5 proven ways to reduce stress and think more clearly

Posted on 07.08.2020 |

Learn these simple and surprising methods to help ease your mind in your daily life

Our minds are often full of worries and anxieties about the future—whether they be about work, family or friends.

Constant rumination over thoughts that affect no positive change can cause strain on your mental, emotional, and physical health. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to reduce stress in your life to help you think more clearly and optimize your health—both inside and out. 

We’ve compiled 5 quick and easy ways to reduce stress and clear your thoughts so that you can live your healthiest and most fulfilled life! Keep reading to learn more. 

#1: Try a controlled deep breathing technique 

Common advice is to “take a deep breath” in highly tense situations, but often one breath is not enough to calm us down. It’s actually most effective to utilize a controlled deep breathing technique when aiming to reduce stress. 

A common technique known as box breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system and regulates the autonomic nervous system. This releases the stress response from your body during anxiety-inducing or trauma-triggering situations. 

Does it work? Navy Seals, special forces personnel, and first responders are trained to use box breathing during a crisis or perceived threat. [1] Evidence has shown that box breathing helps with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain management. [2,3]

Box breathing is extremely simple to do and can be used anytime, anywhere as long as you have somewhere to sit. 

  1. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. 
  2. Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, aiming to fill your lungs and stomach with air. 
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 4 and try to keep your muscles relaxed. 
  4. Exhale through the nose for a count of 4, emptying your lungs and stomach of the air. 
  5. Repeat at least 3 times or as much as needed. 

#2: Spend time with friends

While it may seem simple, research has shown that people who focus on strong relationships have lower rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and stress-linked inflammatory responses. [4]

Whether talking through an issue or going to see a movie as a distraction, spending time with your friends is an effective and healthy mechanism to reduce stress. 

#3: Write and reflect with a journal

Putting your thoughts and emotions on paper is a constructive way to process an issue and to brainstorm new methods to tackle the problems you’re facing.  

Try keeping a small journal with you throughout the day, so it’s on hand whenever you need to clear your mind or reduce stress. Jot down any thoughts or feelings you’re experiencing in the moment. If the concept of journaling seems overwhelming, start by setting a 20 minute time limit so that you stay focused and don’t fall into overthinking. 

#4: Incorporate exercise into your routine 

Aside from the multitude of physical health benefits, working out is one of the best ways to reduce stress and clear your thoughts. 

Finding a time to regularly work out every day will give your mind a specific time to be free of thoughts and worries. The exercise you choose is up to you! It could be hitting the gym to lift weights, going outside for a run, or taking an at-home fitness class. 

#5: Practice effective meditation 

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, provide mental clarity, decrease negative emotions, and free the mind of ruminating thoughts. These benefits can be gained from just a few minutes of meditative practice each day.

A great place to start is by downloading an app with guided meditation exercises for beginners. One of our favorites is BrainTap—a quick and easy way to relax, reboot, and revitalize by falling into deep relaxation and a meditative-like state. BrainTap can assist in reducing stress, improving sleep, and increasing mental acuity through its cutting edge technology. At our wellness center, we use our expertise to select from the 800+ BrainTap sessions to create individual plans for members to help them achieve optimal mind and body balance. 

In conclusion

It’s incredibly important for your mental, emotional, and physical health to know how to manage the stress that you face in your daily life. These 5 ways to reduce stress are all methods you can utilize in your day-to-day life in any situation—whether that’s to stay calm before a work presentation or simply clearing your mind before going to sleep. 

Looking for more ways to achieve your mental health goals? 

At Natural Quanta, our mission is to give you the tools and support you need to assess and optimize not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health.

With our mindfulness exercises and non-invasive assessments, we can help you achieve your goals, such as increasing mental concentration and focus, plus many more.

Contact us today to get started!

Schedule your free 30-minute assessment

Sources:

1: The Prepping Guide

2: Frontiers in Psychology 

3: Healthline

4: PLOS ONE