While it may not be possible to eliminate stress completely from your life, there are ways to reduce the severity of stress and its effects. My top way to alleviate stress is meditation. Mediating helps me become more mindful — becoming better at acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and sensations without being overwhelmed. I like to think that meditation enables me to have a thought without becoming that thought.
If meditation isn’t a technique that you enjoy, consider the simple alternative of going for a walk, particularly outside. Many people, including myself, find that connecting with nature is an effective way to reduce stress. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can improve your mood and physical health including lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced muscle tension and decreased stress hormones.
You might also benefit from night time herbal teas and supplements. My favorites include tulsi tea (also called holy basil), ashwagandha, and CBD. Before trying these or other substances, be sure to learn about their effects and interactions, and consider checking with your doctor or other health care provider.
Expressing gratitude is another technique that you might find helpful. You can simply spend a few minutes thinking over what you appreciated about the day. Some people prefer to write in a gratitude journal on a daily or weekly basis. One research study observed lower stress levels and increased feelings of calmness among participants who wrote down positive events at the end of each day.
Finally, a really important tool for fighting stress is to establish a pre-sleep routine that trains your nervous system to expect rest. My nightly routine includes herbal teas and supplements (see above), typically a shower, and about 10 minutes of either meditation or light yoga. My yoga favorites for winding down include Child’s pose, Legs-Up-The-Wall pose (Viparita Karani), and Corpse Pose. This routine primes my body for the sleep that follows.