Just because college (and life) is stressful doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Why not take the chance to reduce daily stress in your life?
Before starting my senior year of college, I decided that I wanted to do everything I could to remain cool, calm, and collected over the next nine months. I know my plan won’t work 100% of the time, but I realize I can’t improve if I don’t try. So, I decided to research and learn ways to reduce daily stress in my busy life. Here’s what I found!
1. Identify Your Stressors
When confronting any problem, the first thing you must do is figure out the source of the issue. Similarly, the first step you need to take to reduce daily stress is to identify what stresses you out. You can do this by making a list (either mentally or on paper, though I’d suggest writing it out) of everything you do in your life.
This includes your classes, children or pets you’re responsible for, hobbies, extracurricular activities, exercising, and anything else you can think of. I know it’s a big task. But doing this will help in several ways.
Firstly, it will allow you to see how much you juggle daily. Maybe your source of stress is simple: you do too much! This is a common problem for Millennials—we want to do it all.
Beyond that, you can look at all your daily responsibilities and determine which ones cause you the most stress. After you’ve done this, you can find a way to eliminate (or at least minimize) your stressors.
2. Practice Good Time Management
Spending time outside is scientifically proven to reduce stress! Credit: Drew Meeker
Managing your time well is paramount when you’re looking to reduce daily stress. This is especially true if you are very busy, which most Millennials are. Even on your least busy days, if you can’t manage the time you’re given, you still won’t accomplish anything.
3. Listen to Music
That’s right, jamming out to your favorite tunes relieves stress! This is known as the “Mozart effect”: music’s use as a therapeutic tool that can help treat diseases. Our bodies have a biochemical reaction to music that triggers stress-reducing effects.
Depending on your music education (what you grew up listening to, what kind of music you like, etc.), different types of music will have this effect. I find that classical music and soft pop have a calming effect on me. I have a playlist on my iPod called “Chill Out,” I listen to it while doing homework to create a relaxing environment. I have found that it does help me!
If listening to a favorite song might distract you, there’s also this great website called Soundrown, where you can combine your natural sounds to create a relaxing environment. It’s great for studying, reading, working on a project, or meditating.
4. Get a Spire Fitness Tracker
My Spire Fitness Tracker has dramatically impacted how I go about my day! The device has the essential functions of any fitness tracker (tracks active minutes, counts steps, etc.), but it also monitors your breathing patterns to determine when you are calm, focused, or stressed.
I know when I’ve been calm recently because I’ll get a notification through the Spire app on my phone. If I’ve been worried for too long, the app will tell me that too, and suggest activities to reduce that stress. The tracker helps you stay mindful of your stress level throughout the day, which I have found very helpful.
Credit: Lexi Bollis
There are some things I often do that I never knew stressed me out, but now I can be more mindful of how I feel while doing those things. Another cool thing I’ve realized is that I walk more than I thought I did!
I take an average of 10,000 steps daily, making me feel much less lazy than I often think. Overall, my Spire fitness tracker has helped me be mindful of reducing daily stress. Learn more about the gadget here!
5. Exercise (Almost) Daily
The two modes on a Spire Fitness Tracker! Credit: Lexi Bollis, via Spire App
In the words of the wise Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Endorphins are “chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers,” so when you exercise, your entire body feels better (ADAA).
While you certainly don’t need to hit the gym every single day, making a workout schedule that gets you there at least three times a week will make you feel better. And you don’t have to push yourself to the limit, either—moderate activity will do the trick. So go for a walk in the evening, start attending yoga classes, or ride your bike. Anything that gets you moving will help you reduce daily stress!
Meditation is a way to have some time alone with your inner self. It mentally removes you from your daily life and forces you to focus on your thoughts. Many people find it to be incredibly relaxing, as well as a way to remain mindful throughout the day.
Yoga also has the same effects, with the bonus of being great Exercise. Perhaps meditation is even better than yoga because anyone can participate, regardless of age or physical abilities. All you need is a quiet, serene space and the right mindset.
7. Do Something You Love Every Day
I find time to dance several times a week! Credit: Bradley Raynor
Take time out of your busy schedule to do something you love. This habit will give you something to look forward to daily and act as a stress reliever. What you choose to do doesn’t have to take much time or be that involved.
You could sketch for fifteen minutes or play with your cat. You can visit your favorite museum or eat at your favorite restaurant when you have more time. No matter how busy you are, it’s essential to be kind to yourself and avoid becoming too bogged down in the daily grind.
While eliminating stress is impossible, you can find ways to manage it. Having a fitness tracker that tracks your daily stress levels has helped me a lot because I’ve discovered that certain activities make me tense, and I didn’t even realize it!
Those minutes of anxious feelings culminate over the day and put stress on my body and mind. Now that I’m more aware of when I feel stressed, I can take measures to reduce daily stress in my busy life. How are you going to do the same?
Credit: Lexi Bollis
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.