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7 Tips to Manage Stress in Healthy Ways: Exercise, Mindfulness, Sleep and More

Learn about different ways to manage stress on a daily basis. Incorporate exercises, mindfulness practices, healthy eating, regular sleep, social connection and taking breaks into your routine | Smile Instead

Stress is a part of everyday life, and while some stress can be beneficial, too much stress can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being. From work deadlines to personal relationships, stress can come from various sources, and it can be challenging to manage. However, there are several effective ways to reduce stress and help you stay calm and composed. In this article, we will discuss some tips to help manage everyday stress.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is an effective way to manage stress as it releases endorphins and reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

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Here’s a link to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that investigated the effects of yoga on stress and anxiety: View it here.

Exercise can take various forms, and finding an activity that fits into your lifestyle is essential. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Regular exercise has been shown to be a powerful tool for managing stress. By releasing endorphins and reducing stress hormones in the body, exercise can help you feel better and more able to cope with the challenges of everyday life. Incorporating some form of physical activity into your daily routine can have significant benefits for both your physical and mental health.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help manage stress in a healthy way AND improving overall well-being. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to be present in the moment, focus your attention, and cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a popular form of mindfulness training that has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. MBSR typically involves a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and gentle yoga.

There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. You can start with a few minutes of guided meditation each day, or try incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities, such as eating or walking. There are also several mindfulness apps and guided meditations available online that can help you get started with your practice. With regular practice, mindfulness can help you cultivate a greater sense of calm, reduce stress levels, and improve your overall well-being.

Get enough sleep

Learn about different ways to manage stress on a daily basis. Incorporate exercises, mindfulness practices, healthy eating, regular sleep, social connection and taking breaks into your routine | Smile Instead

Lack of sleep can significantly increase stress levels and have a negative impact on your ability to cope with everyday challenges. It can also result in a range of health problems, including mood disorders, weakened immune system, and impaired cognitive function. That’s why it is important to aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Establishing a regular sleep routine, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle and promote better sleep quality.

In addition to having a regular sleep routine, it is also important to create a relaxing environment before bedtime. Avoid using electronic devices before sleep, as the blue light they emit can suppress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. By creating a peaceful and relaxing environment, you can improve your sleep quality and reduce stress levels, ultimately helping you better manage everyday challenges.

Connect with others

Social support is a crucial factor in managing stress effectively. Spending time with loved ones, whether it’s family, friends, or a significant other, can help you feel connected and supported. Talking about your feelings and problems with someone you trust can also help you gain a different perspective on things and feel less alone. Joining a support group or attending therapy sessions are also effective ways to build a support system and learn new coping skills.

Support groups provide an opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences and can offer emotional and practical support. Therapy can also be helpful in managing stress by providing a safe and non-judgmental environment to explore your thoughts and feelings. A trained therapist can help you identify negative thinking patterns and develop new coping strategies to manage stress more effectively. Overall, seeking social support can help you build resilience and improve your ability to manage everyday challenges.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an essential part of managing stress effectively. The foods you eat can affect your mood, energy levels, and overall health, all of which can have a significant impact on your ability to cope with stress. Aim for a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which provide essential vitamins and minerals to support your body’s stress response. Eating a balanced diet can also help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent mood swings, making you feel more stable and in control.

On the other hand, consuming too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can have negative effects on your stress levels. These substances can increase cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, and disrupt your sleep patterns, leaving you feeling irritable and fatigued. Try to limit your intake of these substances, or consider cutting them out entirely, to reduce stress levels and improve your overall health. By making healthy dietary choices, you can support your body’s natural stress response and feel better equipped to handle everyday challenges.

Take breaks

pexels leticia curvelo 15662457Taking regular breaks throughout the day is an effective way to manage stress and improve productivity. When we work for long periods without taking a break, our stress levels can build up and affect our ability to concentrate and make decisions. Taking a short break can help you recharge your batteries and boost your energy levels, allowing you to return to your tasks with renewed focus and motivation.

