2019 study examined how meditation affects stress cell aging. The researchers concluded meditation positively affected the subjects’ telomere biology and other biological outcomes sensitive to stress. Take a half hour to rid meditate and melt the stress away. 

4. Walking Outside

When discussing stress, many experts recommend exercise. Physical activity helps your body produce endorphins and feel good about yourself. Exercise is fascinating because it’s exhilarating when you do it — then it provides calmness and achievement after you’ve cooled down. You don’t have to run a marathon or put on football pads. Find your favorite form of exercise and get moving.

For example, you could take a walk in the park. Being outside is an integral part of our health. Sunny skies provide excellent conditions to relieve stress. The sun provides vitamin D, crucial for your mental health and immune systems. Walking outside and soaking in nature reduces stress by calming your mind and inducing positive thoughts. 

man in garden

5. Gardening

Being outside is a wonderful way to reduce stress. When you’re not exercising, you can find other ways to stay busy and improve your mental health. A terrific sustainable activity is gardening. Plant flowers and vegetables you can use in your home. For example, you could make a centerpiece from roses or lilies and impress guests with your homegrown flowers.  

A 2019 study examines how gardening helps the health and well-being of gardeners. The subjects said their principal motivation was biodiversity conservation at home. The study concluded that gardening lowered stress and anxiety in the participants and increased their self-esteem. 

6. Eating Healthy Foods

Stressful situations can impact your diet and vice versa. Some people cope with stress by resorting to their favorite comfort foods. If you eat to reduce stress, try eating healthy foods to mitigate your stress.

The most crucial factor to watch in your diet is cortisol. This hormone is responsible for the stress in your body, and the foods you eat can determine your cortisol production. Besides stress, cortisol regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammation, metabolism and more. It’s well worth your time to watch your cortisol levels.

Try implementing foods to lower your cortisol levels and your stress. Many dieticians recommend the Mediterranean diet because it reduces stress and improves overall health. The Mediterranean diet encourages you to eat fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grain and healthy fats. Consuming these foods can lower inflammation and stress. 

Mitigating Stress in Sustainable Ways

Stress is a part of life. In fact, a little bit of stress is good for you because it keeps you motivated. However, heavy stress takes its toll over time. Finding healthy outlets is crucial for your mental health. 

Find ways to relieve stress that are sustainable for you and the environment. Your brain will thank you for relieving stress — even for only 15 minutes. These six ways are an excellent starting point. 

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