If you are on the verge of losing it due to stress, chances are you are probably experiencing such things as lack of concentration, frequent colds, nervous habits, nausea, poor judgment, unexplained aches and pains--and these are just a few of the side effects too much stress can cause. Stress can also lead to some very serious health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that can drastically shorten your life.

77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms from stress.

Most of us are already aware that exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough rest can help us cope with stress more effectively. Tried all of those things and still feeling stressed? Try some unusual stress busters that can greatly improve the way you feel and bring the sanity back into your work and home life.

1. Redecorate

Make your home a safe haven designed with only you in mind--beach theme, Mediterranean, Balinese, whatever your thing is. Create your version of Zen at home or in your bedroom--this will become your stress-free zone to come home to.

2. Share some RAK

Do something above and beyond--a random act of kindness (RAK)--for someone else. Share your kindness in little or big ways.

3. Always have a Plan B

Think ahead and be open to multiple plans in case Plan A doesn't work out.

4. Know when to let go

So often our stress and anxiety increase when we hold onto something that simply isn't working for us any longer. Take a close look at your commitments and relationships--job, current relationship, and living situation--and seriously consider letting go of a constant stress-maker or two or three.

5. Stay away from whiners

Keep away from the negative naysayers who constantly complain. Surround yourself with positive people.

6. Remove the shoes

Yes, the simple act of removing your shoes can reduce your stress. Some companies have a no-shoe policy at work that is producing positive profit results.

7. Try creativity

Whether you like to write, cook, draw, paint, work with wood, make candles, scrapbook, work with clay, finger paint, or a million other creative endeavors, tapping into your creative side--even if you don't think you have one--can significantly reduce stress.

8. Plan fun

Give yourself something to look forward to--plan a special afternoon trip, day or weekend away, or an awesome vacation.

9. Plants and animals. And fish?

Research shows that adding plants to your home or having a furry or feathered friend at home can greatly reduce stress and even your blood pressure. Or if plants and animals aren't your thing, try an aquarium--staring at an aquarium and observing the fish for as little as 10 minutes can be a huge stress reliever.

10. Swear or punch something

Research has proven that letting off steam by saying a few swear words or punching something (not people!) can help relieve anxiety--just be mindful of where or on what you're letting off this kind of steam.

11. Keep your weight in check

Weight gain can lower self-esteem further increasing daily stressors--lose the extra weight.

12. Be playful

Being playful is a great way to reduce stress. Remember those carefree days as a child--that's what you're going for. Play hopscotch, hide & seek with friends, blow bubbles, or climb a tree.

13. What's the worst that can happen?

When your stress is maxed out, imagine the worst-case scenario and create an action plan just in case the worst does happen. Stress is reduced when you're prepared for the worst--if you can get through that, you can get through anything.

14. Make a rug out of bubble wrap

Roll out bubble wrap onto your hallway floor and crush those bubbles. Research has proven that this provides as much stress relief as a half-hour massage. Seriously.

15. Call them comfort foods

It's true: research shows that these foods help reduce stress: Oysters, avocado, oatmeal, raspberries & blueberries, oranges, pistachios & walnuts, and drum roll...chocolate (the low-sugar kind of chocolate, though, as sugar can increase the stress you feel).

16. Find your happy thoughts

Think about things or events in your life that genuinely make you happy--those things that put a stress-busting smile on your face, for at least 10 minutes.

17. Chew gum

There is a growing body of evidence that chewing gum provides stress relief.

18. Seek silence

When all else fails, seek silence. Turn everything off--cell phone, computer, TV, annoying co-worker--and just be with yourself.

Published on: Jan 9, 2016