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How To Lower Your Stress Levels

Last updated May 2, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Finding healthy ways to deal with stress and reducing one’s daily level of stress are incredibly important. Different methods for relaxation include deep breathing, massage, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, and music therapy.


Stress not only affects you in the short term, but can have long-term negative effects on your health. High stress levels can be linked to heart disease, stroke, sleeping problems, reproductive problems, depression, and weakened immunity. The stress response is very important in moments of danger; however, long-term chronic stress can cause harm.

Common causes of stress include work, school, personal conflicts, chronic illness, and living conditions. When you are stressed, stress hormones including epinephrine and cortisone are released by the brain, which has widespread effects on all other body systems. People of all ages experience stress, and hence, can benefit from finding ways to handle stress as early as possible.

Finding healthy ways to deal with stress and reducing one’s daily level of stress are incredibly important. The first step towards managing your stress is to identify what is causing the stress. By knowing what your stress triggers are, you can prepare to handle stress better. Once you have analyzed why you’re stressed, you can deal with it in many ways including through exercising. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, exercising just 30 minutes a day can reduce stress and improve your mood. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can also help you refocus and calm down when you are stressed. Relaxing can help lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, reduce muscle tension, reduce respiration rate, and improve concentration.

Different methods for relaxation include deep breathing, massage, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, and music therapy. Another important thing to remember is to take breaks from anything causing stress. While an extended break is often not possible in stressful situations, even a short moment to close your eyes and breathe can help you overcome stress. Finally, communication is incredibly important. Friends, family, and therapists are great people to talk to about your stress. These people may also be able to offer a new perspective that helps with your stress. Sometimes, hearing yourself work through a problem out loud, can be relaxing and eye-opening.

You can’t always control stressful situations, but by practicing these techniques you can help reduce its lasting impact on your health and wellbeing. A combination of these techniques may have the greatest impact on your stress levels, but by experimenting with different methods you can find what works for you. Sometimes, it is necessary to seek professional help if you are experiencing serious side effects of stress including depression. There are many options available to help you live a healthier and less stressful lifestyle.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2011/March/understanding-the-stress-response (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/basics/relaxation-techniques/hlv-20049495 (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368?pg=2 (accessed on April 2, 2016)

Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine, 31(1), 23-33.

Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Patel, K. D., & Goodey, E. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress and levels of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and melatonin in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 29(4), 448-474.

Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Patel, K. D., & Goodey, E. (2003). Mindfulness‐based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress, and immune parameters in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic medicine, 65(4), 571-581.

Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 15(5), 593-600.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 2, 2016
Last updated: May 2, 2016