The world is stressful. These 25 items can make it less so.

For inner peace, outer peace, and all your other pieces.

The world can be a stressful place.

We're all trying to have it all and do it all — usually at the same time. And this endless pursuit of work-life-family-health-finance-love-spiritual enlightenment-Netflix balance can feel extremely hard to manage.

Clearly, there's a lot on our collective minds, and it's stressing us out.


Stress is insidious; it makes our body fight against itself. Stress releases hormones in our body that make us tense and edgy. We're restless and irritable, we can't sleep, we eat too much — or not at all. It's no secret that people who are better at managing stress lead happier lives. While not all of us can live our best lives 100% of the time, there are tools we can use to help ourselves get to healthier and calmer emotional places when life gets hard.

Here are a few tools and products to help you stay calm when things feel bananas:

1. Take a five-minute break with a meditation app.

Image via Heather Libby (screenshot).

Pause is a mobile app designed to make you, well, pause. Put your finger on the glowing orb of your mobile screen, focus on your breathing for up to 5 minutes and feel your stresses slip away. There are several apps like it out there; try any of them.

2. Collect data on your stress with wearable tech.

Image via Fitbit.com.

The newest wearable tech is so much more than a pedometer. The latest ones from Fitbit, Jawbone, and Apple (among others) also track your heart rate and sleep cycles so you can get intel on what kinds of situations stress you out. Then you can make a plan for how you'll handle them when they happen again.

3. Wake up gently to soft daylight, a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, or the scent of delicious crispy bacon.

Image via Phillips.ca.

Your morning alarm doesn't have to sound like a high school buzzer. Companies and designers are making alarms that rouse you gently from your sleep with calming light or comforting smells like coffee and bacon. Wouldn't you rather start your day with joy instead of mad panic?

4. Little things driving you crazy? Take out your frustrations on a stress ball.

Image via Amy McTigue/Flickr.

Some are squishy, others are hard and knobbly, but they all help you to release tension and stretch out tense muscles in your hands and wrists.

5. Be the most zen version of yourself with a mindfulness app.

Image via Headspace.com.

Headspace is one app for your smartphone that helps you learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness — no fancy guru necessary, and it's free. App stores have plenty of other offerings like this one for guiding you into the next realm of consciousness.

6. If you have fidgety fingers, kinetic sand may be the perfect desk toy for you.

Image via Thomas Duff/Flickr.

I like to fiddle with things when I'm thinking — it keeps my hands busy so my mind can work. For that, kinetic sand is a lifesaver. This "magic sand" is fun to play with and build into shapes, then to squish and start all over again. You're the supreme overlord in a circle of your own creation!

7. If you've got a cat, Feliway can calm your savage, couch-scratching beast and give you peace of mind.

My cat Fezzik, pre-Feliway. A bundle of pure spaz, covered in fur. Image via Heather Libby/Upworthy.

To anyone who’s ever looked down at the shredded remains of something they owned and then over to the unrepentant face of a cat they are reconsidering whether they love, these words will ring true: pet anxiety = human anxiety. And in 18 years of cat ownership, Feliway is the only product I’ve ever found that helped limit it. Feliway is a sprayable calming synthetic cat pheromone that mimics the natural one happy cats use to mark their territory as safe and familiar. It's available in a spray and a diffuser.

8. Tune out the crowd with noise-cancelling headphones and relaxing playlists.

Image via Philippe Put/Flickr.

If you work in a shared office space, you know how loud things can get — especially when all you need is quiet. A good set of noise-cancelling headphones and a playlist designed to help you concentrate will help you find your focus and get things done. Spotify has a great selection of instrumental playlists, or you can check out Focus @ Will, which promises "music scientifically optimized to boost concentration and focus."

9. Make your head tingle in a good way — hopefully — with a scalp massager.

Image via Yogesh Mhatre/Flickr.

Some people swear by these for stimulating tiny muscles on the scalp and around the face. Others say it feels like crawling spider feet on their head. Your personal mileage may vary.

10. Walk on sunshine in a pair of acupressure slippers.

Image via HealthandYoga.com.

Walking in these slippers stimulates pressure points on your feet, giving some of the relaxing benefits of a full-body massage.

11. Make anywhere smell like heaven with an aromatherapy diffuser.

Image via Takashi Hososhima/Flickr.

Aromatherapy diffusers use concentrated essential oils to gently fill your home or workspace with smells that soothe you, like lavender or vanilla. Breathe deeply.

12. Give your stiff shoulders a break with the Real-EaSE Neck Support.

Image via RelaxtheBack.com.

If your posture is less than perfect and you sit at a desk for long periods of time, you might be ending the day with a pretty stiff neck. Lying on the floor for 20 minutes with your head in the cradle of the Real-EaSE will help your muscles relax and your spine realign.

13. Get a quick fix from stressful surprises with Rescue Remedy.

Image via Joyce/Flickr.

