How To Reduce Stress for Mental Clarity

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Everybody gets stressed from time to time. It’s a natural part of life in a busy and frantic world. The trick is knowing how to deal with it.

Do you let it get on top of you and let it affect your days, weeks, and months? Or do you tackle it head-on, and let stress know who’s boss?

Taking charge of your stress is the key to staying happy and healthy—but it can be easier said than done.

That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve got some great tips on how to cope with everyday stress—head-on.

So sit comfortably, grab a cup of tea, and relax. Your stress-busting journey starts here.

What Is stress?

To know the best ways to manage stress, we need to understand it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) [1] describes stress as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation”.

The strange thing is that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If we didn’t react in this way to things that trouble or bother us, we wouldn’t do anything about it. So stress encourages us to take action and address any challenges or obstacles we might face.

The real issue occurs when we let stress build and build until it interferes with our happiness and daily lives.

So, why do we feel stressed? Let’s explore.

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What causes stress?

From an evolutionary perspective, stress helps us deal with threats.

If we were able to recognise that something was dangerous or problematic, then we were able to handle the issue effectively—typically by fight or by flight.

This was key to our survival, so it was passed on genetically throughout the generations.

But these days we don’t have as many direct threats to our existence—yet the stress response remains the same.

It’s far more likely that the things that stress us out now are fairly trivial—but our brains don’t necessarily see it that way.

Job interviews. Exams. Pressures at work or school. Conflict with other people. Money. Illness. Family issues. Even things we see in the news or online.

All of these can trigger the body’s stress response, along with plenty of other life events and situations.

Why is stress bad for you?

Stress affects the body as well as the mind—it has ramifications for many different areas of health, which can impact your whole life. 

For example, stress can lead to…

  • Heightened risk of medical issues (such as heart disease)
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor mental health
  • Social ramifications
  • Weakened immune system
  • Issues with weight
  • Lack of emotional control
  • Not being able to think clearly (leading to bad decisions)

If left unchecked for too long, it can even become chronic stress—which can further exacerbate pre-existing conditions and physical or mental health problems.

So, being able to deal with stress directly and before it has a chance to spiral into something bigger is paramount for your overall health.

But how do you recognise that you—or somebody close to you—is stressed?

What are the mental symptoms of stress?

The mental signals of stress can differ from person to person. Some people become angry and showcase stress outwardly, whereas others may feel the weight crash down on them internally—causing them to retreat into their shell.

Some of the main things to watch out for either way include…

  • Low energy
  • Feeling frazzled
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

These can just be the tip of the iceberg, though, as the mental symptoms can manifest and begin to affect other areas of your life.

What are the physical symptoms of stress?

Stress symptoms don’t just show up mentally—there are also physical signs, including…

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Stress rashes
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain through inactivity
  • Loss of appetite (or overeating)

Now that we’ve seen what stress can do to you, let’s take a look at what you can do to stress.

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How to alleviate stress?

Yes, you can. The way you react to stressful situations might be the complete opposite to other people in your life.

Likewise, how you cope with stress and the symptoms you exhibit will differ too. So there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to stress relief.

But that’s not a bad thing.

The good news is that there are countless ways to get a handle on stress in your life—and they’re super simple.

Once you start doing a couple of these things, you’ll put yourself on an upward spiral, and you’ll be back to your best before you know it. Give them a try.

