Chronic stress is widely acknowledged to be bad for both physical and mental health. Yet seventy percent of adult Americans report that they are stressed every day according to a recent article in Business Insider, citing data from the website and app, Happify.
So how can we reduce stress and increase our happiness? Here are some simple steps that everyone can take to reduce the risks that too much stress pose:
Friends & Family: Work on your social relationships. People who have strong networks of family and friends have a 50% lower risk of mortality.
Let It Go: Let go of those emotions that are causing you to stress out. People who hold on to stress are less healthy ten years later than are people who let their worries roll off them.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side: The next time you’re feeling stressed, go take a walk in a park or do some gardening. Communing with nature reduces mental fatigue, frustration and anger.
Clear Your Mind: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce daily stress levels by up to 38%. So, when you’re feeling stressed, close your eyes and focus your mind on being happy.
Say Cheese: Smiling reduces the intensity of your body’s reaction to stressful events.
The Best Medicine: Laughter truly is the best medicine! Laughing elevates the endorphins in your brain that cool your stress response.
Pay It Forward: Participating in community service and volunteer activities will improve your sense of well-being and happiness.
Hop, Skip & Jump: Get moving! Exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones and increases the production of serotonin, the brain’s feel-good chemical.