Rescue Remedy is a little bottle packed full of flower botanicals known for their soothing qualities, like rock rose, cherry plum, and clematis. Keep it in your pocket or your purse for relief on the go.

14. Sing along as you soak with a waterproof bluetooth speaker.

Image via Achim Hepp/Flickr.

Anyone can feel like royalty in the right bath. Make yours extra-luxe with a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, battery-operated candles, extra-large extra fluffy towels, and a memory foam bathmat.

15. Channel your inner kid with a grown-up coloring book.

Image via Ambography/Flickr.

It's wonderful to see coloring for grown-ups becoming a big thing. Take a few minutes with paints, markers, or pencil crayons to color inside — or outside — the lines, and rediscover how good it felt to as a kid to make art.

16. Train your brain with a brainwave sensing headband.

Image via Gaiam.com.

The Muse headband detects changes in your brainwaves to determine when you're experiencing stress. Together with a mobile app, it will help you train your brain to manage anxiety and find your calm.

17. Rest up in a $25,000 napping pod.

Image via Hammacher Schlemmer/Hammacher.com.

Enjoy a relaxing nap in this ergonomic napping pod, complete with memory foam mattress. Just don't think about the fact that it costs $25,000 yet, inexplicably, doesn't include a blanket or a pillow. Or how long the purchase of it will be accruing interest on your credit card as you slowly pay it off. Shhhh. Sleep. Sleeeeep.

GIF from "The Princess and the Frog."

If you'd rather de-stress in a way that doesn't involve buying things, there are many no-cost options, too:

18. Cut your browser clutter and open-tab stress with OneTab.

The OneTab icon in my browser window. Also recommended: the Momentum landing page plugin. Image via Heather Libby/Upworthy.

Take a quick look: How many tabs do you have open in your browser right now? How many of them actually need to be open? The OneTab browser extension for Chrome and Firefox helps you clear browser clutter (and free up extra memory) by collecting all your open tabs into a list that you can go back to later.

19. Do absolutely nothing for two minutes.

Image via Heather Libby/Upworthy.

One of the key elements of meditation is stillness and a clear, empty mind. The best way to get there? Click over to this website by Calm and do nothing, absolutely nothing for two whole minutes. Can you do it? Give it a try. We'll wait here.

20. Snack on stress-busting foods like blueberries, almonds, and dark chocolate.

Image via Sandra/Flickr.

Adding foods with calming effects like turkey breast, oatmeal, and avocado to your meals and snacks can help you feel better as you eat well.

21. Make your bed great again with new (or just freshly-cleaned) sheets.

Image via Alex Saunders/Flickr.

We spend a full one-third of our lives in bed, so it's important our sheets and coverlets are up to the task. Find a style of sheet you like — maybe that's unbleached organic or ultra-smooth 800-thread-count Egyptian cotton or fuzzy soft flannel or cooling silk. There's a perfect sheet for every sleep style — find yours and enjoy better ZZZZs, guaranteed.

22. Browse through comedy videos and find your next laugh.

Image via Francois Reiniche/Flickr.

There's a reason people say "laughter is the best medicine" — it's really true. If you're tensed up at your desk or on the go and need a chuckle, there are streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and others, or you can find plenty of laugh-out-loud videos on YouTube. And if all else fails, there are always aww-worthy GIFs online to brighten up a dark day.

23. Snuggle up in the fuzziest fuzzy blanket in the history of fuzziness.

Image via Steve Voght/Flickr.

Only you can decide which fuzzy blanket has the right level of fuzziness for your taste. Once you find it, you'll never want to crawl out from under it. It's a great investment and the perfect way to de-stress after a long day.

24. Adopt a rescue pet and soothe your soul.

Sierra Nelson Hay is a very good rescue dog; yes, she is. Image via Heather Libby/Upworthy.

A number of studies suggest that getting a rescue pet can reduce your stress and help you live longer. Plus, you're giving another little being a second chance on life! Be sure to get in lots of daily cuddle sessions; just a few minutes of time spent snuggling a pet can cause your body to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin and lower your blood pressure.

25. Lounge in a hammock rocking gently on a white sand beach.

Image via Micky**/Flickr.

OK, so chances are you don't have this in or near your home right now — and if you do, I'd really love to find out why you're reading an article about stress instead of one about "having an awesome life." But hammocks are excellent places for naps, reading, or just relaxing in bliss, especially on a warm, sunny, beachy day.

See? Pure bliss.

A quick disclaimer: I’m not suggesting any of these products are the key to unlocking a stress-free you, and none of the products in this list have paid for their inclusion or received any special consideration to end up here. Anyone who promises miracle cures that work without effort would be misleading people. These products may help, but it’s the enthusiasm and commitment you put into them that will make all the difference. Good luck! Serenity now!

Family

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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Knowing your triggers helps you manage your emotions.

via Blessing Manifesting / Instagram

Learning your emotional triggers on your own is one thing but figuring out your triggers in a relationship adds another layer of intensity. Maybe you're afraid of being abandoned or want to feel the need to push the other person away but you don't know why.

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