7 Science Backed Ways to Reduce Stress and the Monday Blues

Whether it’s financial issues at home, a fight with your spouse, or increasing pressures at work, everyone goes through stressful periods during their life. In fact, studies have shown that stress in adults is continuing to increase, which has a negative impact on both the mental and physical health of Americans. 

While therapy is an effective way to decrease stress, it also takes a lot of planning and time to get through. So what are you supposed to do on a Monday morning when you are feeling the blues and don’t have access to a therapist? Here are some ways to reduce stress that can be done at any time. These 7 ways to cope with stress right now can start you on a quick path to feeling better.

1. Listen to Music

Research shows that music can help relieve stress in several ways because it is a powerful tool in influencing emotions. In one study, researchers sought out to determine if listening to relaxing music can help people recover from a stressful event as opposed to listening to no music at all. 

The results of this study showed that listening to relaxing music reduced the salivary cortisol levels in students, suggesting that listening to music is an effective stress reliever.

If you are looking to beat the Monday blues, turn on some tunes in your office and listen to some light music in the background while you are working.

2. Drink Tea

If you are looking for ways of coping with stress and anxiety without really having to put forth much effort, simply switch out your morning coffee with some black tea. 

A study done by the University College London found that when people drank black tea, they were able to de-stress faster than those who drank a tea-flavored substitute drink. Additionally, the study participants were found to have lower levels of cortisol in their blood after a stressful situation compared with the control group who drank a placebo tea.

Stop what you are doing and enjoy a cup of tea if you are feeling some tension. This can slowly help you relieve it without even having to leave the house.

3. Get Some Exercise

One way to set yourself up to beat the Monday blues over the weekend is to get some exercise. The physical and mental benefits of exercise have long been established, and doctors always encourage their patients to be physically active. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, studies show that exercise is effective for reducing fatigue, improving mental alertness and concentration, and at enhancing brain function. This is great if you are looking for how to beat Monday blues and your energy is depleted or you are unable to concentrate.

When stress impacts the brain’s nerve connections, the entire body is impacted. Alternatively, if your body feels well, your mind will too. Exercise produces endorphins which act as natural painkillers, which in turn can have a negative impact on stress.

Scientists have found that doing only about five minutes of aerobic exercise each day can begin to have anti-anxiety effects on the brain. According to this article from Elevate Training, strength training is shown to have positive effects on mental health.

4. Chew Gum

Researchers have found that something as simple as chewing gum can help bring down stress levels. According to LiveStrong, a 2008 study showed that the act of chewing gum reduced cortisol, a stress hormone, in study participants. Participants reported feeling more alert and less stressed while chewing gum.

Chewing gum has some benefits over other methods of reducing stress. It is inexpensive, easy to access, and can be used almost anywhere. You can easily pop a piece of gum into your mouth at any point in your day. It is best, however, to opt for sugar-free gum so you do not gain weight and hurt your teeth, which can both add stress to your life. 

5. Go for a Walk

Taking a break and going for a short walk can greatly decrease your stress. Scientists have found that walking in nature actually helps to decrease rumination, which often leads to anxiety and depression. 

Interestingly, it is important to specifically go for a walk in nature rather than down the busy streets of your town. When you are able to be in a quiet area with your thoughts, you are more likely to work through them and stop ruminating on negative things that have happened.

6. Kiss Someone

Kissing has been shown to decrease stress and increase levels of oxytocin. Wendy Hill, a professor of neuroscience at Lafayette College, performed an experiment on college students to prove this to be true. She had the college students kiss someone of the opposite sex for 15 minutes while they were listening to music. The students had significant changes in their levels of oxytocin and cortisol. Oxytocin affects pair bonding, which makes people feel close to one another and decreases anxiety. The students’ blood and saliva levels of these chemicals were compared before and after the kiss.

A test group who was instructed to only hold hands with the opposite sex was used for comparison. This group did not experience the same change in chemicals as the students who kissed.

7. Write Things Down

Writing down what is stressing you out can help you relieve some of the pressure that it is putting on you. Get it all out on paper and put it aside to worry about during another time. Keeping a journal may actually be one of the best ways to effectively reduce work-related stress symptoms because it has both meditative and reflective effects.

Keeping a gratitude journal can also help you keep things in perspective. Stress, responsibilities, and routine can keep us in a recurring cycle of negative thinking that leads to more intense stress by feeding on itself. This pattern can lead to bigger ailments such as constant fatigue and depression. Looking for ways to focus on the positive things going on in your life can help you reprogram your brain and break the cycle of negativity.

Take some time every day to write down what you are thankful for so you keep that positivity in your life. This will help put things into perspective that may be causing you stress or unhappiness. 

There are a lot of things that cause stress in our lives, so thankfully there are some effective ways to combat it each day. Try these tricks when you are feeling excess pressure in your life to help you relieve the stress and make you feel more relaxed.

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