Guided Imagery Or Visualization
Imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach with a soft breeze gently stirring the warm air. Use your senses to smell the saltwater and feel the sun as you transport yourself there. Thats guided imagery or visualization.
It uses the power of your mind to change your focus to a peaceful time or event.
If were in a stressful situation, you know, just shifting our mind and focusing on a time when we were really, really relaxed is an effective way to calm down, Brown says.
Chomp Some Chewing Gum
Maybe youre stuck in annoying traffic, frantically cleaning the house before your in-laws show, or hammering out that final term paper. Chewing gum is an easy way to keep the stress monster at bay while potentially boosting your mood and productivity Allen AP, et al. . Chewing gum: Cognitive performance, mood, well-being, and associated physiology. DOI: 10.1155/2015/654806 .
Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
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That Said You Can Remind Yourself How Rest Supports Your Work
As much as I want to say that rest is important for its own sake because its necessary and enjoyable, I also cant deny that it supports our ability to keep up on our responsibilities in the long run. Its okay to use that as motivation, especially if you have a hard time allowing yourself to step away from work or other obligations for some downtime. Not everything needs to serve productivity, but the truth is, youre going to perform better when youre well rested and have some gas in the tank, says Howes. If telling yourself that helps you feel less guilty and distracted during your downtime, so be it.
Speaking of, its also okay if you have mixed feelings about this. It can suck to have to tell yourself Taking a break from work will make you better at work, but also, thats reality. As long as we live in a capitalist society like this one, these thoughts, these doubts, these questions about whether we deserve rest and whether rest must exist to uphold this system are going to come up, says Caraballo. Grappling with the relationship between rest and work will always be a work in progress because we dont exist in a system that affords us not to have that challenge.
When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
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Quick Stress Relief At Work
Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy, or take calls outside when possible.
On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Suck on a peppermint. Sip tea.
Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Chat with a colleague.
Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk or mementos that remind you of your life outside the office.
Process How You’re Feeling
Before you’re able to calm down, you need to let yourself process how you’re feeling. Instead of ignoring your stress levels, reflect on why you’re feeling stressed. Perhaps you have more work than you can manage. By reflecting on your situation and emotions, you can come up with a solution. In this case, you could ask for an extension or see if your team member can help. Finding solutions for yourself can help you feel more calm and ready to get back to work.
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Try It Activate Your Body’s Relaxation Response
We recommend planned relaxation activities to reduce stress. Watching aballgame or movie on TV just isnt the same as taking the time to fullyrelax, says Johns Hopkins sleep expertLuis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.Try this plan:
1. Practice gentle breathing and progressive muscle relaxation every day for two weeks. On a scale of 0 to 10, rate your level of emotional and physical stressbefore and after.
2. After two weeks, choose the exercise that works best for your anxietyand insomnia and keep it up every day. With practice, your body and mindwill learn to relax more quickly and deeply for fewer sleepless nights,Buenaver says.
What Is The Fastest Way To Relieve Stress
There are countless techniques for managing stress. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work wonders. But in the heat of the moment, during a high-pressured job interview, for example, or a disagreement with your spouse, you cant just excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk. In these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible.
One of the speediest and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is to engage one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touchor through movement. Since everyone is different, youll need to do some experimenting to discover which technique works best for youbut the payoff is huge. You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress.
Social interaction is your bodys most evolved and surefire strategy for regulating the nervous system. Talking face-to-face with a relaxed and caring listener can help you quickly calm down and release tension. Although you cant always have a pal to lean on in the middle of a stressful situation, maintaining a network of close relationships is vital for your mental health. Between sensory-based stress relief and good listeners, youll have your bases covered.
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Quick Stress Relief At Home
Entertaining. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident.
Kitchen. Ease kitchen stress by breathing in the scent of every ingredient. Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion.
Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together. When your toddler has a tantrum, rub lotion into your hands and breathe in the scent.
Sleep. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air.
Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light.
Know What Actually Relaxes You
It might sound obvious, but tons of people arent very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime. People often think theyre resting when theyre really not, clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D., tells SELF.
For example, maybe you tend to count scrolling through Twitter for a couple of hours as relaxation. That might be restful to some people, but for many, its more stressful than anything. Or maybe you force yourself to do things that youve heard are supposed to be relaxinglike meditating, napping, or taking a bubble bathwhen you actually find them super boring or unhelpful. Relaxation isnt one-size-fits-all.
To start to figure out what rest means to you, you might want to reframe how you think about it in the first place. Relaxation is not one activityits the outcome of any activity, says Caraballo. And which activities lead to relaxation will depend on you. Explore hobbies, different types of physical activity, various means of socializing, self-care practices, and more. Then pay attention. Ask yourself, How do I feel after doing this? Do I feel grounded? Do I feel stable? Do I feel at ease? If so, maybe thats something that can be on your list as a way to rest from the world, says Caraballo. And if not, maybe you need to try something else.
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Build A Calming Routine
Turns out, the key to relaxation is less about what you do and more about how regularly you do it.
Try to create a plan for something that you can do daily that is a positive activity, Dworkin says. Having something constant is really important when there is so much uncertainty in the world.
If you are looking for some relaxation inspiration, Dworkin recommends trying diaphragmatic breathing, a technique that helps you use your diaphragm, a muscle below your lungs, while breathing.
To complete this exercise, first sit somewhere comfy. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five, focusing on expanding your belly. Hold for a count of five, and then exhale slowly for a count of seven while you say a soothing word.
