6 Seriously Easy Ways to De-Stress During Wedding Planning (or Any Time)

See you later, stress!
Nadia Bey
by Nadia Bey

Today our lives are busier than ever (especially when you add planning a wedding to the mix), which means they can be more stressful than ever too. But don't worry, we're here for you. Read on for six simple ways to de-stress so you can improve your overall happiness and productivity during this special time in your life.

1. Spend time in nature

This is as simple as finding time to wander in a forested area or park and be present with the aromas, sounds and sights of nature. According to the National Institute of Health, researchers found that after just 15 minutes, those who spent time in the forest experienced a reduction in blood pressure and stress levels and increased their clarity and focus. Trees also emit oils called phytoncides that boost our immune system and increase disease-fighting blood cells.

2. Pause for one to three minutes every 60 minutes

In mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) the "pause exercise" is simply stopping what you're doing and taking a moment to notice and observe thoughts, sights, sounds and smells as well as any liking, disliking or neutrality. The point is to create awareness, relax, redirect your attention to the body and breath, and then slowly reintegrate back into your senses.

3. Express gratitude

Martin Seligman, PhD, father of positive psychology, termed the phrase "three good things" to promote the exercise of expressing gratitude. Studies show that humans are prone to a negative bias where our brains focus on the one negative thing that happened in a day as opposed to the multiple other things that went well. In fact, in a recent study, people who named three things they were grateful for each night for one week experienced reduced stress and were happier and less depressed. Try keeping a gratitude journal where you jot down the things you're thankful for each night to heighten your satisfaction and fulfillment and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

4. Power nap

The people of Greece are known to have low levels of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This has been attributed not only to a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables and olive oil, but also to their ritual of afternoon napping. Studies show an afternoon nap is actually more effective than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning, and can improve cognitive function, as well as reduce stress.

5. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Also called abdominal or belly breathing, this is when you manipulate your breath by slowing your breathing and deepening the expansion of the belly. This voluntary slow and deep breathing activates the parasympathetic response, which decreases heart rate and blood pressure. Benefits of this exercise include reduced feelings of anxiety and stress, and increased alertness. Try exhaling and inhaling for a slow four-count each for one to three minutes or more. Not only will you be increasing oxygen levels in the brain, you'll also distract yourself from the source of stress, which helps to return your mind to a state that's more clear and able to focus.

6. Get moving!

Any movement that causes you to deepen your breathing and move with intention not only produces endorphins that make you feel good, reduce stress and pain, but also takes your attention away from the clutter going on in your mind. A power walk, 25 jumping jacks or even push-ups against the wall can quickly change your mental state.

However you find most beneficial in relieving stress, remember that stress is not all bad—it can actually propel us forward in life. It's all about how we think about stress that makes a difference in how it affects us.

Get even more from Nadia and her celeb fitness-trainer husband, Mark, in their new fitness and mindfulness program, Fit for Love ($9/month), developed exclusively for The Knot and only available on Burner Fitness.

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