How to Reduce Stress and Tension
frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at office

How to Reduce Stress and Tension

Stress, tension, and anxiety are common issues for most people. They can impact both your physical and mental health. 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. Here are some things you can do to reduce stress and tension in your everyday life. 


Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to fight stress. It might seem counter-intuitive, but putting physical stress on your body with exercise can relieve mental stress.

You can realize the most benefits when you exercise regularly.  Those who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise and there are a few reasons behind this:

  • Stress hormones: Exercise reduces your body’s stress hormones, like cortisol, over time.  It also helps release endorphins, the chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
  • Sleep: Exercise can also boost your sleep quality, which can be negatively impacted by stress and anxiety.
  • Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you start to feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn encourages mental wellbeing.
  • Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, like walking, dancing, tennis or yoga.

Activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups, like walking or running, can be especially stress relieving. Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.

Use a Massage Chair

When it comes to stress and tension relief, massage chairs can be a vital health and wellness tool. Massage has many proven benefits for your overall health and wellbeing, from better sleep to improved immune function and reduced stress and drug-free pain relief. A massage chair for your home can also be a powerful tool when used for meditation. 

Massage is a great tool for alleviating stress, a silent killer. Studies have shown that a 10-15-minute massage can lower your blood pressure, oxygen consumption, and salivary cortisol levels.

Having a massage chair at home can be an ideal tool for meditation and preventative self-care tool. With the touch of a button, you can melt away stress, get drug-free pain relief, and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

Consider supplements

There are several supplements that promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Lemon balm
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Ashwagandha
  • Green tea
  • Valerian
  • Kava 

Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety, and each person has a different threshold for how much caffeine they can tolerate before experiencing adverse effects. 

If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider reducing your daily intake. Although many studies show that coffee might be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. It is generally recommended to have no more than 5 cups per day. 

High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. However, people’s sensitivity to caffeine can vary greatly.

Spend time with friends and family

Social support from friends and family can help you when dealing with stressful times. Being part of a network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help relieve stress and tension.

One study found that for women specifically, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is known as “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. 

Remember, both men and women benefit from friendship. Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Having strong social ties can help get you through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.

Take a yoga class

Yoga is a popular method of stress and tension relief and exercise among all age groups.

While there are many different yoga styles, they almost all share a common goal — to join your body and mind. Yoga mainly does this by increasing body and breath awareness.

Some studies have examined yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can improve the mood and may effective as antidepressant drugs at treating low-level depression and anxiety. However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about exactly how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.

In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety appears to be related to its impact on your nervous system and stress response. It can help reduce cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate and increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices where you anchor yourself to the present moment. It can help fight the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking.

There are a number of methods for increasing mindfulness, including cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.

A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness might help increase self-esteem, which then leads to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression 

Deep breathing

Mental stress triggers your sympathetic nervous system, causing you to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms like a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, and constricted blood vessels.

Deep breathing exercises can trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response. There are many deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your attention on your breath, slowing it down and deepening each inhale and exhale. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand, and your belly rise, which helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.

Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. Many methods can help you learn how to breathe deeply.

The bottom line

Although stress and anxiety can occur in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel.

These tips often involve moving your mind and body away from the source of stress. Exercise, mindfulness, massage, meditation, and more can all work to relieve anxiety — and they will improve your overall wellbeing and work-life balance as well.