Quick Ways To Reduce Stress
Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. However, there isnt 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.
1. BreatheSlow, 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 youre 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 youre feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. Youll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
4. Find the Sun If its 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.
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.
12. Be Alone
The Potential Impact Of Stress On Your Physical Health
The stress you feel affects more than your moods and emotions it also takes a toll on your body. Stress causes your adrenal glands to release the stress hormone cortisol. Without an opportunity to release, cortisol levels build up. Elevated cortisol levels create all kinds of potential health problems including decreased bone density, weight gain, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.
As the effects of chronic stress take their toll on your health, you may be aware of several physical symptoms.
Some of the physical symptoms of emotional stress include:
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Frequent jaw clenching
- Significant changes in eating habits, with weight gain or weight loss
- Sleeping more or less than usual for you
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
Create Obstacles And Rewards
If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.
Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.
Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.
- Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
- Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.
If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.
Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:
- affects your performance at school or work
- creates problems in your personal relationships
- leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse
A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.
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Nine Ways To Cope With Emotional Pain
1. Find a New Hobby
Pick up a new hobby, something that youve always wanted to try or maybe something that you already know you love but havent made the time for. Love to read books? Borrow a book from the local library or purchase one on your tablet and start reading!
Do you enjoy looking at other peoples scrapbooks? Start one of your own! Create a vision board and paste images of everything that speaks to you. Use this to help you identify your interests and passions.
2. Move Your Body
While suffering from emotional pain you may not even want to get out of bed. Unfortunately, this can contribute to greater heaviness and depression.
Instead, go for a short walk around the block. Stand up and stretch. Do a short beginner yoga video online . Dance to uplifting music in your living room.
Any type of physical movement can help you release the pain from your body. It feels counter-intuitive, you dont have the energy to move, so how can moving help? Yet, moving when youre feeling down can give you energy and lift your spirits. It can also help mobilize your nervous system giving you energy.
Increase your self compassion skills and soothe emotional pain. Take our self-compassion quiz.
3. Dont Ruminate
Dont torture yourself by fixating on what caused the pain youre suffering from. What has happened has already been done and cannot be undone.
Going over it again and again in your mind will only make things worse for you.
Watch out for shaming and blaming yourself as well.
Sitting With Your Emotions
Sitting with negative emotions means being with them when they show up by observing them and focusing your attention inward on the bodys sensations. For example, you may focus on the butterflies in your stomach when you start to feel anxious.
As you notice the butterflies, you can imagine expanding your body to make room for them .
Sitting with negative emotions is not about changing or fixing them instead, it is about learning that we can tolerate them, and they do not have to overwhelm us in the process.
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What Causes Emotional Stress
Whatever type of stress youre dealing with, the only way you can effectively control it is by first determining the root cause. Identifying the root cause of your stress is the first obstacle that needs to be overcome when dealing with emotional stress. Some of the most common causes are interpersonal relationships. Emotional stress brought about by a relationship creates strong internal emotional feelings in its victims and has a severe impact on their lives. While a happy and healthy relationship keeps everyone happy and hopeful, dysfunctional relationships can wreak havoc on the emotions of those involved.
Apart from personal relationships, things like workplace tension, financial problems, and career issues can also contribute to emotional stress.
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Talk About Your Problems
If things are bothering you, talking about them can help lower your stress. You can talk to family members, friends, a trusted clergyman, your doctor, or a therapist.
And you can also talk to yourself. Itâs called self-talk and we all do it. But in order for self-talk to help reduce stress you need to make sure itâs positive and not negative.
So listen closely to what youâre thinking or saying when youâre stressed out. If youâre giving yourself a negative message, change it to a positive one. For example, donât tell yourself âI canât do this.â Tell yourself instead: âI can do this,â or âIâm doing the best I can.â
Acute Versus Chronic Stress
The experience of stress can be either acute or chronic. Acute stress usually occurs in response to a short-term stressor, like a car accident or an argument with your spouse. Acute stress can be very distressing, but it passes quickly and typically responds well to coping techniques like calming breathing or brisk physical activity.
Chronic stress occurs when stressors dont let up. The roots of chronic stress can vary widely, from situations people can control or avoid to difficulties that are hard to escape . Because people respond differently to stressful circumstances, a situation that one person might find tolerable can become a source of chronic stress for another.
Chronic stress can damage both mental and physical health. Being chronically stressed may leave you feeling fatigued, sap your ability to concentrate and cause headaches and digestive difficulties. People prone to irritable bowel syndrome often find that their symptoms spike with psychological stress.15 Though acute stress can heighten certain immune responses, the wear-and-tear of chronic stress is bad for the immune system.16 Chronic stress can also affect cardiac health, with multiple studies finding a link between chronic stress and the development of coronary artery disease.17
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Beverly Thorn, PhD, in developing this fact sheet.
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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
Ways To Get Rid Of Stress #8 Get Involved In Activities That Make You Feel Good About Yourself
Serving others is a good way to take the stress out of your life. When youre focused on other people, its hard for you to wallow in your own stress. You can achieve this goal by volunteering in your local community.
Some volunteer programs have you working with men and women, such as elderly individuals or children while others have you working with pets that have been rescued.