During your breaks, consider engaging in activities that you enjoy or find relaxing. You could take a short walk around the office or outside, read a book, or listen to music. These activities can help you reduce stress levels and improve your mood, ultimately making you feel better equipped to handle your daily tasks. Taking breaks throughout the day is a simple but effective way to reduce stress levels and increase productivity.

Learn to say no

Learning to say no to activities or commitments that are not essential is an important skill to manage stress effectively. It can be easy to get caught up in trying to please others or taking on too much at once, but this can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Prioritizing your time and energy can help you focus on the things that are most important to you, and reduce stress levels in the long run.

When deciding whether to say yes or no to a commitment, take some time to assess whether it aligns with your values and priorities. Consider whether it will add value to your life, or whether it will drain your time and energy. It is also important to remember that it is okay to say no and set boundaries to protect your mental and physical health. Saying no to activities or commitments that are not essential can help you feel more in control of your time and reduce stress levels in the long run.

These are just a few tips to help manage everyday stress. Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can help you feel more relaxed and better able to cope with stress. If you are experiencing persistent stress or anxiety, it is essential to seek professional help.

Helpful Resources:



  • “Groundhog Day” (1993): A comedy-drama about a cynical weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again, and learns to find joy in the present moment.
  • “Eat Pray Love” (2010): A romantic drama based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, about a woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery through travel and spiritual exploration.
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012): A romantic comedy-drama about a man with bipolar disorder who forms a bond with a woman dealing with her own mental health challenges.
  • “Inside Out” (2015): An animated comedy-drama about the emotions inside a young girl’s mind, and how they navigate her experiences and memories.


  • The Daily Meditation Podcast” by Mary Meckley: Daily guided meditations and mindfulness exercises for stress reduction and relaxation.
  • The Happiness Lab” by Dr. Laurie Santos: Insights and research on the science of happiness and well-being, with practical tips and exercises.
    • BONUS – Dr, Laurie Santos also offers a free course about well-being and happiness on Coursera! Check it out!
  • The Minimalists Podcast” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus: Conversations about minimalism, intentional living, and finding meaning beyond material possessions.
  • The Mindful Minute” by Meryl Arnett: Short guided meditations and mindfulness practices for stress reduction and increased focus.


  • Headspace: Guided meditations and mindfulness exercises for stress reduction, sleep improvement, and overall well-being.
  • Calm: Guided meditations, sleep stories, and relaxation exercises for stress reduction and better sleep.
  • BetterSleep: This app offers a variety of guided meditations focused on relaxation and stress reduction, as well as sleep-specific meditations to help users fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
  • Stop, Breathe & Think: A mindfulness app with guided meditations, breathing exercises, and tools for tracking emotions and moods.

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These resources can provide helpful tools and techniques for managing stress and promoting well-being. However, it is important to remember that everyone’s needs and preferences are different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the resources and techniques that work best for you.

Learning to manage stress is crucial for maintaining your mental and physical well-being. By incorporating the tips outlined in this article, such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, seeking social support, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and taking breaks throughout the day, you can improve your ability to cope with stress and live a more fulfilling life.

It is important to remember that stress is a natural part of life, and it cannot be completely avoided. However, by taking proactive steps to manage stress, you can reduce its impact on your life and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.

If you find that stress is affecting your ability to function or causing persistent feelings of anxiety, it may be helpful to speak with a mental health professional. They can provide you with additional tools and techniques for managing stress and improving your overall well-being.

Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is essential for leading a happy and healthy life. So, be kind to yourself, prioritize your well-being, and take steps to manage everyday stress in a way that works best for you. 

And for more happy habits, check out this other article: 5 Simple Habits to Cultivate Genuine Happiness in Your Life 


Smile Instead empowers individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential through personal development, self-care, and mindfulness. We provide inspiration, practical advice, and a supportive community to help individuals heal from trauma, fight depression and anxiety, and find happiness and fulfillment in their lives.


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