I think you’ll agree with me when I tell you that life can be stressful.  Our schedules are so busy and hectic that it seems like there is always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate.  Whether it’s a relationship problem, financial struggles, health challenges, or problems at work, stress can be an ongoing battle.

With our hectic schedules, endless to-do lists, and a growing number of responsibilities, it’s easy to see why so many people are walking around stressed and unhappy.  We’re often worried about the future or thinking about the past.

But what if we could slow our lives down a bit, and really be mindful of what is happening right now at this very moment.  When we take the time to slow down and relax, we can decrease our stress and improve our ability to deal with other emotions like sadness or anger, leading to a happier more joyful life.

Here are 17 of my favorite ways to reduce stress:

1. Get Outside in NatureStudies show that being in nature has a calming effect on your mind. There may not be a better way to reduce stress than to get outside and take a nature walk. And do it totally unplugged, so you’re not distracted by email, texts, and social media. 

2. Meditate: Meditation can prevent overthinking. It can also help slow down a busy mind. If your brain goes “a mile a minute” with thoughts, especially when you’re laying in bed, try meditation.  It will bring you a sense of calmness by helping you control your thoughts and emotions.

3. Practice Yoga: Yoga allows you to slow down and learn to appreciate yourself through physical movement and exploration of the body. You’ll learn to savor your body’s health, intelligence, grace, and beauty.

4. Unplug: Make time each day to unplug.  We are living in a time where we’re attached to our phones 24/7.  And the constant buzzing of notifications lasts from morning to night.  It’s a stressful reminder of all that we have going on and all that we need to do. Turn off your phone and don’t get on social media or the news. Get outside and have fun!

5. Sleep Well: The more tired you are, the less able you will be to deal with stress. Try to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night.  If you have trouble getting to sleep because your mind is stressed, play The Gratitude Alphabet Game:  Here’s how it works: Go through the alphabet and think about 1 thing you’re grateful for that begins with each letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter A, working your way to B, C, D, and continuing all the way through to Z. You’ll be focusing on all that you are currently grateful for instead of worrying about other things in your life.

6. No News: There’s a lot of negative media in our lives today. Minimize news and social media and filter out what doesn’t serve you.  Remove the news apps on your phone and pay attention to who you follow on social media.

7. Get Creative: Take up healthy and wholesome hobbies that you enjoy. Instead of watching TV in the evening, do something creative to relax your mind.  Try drawing or learn an instrument or a new language.

8. Turn on Some Music: Listen to soft music, like jazz, or the sounds of nature, which can have a soothing effect on stress.

9. Laugh More: Laughter is another remedy for stress. It boosts our immune system and improves our moods. Seinfeld reruns anyone? 🙂

10. Be Routine: One of our biggest sources of stress are the decisions we have to make each day. What to eat, what to wear, where to go – the decisions we have to make never end.  It’s no wonder many of us suffer from decision fatigue.  Having a set daily and weekly routine negates the need for extensive planning which relieves some stress.

11. Be Grateful: Turn negative thoughts into positive ones. There’s always something to be grateful for, even in a challenging situation.  Writing things down in a gratitude journal may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.

12. Have A Practice: Set a regular “positivity” practice: read uplifting books, walk, meditate, or watch inspirational videos on a daily basis.  A morning routine is a great habit to create.  Wake up early each morning and practice habits that will get your day off on the right foot.  

13. Get Inspired: Stream some chill music or inspirational podcast to give you a mental “time out” when dealing with road rage or other stressful events.

14. Find Your People: Connection with friends and family is something that all humans need.  Just make sure that they won’t stress you out even more.  Seek out social support and spend enough time with those you enjoy and make you laugh.

15. Start Burning: Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.

16. Declutter (digitally): Simplify and declutter your life and unsubscribe from all of those promotional and newsletter emails, except the Metabolic Living ones, of course. 😉

17. Declutter (physically): We’re bombarded with a lot of stuff, most of it we don’t need.  What if you get rid of all the extraneous stuff that you don’t need and only keep the things that give you joy.  A lot of things we hold on to are from the past. One thing you can ask yourself as you go through everything is this: “Has this item served its purpose?”  If it has, you can feel confident that you are doing the right thing by getting rid of it.

There you have it: 17 ways to reduce stress in your life. Of course, you don’t have to do them all. Pick 1 or 2 to start with and create a daily habit. In no time you’ll see the positive effects that reducing your stress can have on your life.