There are also options for you to just spend the day contributing to your community doing things like volunteering at the library, picking up trash to beautify a scenic hot spot, or other things that get your mind off of stress.
You might want to start attending a group event such as a spiritual meeting or a book club. Both of these are effective ways to get rid of stress. Both allow you to meet with others and focus on a topic thats different from the stress you face each day.
You might want to get involved in a workout routine to make you feel better about yourself. Join a gym and attend a group fitness class where you get to know other like-minded people who also enjoy releasing endorphins .
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Try To Remove The Source Of Stress From Your Life
Spend some time alone evaluating your life and thinking about what you can change in order to move some of the biggest sources of stress. You might need to make some significant changes to your daily routine or let relationships go that no longer serve you. This might seem uncomfortable and painful, but you have to do whatever you need to in order to honor your spirit.
Letting go of major stress-inducers will allow you to focus on creating a happier life for yourself.
How Much Magnesium Should I Take For Stress
If you take magnesium as a supplement, studies that showed that magnesium can have anti-anxiety effects generally used dosages of between 75 and 360 mg a day, according to the 2017 review. It’s best to consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement so you know the correct dose for you.
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Procrastination As A Contributing Factor
Heres the thing about procrastination: The negative emotions you associate with a given task dont go away when you avoid that task. They feed on themselves and grow, rapidly.
Say you put off creating a work presentation. You want to impress your boss, but youre worried about meeting their high standards.
Of course, the more you delay, the less time you have to do the work. As the deadline approaches, you dont just doubt your ability to create a successful presentation. You also feel overwhelmed about the amount of work involved, and youre stressed at the thought of not getting it done in time.
You know youve created a sticky situation for yourself, but you care more about the peace of mind that avoiding the project provides. Its this fleeting peace that generally reinforces the procrastination loop.
Ask yourself: Do you actually feel calm? Probably not. Youve likely noticed an undercurrent of anxiety rippling through your waking thoughts.
And therein lies the rub. Procrastination creates a cycle thats difficult to escape, because the temporary reward of putting something off reinforces your desire to do it again even though it creates more problems.
A procrastination habit can eventually complicate the emotional concerns that triggered it in the first place.
Over time, procrastination and the loop it tends to create can lead to:
These strategies can help you break the procrastination cycle even when its an ingrained habit.
Experimenting With Essential Oils Or Aromatherapy
Plant extracts, essential oils, and aromatherapy have been used for centuries for their potential health benefits. These benefits are backed by scientific research. Whether applied topically or used in aromatherapy, plant essences trigger a chemical reaction within your brain.
The fragrance molecules and other active plant compounds stimulate the receptors in your brain responsible for memory recall and emotions. Essential oils can also trigger the autonomic responses that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, digestive responses and other involuntary functions. Some of the essential oils shown to be valuable for alleviating emotional stress include:
- Passionflower tea
- Green tea
It is important to note that herbal teas can interact with some medications. If you have any known health conditions or take medication, its always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before adding an herbal treatment or dietary supplement.
Its essential for your health and well-being to appropriately manage stress, but its not always easy. If the stress you feel is interfering with your quality of life, and self-care is not providing you with stress relief, it may be best to engage the services of a qualified counselor. We can help you overcome the emotional stress that is taking a toll on your physical and emotional health and help you feel better.
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Understanding What Your Emotions Are Communicating
When you experience a negative emotion, it can help to tune in to the message it is trying to give you. You can ask yourself these questions with gentleness and curiosity:
- What triggered my emotion?
- What is this emotion trying to communicate to me?
- What does this emotion suggest I need right now?
Asking emotion regulation questions can help you pause and understand what your mind and body are telling you.
Simultaneously, it is vital to interpret these messages with caution. We instinctively survive and avoid hardship, so our negative emotions are hard wired to point out danger.
Therefore, emotions can become triggered even when there is no actual problem like a smoke alarm that goes off when we are cooking a meal and not because there is a fire. Being aware of this can stop you from impulsively reacting and instead help you choose what action will be most helpful in the moment.
What Is A Trigger
A trigger is any word, person, event, or experience that touches off an immediate emotional reaction. Its like being startled by a noise: The noise is the trigger the startle is the response.
Our reactions to our emotional triggers are often excessive, lasting longer than what makes sense for the event. Its as if were still jumping at the sound of that slammed door hours later.
Not all triggers are negative. They can also stimulate joy or happy memories, like when we smell a flower that reminds us of a place we love or see a photograph of an event where we felt happy. Still, we usually use trigger to describe negative stimuli those that set off sadness, anger, or fear, as well as hurt, shame, and despair.
When were triggered, our bodies engage the survival response: fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Our hearts might race we break into a sweat we go cold. The sympathetic nervous system is activated to save us from perceived harm.
Yet we often flee too fast, fight too hard, freeze too long. These reactions can start to interfere with our ability to live our lives. When a trigger leads only to a survival reaction, its a dead end.
But they can lead us to healing, too. They can point us to where we have personal work to do. When a trigger accomplishes that nudge toward self-reflection, it can be a true boon.
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