  • Follow a healthy diet: A poor diet isn’t great for your mind or body, no matter how tempted you may be to snack and binge eat feelings away. Skip the sugary or processed treats [2], make good food choices, and practise healthy-eating behaviours to feel energised and clear-headed.
  • Exercise: Any kind of physical activity [3] is better than nothing. Walk, lift weights, do some cardio, get involved in sports—whatever helps you gets your blood pumping and releases endorphins.
  • Stretch: By loosening up tight muscles, you’ll release physical tension and enhance blood flow. Yoga, tai chi, and pilates are all fun and interactive ways to stay limber, relieve stress, and feel good [4].
  • Meditate: Another way to relax your mind and muscles is through meditation [5]. Try combining these quiet periods of reflection with mindfulness exercises. Spending just a few minutes a day focusing on positive affirmations or mantras rewires your brain [6] and improves your mood and overall mental health. 
  • Deep breathing exercises: These are particularly good to do when you feel anxious, panicked, or overwhelmed [7]. Taking long, slow, deep breaths [8] can lower your heart rate, focus your mind, and relieve muscle tension. It also lowers blood pressure and helps oxygenate the blood.
  • Socialise: Loneliness and a lack of emotional support [9] are two big stressors for many of us—so it’s important to spend time with friends and family members whenever you can. We are a social species who aren’t necessarily suited to going it alone. Reach out to others, for the benefit of your own mental health as well as theirs.
  • Talk: A problem shared is a problem halved, as the phrase goes. Whether you simply want to vent, get some advice, or be listened to empathetically, talking is good for you. Be that with friends and family, or with a support group or medical professional—saying things out loud can be really soothing.
  • Laugh: Laughter is actually a good medicine. It has multiple benefits [10] for the brain and body, including stress relief, enhanced mood, boosted immune system, and enhanced relaxation. The fun doesn’t have to result from interactions with a friend and family member either. Just watching your favourite TV show, a funny film, or a stand-up comedian can provide the same boost to your wellbeing.
  • Hug: Another thing we value as a social species is affection through touch. Hugging [11] a friend or loved one calms you down by releasing oxytocin (the love hormone) and lowering the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). So grab on and hold tight, then watch your stress melt away.
  • Pet an animal: It’s not just human touch that reduces stress and makes you happy—your pets are mood-boosters too. Interacting with cats and dogs is especially effective, so fuss-friendly animals [12] whenever you get the chance for an extra boost of oxytocin.
  • Cut down on coffee: You might not want to hear this, but too much caffeine [13] is probably not helping your stress level. As a stimulant, the caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, and other soft drinks can make you feel buzzed and wired, which may lead to jitters, anxiety, and poor sleep.
  • Ditch unhealthy habits: Lots of chemicals can cause damage when ingested, particularly when it’s a regular occurrence. Smoking, taking recreational drugs, and binge drinking are all harmful to your mind and your body, so quit the nicotine and cut back on alcohol to see vast improvements to your physical and mental health.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: It’s not just about getting enough sleep— improving your sleep quality matters too. Without proper rest, your brain isn’t able to refresh your mind and recharge your batteries [14], so aim for between seven and nine hours per night.
  • Avoid stressful situations: If you know something triggers you, try to find solutions to stay away from them, if possible. This might not always be an option, but actively avoiding things that you know cause you stress is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. 
  • Listen to music: Your favourite bands and artists have a positive effect on your mood, as does calming and soothing music that brings your heart rate down. Just make sure to really listen and focus on the present moment. 
  • Read: Reading a book is another solid stress-relieving activity. Pick something that engages your mind, holds your interest, and will take you to a chilled out place.
  • Make a to-do list: This is particularly useful if being rushed or busy is a major stressor in your life. If you map out what needs doing, it can help you manage your time and find solutions to minor issues.
  • Journal: Likewise, getting your thoughts down on paper can be incredibly therapeutic and mentally cleansing. For many people, writing out what’s on their mind has proven to be a simple, fast, and free way to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety [15].
  • Declutter: A cluttered house can lead to a cluttered mind. Too much stimulation can be overwhelming, and an abundance of noise or mess can increase cortisol and lead to anxiety or stress. Take some time to clear out and brighten up your environment to do the same for your brain.
  • Get a change of scenery: Just as the things in your vicinity can stress you out, so can the actual environment itself. If you feel cooped up or hemmed in, take yourself into another room or a different place entirely to help you get a new perspective and mentally reset.
  • Go outside: Humans evolved with nature and green spaces all around us, and we still have that innate urge to be out among it all. Getting out [16] and about also means you’ll be getting lots of fresh air and exercise, as well as exposure to the sun for some much-needed, mood-boosting vitamin D (just make sure to put on sun cream first).
  • Make time for yourself: Amongst all of your work, family, and social obligations, are you really taking time to focus on…you? If not, you absolutely should be. Some alone time to unwind [17] is vital, so block out half an hour a day to play an instrument, paint, do some gardening, or participate in whatever hobby or activity you like to do (like something from this stress-busting list).
  • Pay it forward: Helping others [18] also helps improve your own wellbeing and state of mind. Whether you’re volunteering for some charity work, or simply helping a friend or stranger with a small task, you’ll feel better for it and relieve stress in yourself and others.
  • Sing: It doesn’t even matter if you’re terrible—belt out your favourite tune to release that pent-up tension, as well as release precious endorphins and oxytocin [19].
  • Limit your screen time: Spending too much time on your phone (and in front of other screens) isn’t healthy. It’s a strain on the eyes and the brain, can interfere with sleep [20], and can even lead to FOMO (fear of missing out) [21], which brings us on to the next point…
  • Don’t make comparisons: Another reason to limit screen time is that you won’t get too bogged down in what others are doing. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap when browsing social media, but just remember that it isn’t a true reflection of real-life—people tend to just post their highlights. Focus on yourself and what you can do to enhance your own life, not what others are seemingly doing.
  • Take a long relaxing bath: Light some candles and put on some music, ocean sounds, or white noise. After a long day (or week, or year…), take some time to really pamper yourself and relax by soaking in the tub.
  • Go for a massage: A relaxing massage reduces physical tension, improves blood flow, and releases endorphins and happy chemicals. A win for your mind and for your body.
  • Take note of bad or intrusive thoughts: If you can recognise what sets you off or triggers you, you’re a step closer to resolving the issue. You’ll be able to learn from experience and act in an appropriate and useful manner the next time you encounter negative thoughts or situations.
  • Be positive: Replace those negative emotions with positive self-talk. Being hard on yourself just makes problems worse, so show gratitude and patience to yourself, in the same way you would to others.
  • Smile: Being happy makes you smile, but it can work the other way around too—smiling can make you happy [22]. When you smile, your brain assumes you must be feeling good, so it releases the relevant happiness hormones, like dopamine and serotonin. It’s a great trick that lets you fake it ‘til you make it.
  • Supplements: There are so many great supplements available that contain ingredients for gaining energy, clearing your mind, relaxing, and providing lots more physical and mental benefits. They’re called nootropics, and they’re exactly what we’ll look at next.
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What Are the Best Supplements for Reducing Stress?

