How do you relieve stress quickly
Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. However, there isn’t always time to take a nap, hike a fourteener, or read a novel. Thus, here are 25 ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less. From eating chocolate to meditating, there is a quick stress-relieving tactic for everyone.
Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body.
2. Listen to Music
No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. If you’re in a public place, just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood. Classical music can be especially relaxing right before bedtime.
3. Take a Quick Walk
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
4. Find the Sun
If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.
5. Give Yourself a Hand Massage
When there’s no professional masseuse in sight, try DIYing a hand massage for instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart. Hands in general can carry a lot of tension. Apply some lotion and start kneading the base of the muscle under the thumb to relieve stress in the shoulders, neck, and scalp.
6. Count Backward
When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. It’s harder to freak out about an upcoming exam or job interview when you’re busy remembering what number comes before seven.
Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help you relax during a stressful workday. Try a shoulder roll-out or a chest-opening stretch right from the desk chair.
8. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball
You can get an impromptu, relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball.
9. Close Your Eyes
Take a quick break from a busy office or a chaotic household by just lowering your eyelids. It’s an easy way to regain calm and focus.
10. Squeeze a Stress Ball
On days when you want to strangle a coworker, your roommate, or the driver in the next lane, squeeze a stress ball instead. It’s an easy, portable, and non-violent way to relieve tension.
11. Try Progressive Relaxation
Anxious? Just squeeze, release, and repeat. Progressive relaxation involves tensing the muscles in one body part at a time to achieve a state of calm. The method (also used by actors) is a great way to help fall asleep.
12. Be Alone
Five minutes of alone time can help you collect your thoughts and clear your head.
13. Get Organized
Clutter could be contributing to your stress. Take a few minutes to reorganize your desk (or table, or wherever you are), leaving just what you need on top.
14. Do Some Yoga
Put your feet up—against the wall, of course. The Vipariti Kirani yoga pose involves lying on the floor and resting the legs up against a wall. Not only does it give the body a good stretch, but it helps create peace of mind, too.
15. Eat Some Chocolate
Just a square (about 1.4 ounces) of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism.
Five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, focus on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear.
17. Cuddle With a Pet
After a rough day, snuggle up with a pet. Pets can boost self-esteem and even ease the sting of social rejection.
18. Chew Gum
A stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. No matter the flavor, just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.
19. Sip Green Tea
Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.
Laughter is one of the sillier ways to beat stress, but there’s science behind it. A fit of hysterics can increase blood flow and boost immunity. Check out a hilarious YouTube video (maybe a piano-playing pug?) for a quick pick-me-up.
21. Drip Cold Water On Your Wrists
When stress hits, head for the bathroom and drop some cold water on your wrists and behind your earlobes. There are major arteries right underneath the skin, so cooling these areas can help calm the whole body.
22. Create a Zen Zone
Make (or find) a space that’s completely free of stress where you can go to relax. Set up a comfortable chair or light some incense and disappear there for a few minutes until the tension dissipates.
23. Write It Down
Putting our emotions on paper can make them seem less intimidating. Try journaling before a big exam to calm your nerves.
24. Slurp Some Honey
Drown that stress in sweetness with a spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.
25. Talk to a Friend
When something’s really bothering you, it can help to share your feelings with a buddy. In fact, more talkative folks tend to be happier in general. So vent to a coworker, friend, or family member.
Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress
Stress getting to you? Try some of these tips for stress relief.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Is stress making you frustrated and irritable? Stress relievers can help restore calm and serenity to your chaotic life. You don’t have to invest a lot of time or thought into stress relievers. If your stress is getting out of control and you need quick relief, try one of these tips.
Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. Even if you’re not an athlete or you’re out of shape, exercise can still be a good stress reliever.
Physical activity can pump up your feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being. Exercise can also refocus your mind on your body’s movements, which can improve your mood and help the day’s irritations fade away. Consider walking, jogging, gardening, housecleaning, biking, swimming, weightlifting or anything else that gets you active.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of taking care of yourself. Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Some people may deal with stress by drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, smoking, eating too much, or using illegal substances. These habits can harm your health.
During meditation, you focus your attention and quiet the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Meditation can instill a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.
Guided meditation, guided imagery, visualization and other forms of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus to work or waiting at the doctor’s office. You can also try deep breathing anywhere.
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but it can help you feel better, even if you have to force a fake laugh through your grumpiness. When you laugh, it not only lightens your mental load but also causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response. So read some jokes, tell some jokes, watch a comedy or hang out with your funny friends. Or give laughter yoga a try.
Connect with others
When you’re stressed and irritable, your instinct may be to isolate yourself. Instead, reach out to family and friends and make social connections.
Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can offer distraction, provide support and help you tolerate life’s up and downs. So take a coffee break with a friend, email a relative or visit your place of worship.
Got more time? Consider volunteering for a charitable group and help yourself while helping others.
You might want to do it all, but you can’t, at least not without paying a price. Learning to say no or being willing to delegate can help you manage your to-do list and your stress.
Saying yes may seem like an easy way to keep the peace, prevent conflicts and get the job done right. But it may actually cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family come second, which can lead to stress, anger, resentment and even the desire to exact revenge. And that’s not a very calm and peaceful reaction.
With its series of postures and controlled-breathing exercises, yoga is a popular stress reliever. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines which may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. Yoga can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.
Try yoga on your own or find a class — you can find classes in most communities. Hatha yoga, in particular, is a good stress reliever because of its slower pace and easier movements.
Get enough sleep
Stress can cause you to have trouble falling asleep. When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep can suffer. But sleep is the time when your brain and body recharge.
And the quality and amount of sleep you get can affect your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning. If you have sleep troubles, make sure that you have a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, listen to soothing music, put clocks away, and stick to a consistent schedule.
Keep a journal
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a good release for otherwise pent-up emotions. Don’t think about what to write — just let it happen. Write whatever comes to mind. No one else needs to read it, so don’t strive for perfection in grammar or spelling.
Just let your thoughts flow on paper — or computer screen. Once you’re done, you can toss out what you wrote or save it to reflect on later.
Get musical and be creative
Listening to or playing music is a good stress reliever because it can provide a mental distraction, reduce muscle tension and decrease stress hormones. Crank up the volume and let your mind be absorbed by the music.
If music isn’t one of your interests, turn your attention to another hobby you enjoy, such as gardening, sewing, sketching — anything that requires you to focus on what you’re doing rather than what you think you should be doing.
If new stressors are challenging your ability to cope or if self-care measures just aren’t relieving your stress, you may need to look for reinforcements in the form of therapy or counseling. Therapy also may be a good idea if you feel overwhelmed or trapped, if you worry excessively, or if you have trouble carrying out daily routines or meeting responsibilities at work, home or school.
Professional counselors or therapists can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.
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- How stress affects your health. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx. Accessed Feb. 28, 2019.
- Relaxation techniques for health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2019.
- Stress and your health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/stress-and-your-health. Accessed Feb. 27, 2019.
- 5 things you should know about stress. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml. Accessed Feb. 28, 2019.
- Meditation: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2019.
- Yoga: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2019.
- Seaward BL. Essentials of Managing Stress. 4th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2017.
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