As you breathe out, youll feel the stress leave your body, Dworkin says.
Whatever you choose, intentionally devoting a couple minutes each day to a calming activity will help boost your overall well-being.
Quick Read Carve Out Time To Relax
- Relaxation can help manage stress and prevent health issues.
- During stressful times, this means allowing space for both positive and negative feelings.
- Practices like meditation, journaling and deep breathing can bolster well-being.
- No matter what you choose, try to add a couple minutes of relaxation each day.
Even though were only partway through the year, I think we can all agree: 2020 has been stressful. And with so much going on, it can feel like the entire world is living in a giant pressure cooker.
One of the best ways to cope with stress is through relaxation, which can help ease tension and prevent stress-related health issues like headaches, fatigue and even increased risk of heart disease.
Its important to give yourself space and permission to feel relaxed, especially in times where everything feels really out of control, says Emily Dworkin, an acting assistant professor in the UW School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
While the concept of relaxation is easy enough to grasp, in practice it can be hard to actually do especially when you have ongoing anxiety around your health, financial stability or safety.
To make things a little easier, Dworkin shares tips on how to relax during stressful times.
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Healthy Ways To Handle Lifes Stressors
When stress becomes unmanageable, try these evidence-based tools to tackle it in healthy ways.
Healthy ways to handle lifes stressors.
Stressful experiences are a normal part of life, and the is a survival mechanism that primes us to respond to threats. Some stress is positive: Imagine standing in front of a crowd to give a speech and hitting it out of the park. Stressful? Certainly. But also challenging and satisfying.
But when a stressor is negative and cant be fought off or avoided such as layoffs at work or a loved ones medical crisis or when the experience of stress becomes , our biological responses to stress can impair our physical and mental health.
Fortunately, there are many evidence-based tools to help combat the negative effects of stress in healthy ways. They recommend that you:
Quick Ways To Relax Instantly According To Science
Do you feel overwhelmed? Are your days full of stress and anxiety?
Then its important you learn how to relax and de-stress yourself immediately with these simple and effective relaxing techniques.
Why do you need to relax?
Between balancing careers, relationships, social life, and family, modern lifestyles have become extremely complicated and stressful. By learning how to relax, you can calm your mind and body, heal from your daily dose of stress, and create some much-needed time for yourself.
According to the American Psychological Association , stress levels among American people have increased significantly in the past 10 years. The economy and workplace stress are the major factors contributing to the rising stress levels.
The American Institute of Stress stated, Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away from the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.
Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to a lot of mental and physical health issues like depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
This is why it has become more important now than ever that you learn how to relax using techniques that can immediately take the edge off from the moment and help you control your emotions.
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Learn How To Get Things Into Perspective
Learning how to prioritize and re-evaluate our talents, skills and experience is a great way of building self-esteem. This can also help us to put things into perspective when we are facing a critical challenge. Dr. Andy Martens of the University of Arizona has done some interesting research in this area.
Drinking Plenty Of Water
Believe it or not, water can be very beneficial for relaxing your mind. Water is vital for ensuring that your body is properly hydrated and free of toxins. If your body is full of toxins, there is a good chance that your mind is going to have a much tougher time focusing.
If you struggle to get in a full days serving, try squeezing some lemon into your water to add some flavor. You can also use a bottle like this that you can carry around with you throughout the day.
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Your Back Or Neck Is Always Aching
If youve got knots in your shoulders, a stiff neck or your lower back cramped up after a long day, it could be the constant of a job or personal situation, not just the position you sit in during the day. High levels of stress and tension create discomfort and muscle pain by tightening muscles and causing muscle spasms, says Dr. Colgan. And stiff muscles in your neck can also lead to headaches, he says.
If your back pain developed after an accident or emotional trauma, it could also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder . The National Institute of Health recommends talking to your primary doctor, as many people arent able to heal their back pain until they deal with the emotional stress thats causing it.
What to do: Many relaxation techniques can help with stress reduction, including guided imagery, taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, meditation, massages and yoga, says Tuit. Try devoting time for stretching breaks throughout the day to help prevent muscles from tightening up. Make time for some of these yoga poses to unwind at the end of the day.
Dont Force Yourself To Earn Rest
Confession: I fall into this trap a lot, and I know Im not alone. Too often I have a hard time unwinding because of unfinished work, chores, and other obligations hanging over my head, so I tell myself the fix is to frame rest as a reward. Just finish your to-do list before you relax, I tell myself. That way you can enjoy it more! Makes sense in theory, but guess what? Our to-do lists are rarely completely finished, and making rules around when weve earned a break is an easy way to work too much and rest too little.
Plus, thinking this way can also ruin the rare times you do rest because guilt and distraction will inevitably creep in. When you decide that rest is something you must earn, its really, really difficult to feel deserving of it.
So instead of thinking of rest as a luxury that you only deserve after an accomplishment, try reminding yourself rest is necessary. Its not about deservingyou need rest, says Caraballo. Our brains need downtime. Biologically, physiologically, rest is a necessity.
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Chillax With Some Chocolate
When you need a quick break, break off a square of dark chocolate to boost your brain health and reduce stress Berk L, et al. . Dark chocolate increases acute and chronic EEG power spectral density response of gamma frequency for brain health: enhancement of neuroplasticity, neural synchrony, cognitive processing, learning, memory, recall, and mindfulness meditation. DOI: 10.1096/fasebj.2018.32.1_supplement.878.10 . As an added bonus, dark chocolate is lower in sugar than milk chocolate, but it hits the sweet tooth sweet spot.