Just as you can supplement your diet to help you meet your physical fitness goals, you can also use supplements to beat stress and feel great mentally.

In fact, mental health and physical health are often closely interlinked. As you improve one, you’ll likely see improvements in the other as well.

For example, a daily serving of super greens has multiple benefits. This health-boosting supplement provides essential nutrients and vegetables to keep your body feeling good while fuelling your immune system and boosting gut health. You’ll also feel sharp and fresh mentally.

Similarly, consuming an electrolyte supplement will give you an added physical and mental boost. 

By getting vital salts and minerals back into your system, these powders will help you recharge and replenish whenever you’re feeling tired, drowsy, or generally worn out.

Oh, and when it comes to reducing mental stress and tension, you can’t beat some mind-elevating nootropics.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Relieving Stress?

The best nootropics for managing stress or improving mood are ones that calm your brain and keep you from feeling so frazzled and overwhelmed. Enter The Calm Kit.

This stress-busting trio of supplements is a combination of our most effective nootropics for relaxation and mental recuperation. 

There are calming capsules to soothe your brain, ashwagandha gummies to help you unwind, and super greens for a mind and body wellness boost.

It’s everything you need to relieve stress and start feeling cool, calm, and collected in one handy bundle.

Check out the full range of brain-boosting nootropic supplements to find ones that suit your lifestyle and get you back to your brilliant best.


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