Life gets stressful. Being on the go can take a toll. You don’t always have the time to go for a run, take a relaxing bath, or read that book you have been dying to finish. We all need ways to reduce stress when we can. 

I made a list of five ways to reduce stress that a person can do anywhere at anytime. The big idea of these activities is to get away from the computer or phone. A quick break from technology does wonders. Your eyes don’t feel strained, that headache you had goes away, you get time to focus on you, and your brain is blessed with a break.

These five activities have been proven to reduce stress. The most you need to carry is a small journal and/or coloring book and pens/pencils to be able to have these quick stress reducing breaks.

1. Color or Doodle

cake, candy
Shelby Cohron
One of the most fun ways to reduce stress is coloring. You have probably seen all of those cool adult coloring books ranging from Harry Potter to the famous Secret Garden. Carrying those coloring books to the library (or wherever you are going) to take a 10-minute coloring break can be a hassle. When you get stressed with work, you can’t just whip out those big books. Instead, carry a small coloring book or notebook with you. Studies show that coloring reduces stress. It puts your mind in a meditative state, which is extremely beneficial to the brain. It is easy to fit a couple pens and pencils plus a tiny book in your bag.

If you don’t like coloring, try doodling, which is another great way to reduce stress. Let your mind wander where it wants. According to Sunny Brown, a woman who speaks about doodling in a TED Talk, it is beneficial to the mind. Doodling helps you focus, retain more information, and helps with your creative problem solving. You only need a pen and a piece of paper. If your mind starts to wander, let it wander. That means it could be time for a break.

2. Write Down 3 Things to Be Grateful For

One of the best things to do when you’re stressed or anxious is to make a list. Specifically, write down three things you are grateful for. Review it and realize all of the wonderful things you have. You can be specific or general. What's even better is to keep a small journal, write down three things you’re grateful for that day, and when you’re stressed look back and reminisce. The purpose of this activity is to get away from the negative thoughts. You may not feel happy right away, but you begin to realize there is a lot more to life than stressing about work.

Personally, I keep a tiny journal that I write in every day. I put three things I’m grateful for and a quote. Looking back reminds me what makes me happy, the amazing things I have done, and memories with friends and family.

3. Go Outside

The benefits of going outside for a little 5 to 10 minute break can reduce your stress. If it’s raining or you simply just don’t want to go outside, find a window. A study shows that even sitting by a window can reduce stress. A great view is very calming. But going outside to feel the wind, listen to sounds of people walking by, and watching the world is even better. You will improve your focus, think more creatively, and most importantly reduce stress. 

4.  Listen to This Playlist

There is a beautiful playlist out there that is scientifically proven to reduce stress. The main song you want to listen to on said playlist is “Weightless” by Macron Union. God bless this song because it reduces 65% of people’s anxiety. Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson who designed the study decided to create a whole playlist filled with songs to reduce stress. He also said not to listen to this song while driving because many participants became drowsy. Honestly, if a song can make me sleepy, I would use it to fall asleep every night. 

5. Breathe

Deep breathing does wonders for your mind and soul. Try to find a quiet place (or listen to the playlist above to cancel out the noise). It can be difficult at first, but once you get it down, you are on your way to pure bliss. There are many types of breathing exercises. The best for stress and anxiety is deep breathing. You want to take a long, deep breath for 6 seconds, hold it, and exhale for 7 seconds. At the 10th breath, you will become calmer. If you need help focusing or want practice, the GIF above helps.