There are plenty of ways to effectively reduce stress. Many impactful steps, however, might be next to impossible to implement, like reducing your daily commute or improving a toxic work environment.

Furthermore, even more realistic measures can be inherently stressful (at first) as they require effort, such as adopting bedtime rituals or planning & preparing meals for the week. You gotta stick it out and get to the “robot stage” before the stress-reduction benefits can take effect.

The good news? Some really effective steps are cheap and easy and offer immediate returns.

A few are even near-instant “holy shit I feel better” life-changers.

My current favorites:

– Curate your social media feed. You don’t have to give everyone your attention, much less consider their opinion. Morons are always gonna moron — why let them pollute your headspace?

– Reconsider your background “noise.” Familiar music = good. Cable news = bad. Especially during election season. (Is it always election season?)

– Deep breathing. You don’t have to do this shit all day. But just a minute or two every hour can have a noticeable effect. Don’t overthink it.

– Disable as many notifications as possible. Except for ones that help you stay on top of your day and minimize overwhelm.

– Remove social media from your phone. Or only install it during times when scrolling might be time well spent (sitting at the airport).

Perhaps dedicate a single tablet/device for social media? Bonus points if you yell “fuck these idiots” and then smash said tablet against the wall. Overly dramatic perhaps, but don’t knock it til you try it.

– Steady state cardio. Hugely underrated for lowering both objective, physiological stress indicators and more subjective ones. If you hate walking on a treadmill then get a dog.

Actually a dog probably reduces stress better than anything, except they’re not cheap & easy (certainly not bulldogs) but oh so worth it. For those who adopt rescues, God bless you.

Stress is a necessary part of life but should never get out hand. So take ownership and manage that shit, before it manages the joy right out of you.