Are you feeling stressed? These days, who isn’t? If you’re like many people, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now and plenty of stress, to boot. Fortunately, there are a number of low-cost and even free ways to reduce tension and eliminate stress from your life. Here are a few of our favorites, along with reasons why you need to rid yourself of stress.

Stress defined

Stress is a very subjective phenomenon that affects each person differently. The American Institute of Stress notes that something that stresses one person may not cause much stress in another. For this reason, stress is hard to define, but you sure know it when you feel it. Your anxiety increases and you might even break a sweat. Better yet, break out a fun digital coloring book and color your worries away. Color in a mandala design with your favorite shades of purple, blue and green and you are practically guaranteed to forget your troubles, at least for a little while.

Effects of Stress

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In addition to simply feeling awful, anxiety and stress can cause a host of health problems, according to Mayo Clinic. Common signs and symptoms of stress include muscle tension, headache, upset stomach, and sleeplessness. Persons suffering stress may experience a loss of interest in their love life and feel overly tired much of the time.

Mood-wise, stress can lead to feelings of depression, sadness, and overwhelm. Stressed persons may lose their motivation to do much of anything. Behavior-wise, stress can lead to overeating, undereating, and sleeping too much or too little. People who feel stressed may smoke too much, drink to excess and otherwise exhibit self-destructive behavior. Stressed people are often over-emotional, angry and irascible.

Natural stress relief

Not every stressful situation affects everyone the same way. There are, however, a number of common stressors that may affect a majority of people. Among them are money worries, whether wondering how to pay the rent or wondering where to invest a hefty inheritance. Many people turn to their doctor for prescription anxiety relief. While medication may sometimes be appropriate, you might want to explore natural stress relief options first.

Make a small investment in an aquarium, and watch fish swim back and forth. You’re sure to relax as you gaze at the rhythmic movements of fishy tails and fins.

Take a stroll with a trusted friend and talk about anything, everything or nothing at all. Doing so might help your friend relieve their stress, too.

Turn on your favorite music and clean house like a maniac. You’ll reduce your anxiety levels, burn calories and wind up with a cleaner house, as well. If you don’t need to clean, just crank the music and sing along at the top of your lungs.

If all else fails, make art. Sit on the floor and color with your kids or grandkids and don’t waste a moment worrying about staying within the lines.

Photo credit: DiariVeu – GettyImages – tristor via photopin (license)
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