Different Ways To Reduce Stress Levels

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

“Stress is a part of our lives, but it doesn't’ have to control us. By creating a daily practice of countering stress, we call the shots,” says Candace Cloud. Candace provides some ways to help cope with stress such as different breathing techniques, eating the right foods, and positive self-talk.

Breathing Techniques

When we get stressed, our bodies produce high cortisol and adrenaline levels. Exercising is a good way to lower these levels. However, Candace demonstrates a breathing technique that can help reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels for those who have a hard time exercising. Candace describes belly breathing as taking three deep controlled breathes, deep into the belly, and then pause for about three seconds and then slowly exhale. By breathing like this, you will decrease your flow of adrenaline and cortisol levels.

“(Deep belly breathing) will help re-engage our brains and we will begin to make good choices.”

Another breathing technique Candace discusses focuses on the placement of your jaw. She states to open your jaw slightly and let your tongue relax on the floor of your mouth. Take slow even breathes into your nose and out through your mouth. Perform each breath for thirty seconds. “We hold a lot of stress in our jaws, and this exercise tells our parasympathetic nervous system to relax,” says Candace. You can see Candace demonstrate this technique in the video blow under Self Talk, starting at 1:00.

Eating The Right Foods

One way a person might deal with stress is by eating what is referred to as ‘comfort foods’ such as salty crunchy chips or sweet soft cookies. However, Candace points out that these foods we think provide us comfort actually do the opposite.

“We think after a hard day (these foods) are going to comfort us and make us feel better. But, the truth is they won’t, what they do is because they are high in sugar, salt, and fat is they raise the stress hormone cortisol in our bloodstream.”

Eating foods that are high in magnesium increases serotonin levels which in return lowers stress levels. Foods that are high in magnesium include bananas, apples, nuts (especially almonds) and a little bit of dark chocolate.


Negative self-talk is a form of stress. Candace states, “When we say words like ‘my bad’, or ‘I’m a loser’ our blood pressure rises and our adrenaline and cortisol levels increase.” She references a study in which a professor found that positive self-talk such as “I will do better next time” can actually lower blood pressure.

Candace says another way to reduce stress is to carry around pictures or objects that make you happy when you look at them!

How do you cope with stress? Share your story with us at Ablethrive.com!

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