Frau entspannt in der Sonne

Sustainable stress reduction: 5 methods for stress relief

Trouble at work, difficulties in balancing work and family, high expectations of ourselves: More than 60 percent of Germans feel stressed [1]. Is the nasty inner high pressure feeling part of your everyday life somehow? Take a moment to listen inside yourself, because quite often we tend to ignore the relevant signals and stubbornly “carry on”.

Symptoms of excessive stress

But when stress becomes a habit, our body reliably warns us with symptoms: These include chronic tension, cardiac dysrhythmia or permanently high blood pressure. Inner restlessness and insomnia are also typical and can make you nervous, even depressed. And of course: Even interpersonal stress turns us into moody time bombs rather than dream partners, empathetic parents or understanding friends!

How do I get rid of my stress?

Many people who have problems with stress want to know how they can protect their health and effectively prevent stress disorders such as burn-out & co. But how does healthy stress management work? It’s good to know that there are tools with scientifically proven effectiveness that make it easy for you to take stress reduction into your own hands. Because “under power” we may be given real superpower in the short term – but in the long term the stress hormone cocktail in our blood makes us unbalanced and sick.

These four tips can help you to surf the waves of your everyday life in a relaxed and concentrated way:

1. Sport relieves stress


Science agrees: physical activity reduces your psychological and biological stress reactions [2]. You don’t have to perform at your best, you have to keep up with it regularly!

Relaxed by treadmill training

One study showed that untrained men reacted much more calmly to psychological stress after a 12-week treadmill training session than before: The researchers “stressed” the test subjects in a targeted manner and found fewer stress hormones in the blood of the participants after the scientifically prescribed fitness programme than in the same test at the beginning of the experiment. Even the heart was not so easily thrown off track by the scientists’ provocations! [3] Other trials have shown that people who exercise during stressful times have fewer sleep problems than stressed sports addicts. [4]

Your very personal anti-stress workout

By the way, with sport you can also specifically influence your own personal stress problems: If you have a tendency to brood, pure running training is rather unsuitable for you and you should prefer cognitively demanding activities such as ball sports, martial arts or dancing. If you neglect social contacts during periods of stress, training in a club or running group is the best sports strategy for you. Antidepressant effects can be achieved mainly through the right “dose”: your workout should make your body burn at least 17.5 kcal per kilogram per week [4].

2. Take time for your friends and family


Did you know that an intact social environment is a real stress killer? Studies have shown that good contacts with other people in everyday life act as a “buffer” that keeps stress at bay. Good friends make us cool and relaxed

The team of Markus Heinrichs, a psychologist from Freiburg, demonstrated that caring attention is not only subjectively beneficial, but also has a direct influence on the biochemistry of our body. The scientists tested the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of men who had to solve a mental exercise in front of an audience.

Scientific medical proof

Background of the experiment: While one half of the participants had been accompanied by a good friend who had supported them with uplifting words before the test, the other half of the participants had appeared alone. And indeed: in the bodies of the men who had experienced verbal empowerment through their friend, there was a lower concentration of cortisol than in the “lone fighters” of the control group! [4]

You can change your brain – and it likes affectionate care

The exciting thing is that because our brain is plastic, researchers assume that social support can even change our brain structure in the long term and make us more resistant to stress from the ground up. So if you cuddle, caress and have a supportive exchange with loved ones, you will be better able to cope with challenging situations! By the way, the place where affection affects your body is your HPA axis – this is the part of the hormone system that controls your stress reactions and thus influences, among other things, your immune system, your emotions and your sexuality [5].

3. Bet on Mindpower


Good time management, a healthy diet, regular finances – many tips to help you reduce stress are more concerned with the external circumstances of your life. But there is another factor that plays an important role in stimulating stress reactions: your inner experience! What happens in your head when you are stressed? What is your view of your world? This is exactly where methods start that work with “Mindpower” – the power of your thoughts.

Act consciously instead of reacting automatically

Actually, it’s quite weird: We find many situations stressful only because we have simply gotten into the habit of judging them that way. And this is exactly where your chance lies! Once you have recognised that in most cases you are not helplessly at the mercy of overpowering stressors, but that you create this oppressive scenario yourself with your own thoughts, you can realign your perception. By the way, mindfulness exercises can be a good help in “reprogramming” your thinking habits.

Observe yourself

Molecular biologist Jon Kabatt Zinn, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a world-renowned mindfulness researcher, recommends as the most important step towards freeing the body from automated stress reactions: Stay fully present while the stress situation unfolds! In concrete terms, this means to consciously watch how your own body’s homemade mechanisms work in stressful situations.

