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
What You Eat And Drink Can Also Affect How You Feel
Theres no magic diet that will treat depression. But what you put into your body can have a real and significant impact on the way you feel.
Eating a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, and grains may be a great place to start. Try to limit stimulants like caffeine, coffee, and soda, and depressants like alcohol.
Some people also and have more energy when they avoid sugar, preservatives, and processed foods.
If you have the means, consider meeting with a doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.
Getting Started With Exercise When You Have A Mental Health Issue
Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times. But when you feel depressed, anxious, stressed or have another mental health problem, it can seem doubly difficult. This is especially true of depression and anxiety, which can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation. You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed you of the energy and motivation you need to work out, or your social anxiety means you cant bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or running through the park.
Start small. When youre under the cloud of anxiety or depression and havent exercised for a long time, setting extravagant goals like completing a marathon or working out for an hour every morning will only leave you more despondent if you fall short. Better to set achievable goals and build up from there.
Focus on activities you enjoy. Any activity that gets you moving counts. That could include throwing a Frisbee with a dog or friend, walking laps of a mall window shopping, or cycling to the grocery store. If youve never exercised before or dont know what you might enjoy, try a few different things. Activities such as gardening or tackling a home improvement project can be great ways to start moving more when you have a mood disorderas well as helping you become more active, they can also leave you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
You May Like: How To Go On Stress Leave
Unplug Shut Down And Log Off
By 2015, scientists predict the average person will spend about 16 hours a day consuming media including TV, social media, and phone time. Still, researchers have found that smartphones actually increase stress. And another report showed that the , the more their happiness declined.
Lowering stress can be as easy as clicking a button or rather, turning off your digital devices. Make your media time as well-balanced as your diet with these tips:
- Track your media time. Keeping a media diary can help you realize how often youre plugged in. Simply write down the type of media you’re using , how often your use it, and for how long. Like writing down what you eat, writing down how often youre plugged in can help you curtail your habits.
- Try a media detox.If the thought of ditching your cell phone makes you break into a cold sweat, it might be time for a mini-media detox. You dont have to give up your cell phone, TV time, or Instagram habit forever either. Instead, start small with a cell phone-free weekend, skip social media for a day, or ditch the TV for an evening.
Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
You May Like: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Ed
How Do Stress Relief Products Work
According to one study, making lifestyle changes could improve mental health and one of the most effective changes a person can make is to focus more on self-care.
Focusing on self-care may help a person feel more in control and better able to cope with a wide range of challenges.
Some stress relief products may be useful in a working environment. These include:
How To Manage And Reduce Stress
Here, we would like to start, by giving you an introduction to what stress is, what the signs of stress are, what simple steps you can take when feeling stressed and provide practical advice for preventing it, to show why we are passionate about moving towards a less stressed nation.
Don’t Miss: Is Stress Bad For Ms
Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
What The Expert Says
A depressed person is compromised in dealing with problematic situations, says Stacey Stickley, a licensed professional counselor practicing in Ashburn, Virginia. When a person is dealing with depression, things may seem more negative than they really are. Events that would have been taken in stride may seem more problematic or impossible to handle. The idea of taking action on things may require more of a persons resources, resources that are already compromised due to the depression.
Talk to your doctor about pharmacological options, or go talk to a counselor about evaluating and managing your symptoms, she says. Dont wait. Being proactive is important so you can maybe stop the downward slide sooner. Its easier to climb out of a shallow hole than one you have been slowly digging and tunneling into for several months.
Also Check: What Can You Do To Get Rid Of Stress
Autoregulation Exercise And Stress Relief
Regular physical activity keeps you healthy as it reduces stress. But another special sort of exercise known as autoregulation exercises can also reduce stress.
Stress comes in many forms and produces many symptoms. Mental symptoms range from worry and irritability to restlessness and insomnia, anger and hostility, or sensations of dread, foreboding, and even panic.
Mental stress can also produce physical symptoms. Muscles are tense, resulting in fidgetiness, taut facial expressions, headaches, or neck and back pain. The mouth is dry, producing unquenchable thirst or perhaps the sensation of a lump in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Clenched jaw muscles can produce jaw pain and headaches. The skin can be pale, sweaty, and clammy. Intestinal symptoms range from “butterflies” to heartburn, cramps, or diarrhea. Frequent urination may be a bother. A pounding pulse is common, as is chest tightness. Rapid breathing is also typical, and may be accompanied by sighing or repetitive coughing. In extreme cases, hyperventilation can lead to tingling of the face and fingers, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
The physical symptoms of stress are themselves distressing. In fact, the body’s response to stress can feel so bad that it produces additional mental stress. During the stress response, then, mind and body can amplify each other’s distress signals, creating a vicious cycle of tension and anxiety.
Tip : Make Quick Stress Relief A Habit
Its not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a minior or not so minocrisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. You dont master the skill in one lesson; you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Eventually youll feel like youre forgetting something if you dont tune into your body during challenging times. Heres how to make it habit:
Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills.
Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on.
Test-drive sensory input. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. If something doesnt work, dont force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Be Less Stressed
Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
You May Like: Does Stress Cause Weight Gain Or Loss
Highly Effective Tips For Relieving Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief, however. What works for one person might not work for another.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community .;
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.;
How Exercise Reduces Stress
Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart. You may not agree at first; indeed, the first steps are the hardest, and in the beginning, exercise will be more work than fun. But as you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it, and finally depend on it.
Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It’s a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. If athletes and patients can derive psychological benefits from exercise, so can you.
How can exercise contend with problems as difficult as anxiety and depression? There are several explanations, some chemical, others behavioral.
The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over.
Also Check: What To Do If Your Job Is Too Stressful
How To Beat Stress And Depression: 4 Steps
In summary, you can immediately stop being stressed and feel more calm and relaxed by changing your thinking. Indeed, if you ever find yourself being stressed, use the following steps to reduce and eliminate the stress in 5 minutes or less.
More Tips For Less Stress
– Practice deep breathing exercises to relieve muscle tension. Deep, slow rhythmic breathing for 3-5 minutes reduces stress and anxiety and improves mood. It can be used in any situation, such as being stuck in traffic, waiting for an appointment, at home when you are particularly stressed or worried.
– Visualize a positive, peaceful scene to calm your mood. For many people, going to their happy place, be it visualizing a beach scene, family gathering, or fictional scenario, can help to calm and focus the mind in a positive way.
Read Also: What To Take For Stress Relief
You Dont Have To Suffer To Get Results
Research shows that moderate levels of exercise are best for most people. Moderate means:
Cant find time to exercise during the week? Be a weekend warrior
A recent study in the United Kingdom found that people who squeeze their exercise routines into one or two sessions during the weekend experience almost as many health benefits as those who work out more often. So dont let a busy schedule at work, home, or school be an excuse to avoid activity. Get moving whenever you can find the timeyour mind and body will thank you!