10 Surprising (& Unknown) Ways to Decrease Stress: Part 4 of the Stress Less Series

You can probably think of a few obvious ways to decrease stress. But did you know there are a host of less obvious and (at times) more FUN ways to decrease stress?

To finish my Stress Less series, we’re going to do a little quick fire. 10 surprising and not obvious ways to decrease stress. And we’re going to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

If you want the specific references and citations for what I share below, send me a message. I’d be more than glad to share them!

So let’s get to business.

1. Stop Checking Your Email


With email available on mobile devices, it’s incredibly easy to check for messages too often. I have to admit, I’m SUPER guilty of this.

But a study from the University of British Columbia showed that folks who check their email three times a day or less had lower stress levels.

So resist the urge to pull out your phone and check your email. Set a few times a day to check your messages and experience the benefits of less stress.

2. Hug it Out

The human body snuggles and hugs.

Frequent hugging is shown to decrease stress levels AND stress-induced infection.

So give a few hugs today and reap the benefits of less stress. Your hug recipients will thank you.

3. Get Your Zzz’s

If you’re a long time reader, you know how passionate I feel about sleep. If you’re newer around these parts, check out this post.

Sleep is CRUCIAL to your health and wellness, not to mention stress levels.

Not sure if you’re getting adequate sleep? Take my sleep assessment for adults.

4. Unplug

Take a vacation from your smartphone. Say ta-ta-for-now to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and your other favorite apps/websites. Walk away from your computer or laptop.


While the idea of this may induce anxiety, a study from the UK showed the more you are plugged, the more stressed you feel.

Taking mini-break from your technology can actually reduce stress levels and increase feelings of well being.

5. Meditate, baby!

There are many different forms of meditation — each being practiced a different way and achieving different outcomes. Mindfulness meditation — a type of meditation that focuses on awareness and the present moment — has been shown to decrease stress and improve mood.

Even a mere ten minutes a day can significantly decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, meditation can improve your physical health by lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and even pain levels.

Want to give meditation a try? Check out my post on How to Meditate or my free guided meditation here and here.

Is meditation a little too granola, woo-hoo for you? Don’t worry; research shows taking slow breaths and counting can also decrease stress.

6. Shake Your Bon Bon

Okay. This one is a bit of a cheat because you may have thought about it.

But I couldn’t resist a plug for exercise.

When you feel stressed or pressed for time, exercise is often the first thing to go. However, physical activity is one of nature’s best stress relievers. Don’t skip out on something that can make you healthier and feel better.

Something as easy and enjoyable as going for a brisk walk can decrease stress levels. So get off your rump and move it to stress less.

7. Pal Around

Loneliness is known to increase stress levels and decrease health.

So reconnect with your friends. Call a friend. Find your tribe. Make a new pal.

Just make sure you having regular connection with people you care about that also care about you.

8. Laugh It Out

Laughter is a known stress reliever.

Plus it makes you feel good.

It’s a no-brainer, really. So engage in witty banter, watch a funny movie, read a funny book, or crack a few jokes.

Not only will you feel happier, you’ll have improved stress levels, too.

9. Stop and Smell the Essential Oils

This may be a little too hippy-dippy for some of you. And that’s fine.

But if you’re open to essential oils, smelling blends with naturally stress-relieving scents may do you good.

Scents shown to induce relaxation include: rose, lavender, frankincense, vetiver, ylang ylang, and bergamot.

10. Give a Smooch

Kissing is not only fun, but also releases hormones that decrease stress hormones like cortisol.

So pucker up and give a loved one a smooch or two. You’ll both reap the benefits.

Action Time!

So what will you do this week to stress less? Pick a strategy or two and trial your way to less stress.

My list includes more smooching, less email checking, and using my favorite lavender essential oil.

(Are you just tuning in this week? If so, I invite you to pursue parts I, II, and III of the Stress Less Series. Part I shares all the basics of stress and Part II gives you healthy tips to eat your way to calmness. Part III is the Daily Stress Mistake You are Making.)