Everyone gets stressed from time to time. It can be short-lived, like when you’re stuck in a traffic jam or having a tough day at work. Or it might be more long-term, like having a death in the family or financial troubles.

The latest Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association shows some new stressors: dependence on technology and social media, personal safety, and the political climate.

And 3 in 10 Americans agree that they want to spend less time worrying. About 36 percent think that reducing stress is a priority. So how can you reduce the stress in your life? These members offer a few tips. 

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.

Make time for leisure. I love to go with my husband and friends to new areas in Texas. We check out the bluebonnets — bringing new pictures for decorating. Walking or riding my bike on scenic routes. Listening to Hawaiian music, which reminds me of sweet memories of home and family.

I also listen to [pianist] David Lanz and other music to soothe my spirit. Worshipping at church with fellow saints. Spiritual mindfulness. Taking time to pray. Eating healthy. Setting limits: knowing when to say no. Time management: stay away from procrastination. Leave work at work.

Lastly, hang out with positive people. I know this sounds like a lot; however, one cannot have too many choices. If one idea doesn’t seem to relieve the feeling of stress, then I can consider another option.

— Joan N.

Exercise in the morning before anything that may happen during the day gets in the way. Make time for an hour for yourself with a good workout.

— Jeannie R.

We all know how important exercise and enough rest can be for stress relief. But de-stressing is an individual operation! My best stress reliever is getting outside on my little wooded acreage.

We have a small pond with a few fish, and the sound of the fountain is very soothing. There’s sunshine or shade, whichever you prefer, and flowers bloom there almost all year long.

Then there are my chickens, which need care and feeding daily. They are alert, curious, fascinating creatures, and they seem to be listening when I talk to them!

My husband and I cook outside as often as weather permits, and sitting outdoors in the quiet evenings is so welcome after a stressful day. The dogs join us on the patio to welcome us home and see what’s for dinner.

Nature, sunshine and animals are all great stress relievers! Enjoy them if you can.

— Mylea P.

  1. Breathe slowly and deeply 10 times.
  2. Listen to relaxing music before sleeping or have it playing in the background while cooking, cleaning, etc. (water cascade, rain, birds).
  3. Guided meditation (I love this very much).
  4. Walk (love to feel the air in my face).
  5. Art heals (or any other craft of your preference).
  6. Lavender essential oils (apply in the center of each foot or hand).
  7. Take a bath (you can add a few lavender drops in the water).
  8. Laughing and dancing with your kids (It’s so cool! Be silly. Follow what they do).
  9. Be connected with nature (I hug trees and walk barefoot on the grass).

I do all of these things, and it really works. You don’t have to do all of them in one day. You can mix and match, or pick one every day and try to do it.

Self-care matters. Take care of yourself first so you can take care of your beloved! Hoping it helps!

— Maria R.

The way I reduce stress in my life is to try to put things into perspective. I think to myself, “Is this situation as dire as I’m making it out to be? Aren’t there worse things that could happen, and shouldn’t I be grateful that this is all I’m having to deal with?”

A "this too shall pass" attitude is my way of dealing with each situation because I can usually imagine that there are much worse things that could happen.

Also, in case you need help relaxing for a better night’s sleep, I use a couple of sleep story apps that have helped me shut my mind down and relax my body. One is called “Calm” and the other “Slumber.” In addition to the sleep stories, these apps contain meditations that can relieve stress. However, for me it’s strictly a sleep aid.

— Donna F.