1. Make sure you’re well-prepared

Irrational expectations and surprises are the main drivers of stress. When reality doesn’t match up with what is decided in our mind, we tend to get angry and stress out.

To combat this, take some time each day to plan your day. You can then plan your week every Sunday night (or whenever works best for you) so you at least have a good grasp on what you’re doing over the next several days. This will give you more of a sense of control over your life and lead unexpected events to have less of a negative effect on your state of mind.

  1. Eat healthy snacks

It’s hard to resist junk food, especially when we’re under pressure. However, consuming foods that are heavy in sugar and bad fats can actually affect your mental health. Instead, adopt a diet that is low in processed foods.

  1. Clean

To some, this point will be a surprise. Others will recognize it as a go-to stress buster. This is primarily because most cleaning activities involve repetitive movements, which helps focus and relax the mind. Examples include sweeping, mopping, or wiping down the windows or bath.

  1. Listen to some good music

Several studies have shown that music, particularly slower, rhythmic tunes, helps relieve stress. This is ideal because we can listen to this kind of music while doing something else. So, whether you’re working, running errands in your car, or even sleeping, consider putting on some calming music.

  1. Pay with cash or use a finance-tracking app

According to the American Psychological Association, money is one of the leading causes of stress (no surprise there).

And one of the biggest and most stressful challenges is keeping track of spending. To remedy that, withdraw your budget in cash each week and pay using that so you can track your spending better. Alternatively, you can just use an app like Mint.

  1. Go for a swim

A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that being in water helps lower stress hormones, reducing tension and even depressive symptoms. So, go find some water and jump in!

  1. Get off your smartphone

Get off your phone! Between personal and political drama, international tension, and work, your phone can do an awesome job of reminding you why you should be more stressed right now. So, reduce smartphone usage and put that time towards something more productive like reading a good book.

  1. Reflect on peaceful, happy times

It’s well known by positive psychologists that there are two effective ways to cultivate happiness: focusing on the present (mindfulness) and reflecting on past (happy) memories. Take a few minutes to dig up some old positive, peaceful memories and bask in them, it works wonders.

  1. Make note of something positive that happened today

Similarly, you can reach back into the recent past and make note of something positive that happened today. Did someone recognize your good work? Did you get a new client? Or did you have a breakthrough with your child? Even small things like organizing your daily process and making an important phone call count.

  1. Be smart about your worries

Take a few minutes to write down all the things that have worried or stressed you in the past week. Some studies have found that, while some worries are rational, much of what we stress about is based on irrational worries or problems in the world we just can’t control.

By taking some time to write all of these worries and stressors out, you can bring clarity to what is going on in your mind. This will also help you zero in on the things that are bothering you the most. If you focus on working through those one by one, you can reduce your stress in a more organized fashion and bring logic to what is often an irrational mental process.

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