8 Practical Ways to Handle Stress and Anxiety

These Simple Steps Will Help You Enjoy More Peace and Less Stress Every Day

Ready to reduce stress and enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle? While there are countless self-help books, courses and techniques to help you worry less and relax more, some of the best ways to achieve greater peace and diminish anxiety in your life are absolutely free and easier than you think. Take a look at these proven (and practical) ways to stress less, reduce anxiety and find peace of mind in your everyday life.

#1 Get rid of distractions

It’s an obvious way to start, but getting rid of distractions is a prime method for having more peace if your life. Turn off the TV, silence your phone and turn off all your social media notifications. You can still check in and get important emails and such, but you don’t need to know every single time someone posts or comments.

#2 Go for a walk

It’s one of the simplest things you can do for your health, both mentally and physically, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Taking a walk literally allows you to move forward just by putting one foot in front of the other and offers a chance to clear your mind. Just make sure not to be on your phone texting and walking at the same time--it ruins the whole purpose of enjoying more tranquility!

#3 Spend time with nature

Stop and smell the roses. You’ve heard it a million times, but the old adage is loaded with wisdom. Spending time in nature affects us on a very primitive level and it soothes us, especially during tough times. Even if you’re in the middle of the city, you can always find places to connect with nature whether it's at a park, listening to the birds or watching the clouds move. Surrounding yourself in nature is meditative and the best way to slow yourself down and enjoy the moment.

#4 Spend time with animals

Much like nature, animals have a way of connecting with us at a very deep level that doesn’t require us to say a word. Animals are always in the moment--they don’t regret the past or worry about the future--they simply are. Being around that energy can help us stay present as well. It’s also been scientifically proven that petting and playing with animals increases levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreases production of the stress hormone cortisol.

#5 Surrender

It sounds like a big one, but surrendering simply means to accept and recognize that we don’t have control over much in this world, whether it’s the weather, other people’s attitudes, traffic and countless other things. When you allow yourself to truly acknowledge that you can only control what you do and how you respond to different situations, then frustration fades away. It is what it is. Just take a deep breath and carry on. 

#6 Do a random act of kindness

One way to bring a greater sense of inner peace to your life is to practice kindness. It’s a touchstone of all the world’s great religions, but you don’t need to be religious to be kind. Smile at strangers (even if they don’t smile back), compliment someone, let that person get into your lane instead of honking, pick up that piece of trash on the street or hold the door open and don’t get upset if s/he doesn’t say thank you. (This has happened to me a few times, but remember: Surrender. You only have control of yourself, not other people.) Doing good deeds not only helps others and the environment, but it also gives you peace of mind for doing something, no matter how small, to make things better.

#7 Declutter

They say a cluttered space is a cluttered mind. While a messy desk or pile of dirty dishes doesn’t mean your life's in disarray, it certainly doesn’t help. Keeping things organized and neat will help you be more efficient, find things when (and where) you need them and thereby create a greater sense of calm in your life. Just as Marie Kondo’s book says, there is indeed a life-changing magic to tidying up and it will help you enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle.

#8 Read a book before bed

This goes back to the beginning of our list: Get rid of distractions. Lose yourself in a book instead. As easy as it might be to turn on the TV or start scrolling through your Instagram feed before bed, try digging into a really good book and you’ll soon find just how relaxing it can be. When reading a good book, your mind is distracted from daily stresses that cause tension. But don’t just take my word for it: The Sleep Council says "39% of people who are in the habit of reading before they go to sleep, sleep very well.” Here’s to having sweet dreams and more peaceful waking hours! 

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Written by Mar Yvette

Mar Yvette is an on-air host, lifestyle expert, writer and editor with 10+ years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognized media companies.