Stay boss in your head

You see a long supermarket line and your blood pressure rises? You start to sweat? Your heart is racing? Use the power of your thoughts, consciously observe the processes in your body and realise that your habitual reaction is not an inevitable one. Do the many people in front of you really make you react stressed out – or are you not much more nervous about the thoughts and beliefs you have formed over the years about “jam at the cash register”?

Going new ways

In a next step, as a boss, you can take other approaches in your head: Allow new connections and paths to develop in your brain, which will make you more relaxed and balanced towards life. Maybe the waiting time while shopping is a good opportunity to breathe consciously for a few minutes? Couldn’t you also see the moment as a break? You can reduce stress by changing your assessment of situations and by practising a new attitude towards your everyday life and its challenges.

4. Explore mental relaxation methods


Time and again, studies have shown that regular meditation is the miracle weapon par excellence when it comes to stress reduction! Because inner contemplation helps you [6].

Meditation groes nerve cells in the brain

Fascinating: Those who use mental relaxation to arm themselves against the stress factors in their own everyday life can literally “let their brain grow” – and really quickly! Researchers were able to prove by means of magnetic resonance imaging that the brains of 16 participants in an eight-week meditation course had produced more so-called “grey matter” – after an average exercise time of only 23 hours. The density of nerve cells had increased, especially in those parts of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory processes, self-perception, emotional control and stress reactions [11].

Buddhist monks surprise scientists

In another spectacular experiment, eight Buddhist monks surprised scientists: even in relatively short meditation phases of 90 seconds, they were able to cause an increase in the so-called gamma waves in their brain [12]- a frequency that is typical for concentration, peak performance and learning experiences. And while a few years ago mental relaxation methods were still a kind of “matter of faith”, which many people saw more in esoteric or religious contexts, it is clear today: meditation works.

5. Meditation combined with frequency therapy – a powerful tool for stress reduction

It is a powerful tool with which you can have a lasting effect on your relaxation potential, concentration and learning ability! Tip for you: Do it like a monk and meditate regularly. The more practised and experienced you are, the better you can switch off and relax at the push of a button.

Getting out of the stress? It’s quite easy with the frequency therapies of sonamedic

sonamedic audio programmes are an easy way to achieve stress reduction in everyday life through inner contemplation. The guided meditation creates the space within you to concentrate on your breath. The effects of the binaural beats let you slide into deep relaxation. Positive affirmations and calming images of nature strengthen your nervous system. When things get stressful again, sonamedic gives you a valuable technique to help your body and mind easily out of automated stress reactions.

Scientific sources

(1) Entspann dich, Deutschland. TK-Stressstudie 2016. Online (Zugriff 6. Mai 2019)

(2) Fuchs, Klaperski (2016): Stressregulation durch Sport und Bewegung. Online (Zugriff 6. Mai 2019)

(3) Klaperski, von Dawans, Heinrichs, Fucks (2014): Effects of a 12-week endurance training program on the psychological response to psychological stress in men: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 1118-1133.

(4) Gerber, Brand, Herrmann, Colledge, Holsboer-Trachsler, Pühse (2014):

Increasedobjectively assessed vigorous-intensity exercise isassociated with reduced stress, increased mental healthand good objective and subjective sleep in youngadults. Physiology & Behavior, 135,17–24.

(5) Fuchs, Klaperski (2016): S. o.

(6) Heinrichs, Baumgartner, Kirschbaum, Ehlert (2003): Social support and oxytocin interact to suppress cortisol and subjective responses to psychological stress. Biol. Psychatry, 54 (12), 1389-1398.

(7) Dunn, Trivedi, Kampert, Clark, Chambliss (2005): Exercise treatment for depression:

Efficacy and dose response. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 1-8.

(8) Ditzen, Heinrichs (2014): Psychology of social support: The social dimension of stress buffering. Online (Zugriff 6. Mai 2019)

(9) Jon Kabat-Zinn: Gesund durch Meditation. Das große Buch der Selbstheilung (2011), 220.

(10) Luders, Kurth, Toga, Narr, Gaser (2013): Meditation effects within the hippocampal complex reveales by voxelbased morphometry and cytoarchitectonic probabilistic mapping. Online (Zugriff 6. Mai 2019)

(11) Hölzel, Carmody, Congleron, Yeramsetti, Gard, Lazar (2010): Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Online (Zugriff 6.Mai 2019)

(12) Lutz, Lawrence, Greischar, Rawling, Ricard, Davidson (2004): Long-term meditators self-induced high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Online (Zugriff 6. Mai 2019)

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