4 easy swaps for less stress—starting today

Senior man having fun using mobile phone at park

When stress strikes, how you respond can make all the difference. But often our natural instincts get in the way. Some common coping methods create a vicious cycle that makes stress worse. Disrupt those unhealthy patterns and break free from stress with a healthier way of coping.

Instead of alcohol, try a cup of tea

Many people like to relax with a drink when they’re dealing with stress. Yet, too much alcohol can make anxiety worse. Over time, heavy drinking can impact brain chemistry, changing how the body responds to stress and increasing anxiety.¹

Still, a soothing beverage can help you relax. Tea may be a better option. Research suggests a number of possible mood benefits to drinking tea, from lowered stress hormones to lower risk of depression.²

Instead of scrolling social media, call a friend

Social media is a way many people keep up with friends. Social ties can make us better able to manage stress; yet social media can actually leave people feeling less connected, not more. While research is mixed, it has been linked to symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.³ In fact, a weeklong social media break led to lower anxiety in one study.

What’s the one thing you can do today to really connect? Try an 8-minute phone call. That is, ask a friend to chat (not text) for just 8 minutes. Why 8 minutes? There’s no magic to the exact time, but experts say it’s long enough to have a real conversation but not so long that it drags on and ends awkwardly.

Instead of videos on YouTube, try a guided relaxation

Meditation is a fast, easy way to lessen stress. Even a few minutes can help you feel calmer, but it can be hard to know how to start. Luckily, there are plenty of online videos that can help.

Search for terms like “guided relaxation” or “meditation.” You can also add a time frame, like 5 or 10 minutes, and any imagery or themes you find relaxing, like “beach” or “forest.” When you find one you like, bookmark the link so you can come back to it again.

Instead of trying harder, ask for help

If stress and anxiety are making it hard to live your life, mental health treatment may make a difference. Some people benefit from talk therapy, or taking medication. But there are other options too.

Another treatment option that is drug-free and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit to get started is Freespira. Freespira is FDA-cleared to treat panic attacks and PTSD symptoms. It works by teaching you to regulate your breathing naturally.

The Freespira treatment program takes just 28 days so you can get back to the life you love.

Find out if you qualify with our online assessment tool.

A loving father of African descent sits on the couch at home and reads a storybook to his preschool age daughter. The child is sitting on her father's lap and is smiling while looking at the book.

Feeling stuck? Try kindness instead of criticism.

A beautiful mixed race young adult woman embraces her vibrant retirement age mother. The mother and daughter are enjoying a relaxing walk in nature on a beautiful, sunny day. In the background is a mountainous evergreen forest bathed in sunlight.

Unlock the Power of Self-Compassion

Enjoying the hilltop views. Happy mature hiker looking away with a smile on his face while standing on top of a hill with a backpack. Adventurous backpacker enjoying a hike at sunset.

3 Steps to Using Self-Talk for Good