To Put This in Context:
Stress is the primary cause of illness and disease in the United States.  It’s a recurring issue that Nursing, Applied Psychology, and Health Science degrees address in modern curriculums. Many of us — especially full-time students or overworked professionals — feel the effects of stress daily. However, research has shown that more rest equals better productivity and workplace efficiency.  Read on to discover creative methods of combating stress and improving your mental clarity.
Americans’ stress levels are nearly two times higher than what’s considered safe for the human body. #Context
1. Reduce your stress with cutting-edge apps.
Modern Applied Psychology, Software Development, and Computer Science degrees now have components that address the links between social media and psychological stress — and for good reason. The average person has five social media accounts and spends almost two hours each day browsing their networks on mobile applications.  This mobile screen time doesn’t have to be an unproductive time suck, however. Apps such as Headspace and Calm are bringing mental rejuvenation to the digital space with platforms designed to provide guided meditation throughout the day.
Did you know?
The Headspace app provides free 10-minute relaxation sessions that can be downloaded and played any time, any place. Subscriptions begin at $12.95 per month. Similarly, Calm offers one- to three-week programs designed to induce meditation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep, with monthly subscriptions beginning at $4.99.
2. Rearrange your holiday priority list.
According to the Gallup U.S. Mood Index, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two happiest days of the year.  And though the holiday season is perceived as a welcome time for fellowship, many Americans get caught up spending money and time on tedious preparations, shopping, and meeting holiday obligations.
Pew Research explored these potentially stressful activities and discovered that during the holidays, people actually spent less time volunteering, eating, and socializing with friends — activities they reported made them happy. 
In a separate Pew study on Christmas, researchers discovered that:
- 46% of Americans reported that Christmas shopping makes them feel stretched thin financially
- 36% say that shopping is a stressful experience
- 23% report that they feel their Christmas shopping is wasteful
To avoid being overwhelmed during the holidays, consider low-cost activities, traditions, and routines that can involve your loved ones and neighbors. Additionally, avoid large crowds and an overabundance of shopping, which can not only increase stress, but also create future financial worries. 
Did you know?
According to the European Social Survey, the Danish are some of the happiest people in Europe. And for good reason: Many practice “hygge” (pronounced hue-gah), the Danish art of celebrating life. You can incorporate some hygge concepts into your routine by studying outside, taking walks during work breaks, and using a portion of your day to unwind without stimulation.
3. Declutter your workspace. Free your mind.
If you have a personal study or home office, consider “de-stressifying” your desk so you can have space for clearer thinking. Here’s how:
- Re-organize your desk starting from scratch. Princeton University researchers found that a cluttered environment is a stress trigger and can restrict your ability to focus. 
- Rearrange the desk so it faces a window. Research by the University of Washington found that a window view to nature can lower your heart rate. 
- Purchase potted plants for your desk, windowsill, or bookshelf. Plants can induce your relaxation response by lowering your blood pressure. 
- Keep focused with a motivation board. Research has shown that visualization can make the difference in whether goals are met. All it takes is a cork board, push pins, and photos of your aspirations.
Your hands-on organization may also spark your enthusiasm to study how interiors can impact the human experience, all of which can be learned with an Interior Design degree.
Did you know?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine discovered that mental visualization was just as strong as physical practice and, coupled together, could lead to improved productivity. 
4. Inspire yourself in the comfort of your home.
TED Talks offer powerful discussions by the brightest thought leaders in science, literature, technology, entertainment, politics, and design — all of which can be viewed in less than 20 minutes.
Start with these stress reducing topics:
If you’re a student and considering a degree in Health Psychology, TED Talks are an excellent place to hear how experts have blended research with actionable strategy. And since you have decluttered your office, you can use your new creative space to learn something new before you return to work or school.
Your mission: Live better.
Researchers and educators agree: You must first clear your mind before you can be truly effective and productive in your personal and professional life. So as we approach the holiday season, remember that these days can be stressful if you allow them to be. But if you take mindful breaks, invest in mental fitness, and enjoy the simple moments we all take for granted, you can enter the new year healthier, happier, and whole.
“Stress is the trash of modern life. We all generate it, but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.” — Danzae Pace, author