If you are on this article you probably feel stressed right now or have been in this past week. There are many things that make us feel anxious – an awkward conversation with the boss, family issues or a fight with your partner.
Stress often makes us loose ourselves and our ability to complete tasks or duties. This in turn makes us have a negative self-image . The good news is that you can instantly fight back the “S Word” with these simple tips to de-stress.
Take a deep breath. Ready? Now relax!
- Go for a walk
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Ten minutes outside will help you clear your mind and boost endorphins – a powerful antidote to stress hormones. Have a stroll in a park, go out to the garden and plan an escape into the wood on the weekends. Nature is one of the most powerful (and free!) stress-relievers out there as a recent study proved. If you cannot step outside right now, find a window with a view on something leafy and green and take your “zen” moment. Solely visual encounters with nature, as well, have actionable positive influences on your psychological and physiological states.
- Buy a plant
Did you know that a small pot on your desk can actually help you to calm down? A research conducted ,that being around plants drastically reduces anxiety and drops blood pressure. For an easier breathe, get a snake plant for your office. It absorbs carbon dioxide during the day and releases oxygen during the night (while most plants do it vice versa), so that your morning begins with clean-air boost to kick-start your productivity.
- Do a quick breathing exercise
One of the oldest techniques discovered nearly 3000 years from Ayurveda practices is gaining control of your “pranayama” – the life force or simply, your breath. Deep breathing helps us to relieve the tension and calm down. Shallow quick breathing does not allow our body to get enough oxygen and is considered as a “fight or flight” reaction by our brains, thus provoking stress. According to Herbert Benson, a researcher from Harvard, short periods of meditation, using breathing as a focus, can significantly alter the body’s stress response and even change the expression of some genes.
- Chew a gum
Feeling overwhelmed with ongoing tasks? As much as its unhealthy ,chew a gum to stay focused and reduce your anxiety. Using a chewing gum while balancing numerous tasks improves overall attentiveness and effectiveness. During the research gum-chewers performed 67% better on multi-tasks and showed a reduction in anxiety by 17% during mild stress and 10% in moderate stress situations compared to non-chewers.
- Squeeze out a smile
Even a phony fake smile will reduce your stress levels according to the “facial feedback” theory of emotion. Our brains constantly analyse changes in our body from posture and muscle pressure to facial expression, thus judging how you actually feel right now. In simple words if you act like a happy person, you’ll start feeling like one! Is there nothing to cheer you up right now? Place a pencil vertically between your teeth to mimic a genuine smile.
- Eat a banana, potato or an avocado
All of them contain a lot of potassium – a property known to reduce blood pressure jumping sky high as you feel stressed. The also help your body to gain the necessary energy for recovery and even protect you from negative stress-related consequences like strokes and heart attacks.
- Listen to some music
Music is known to have a lot of healing powers. It can reduce both the distress of chronic pains; relieve depression and increase self-esteem in elderly people; reduce burnouts and improve the mood among pressured students. It even makes patients less anxious and stressed before surgery. Classical music has a particularly soothing effect – it calms down the heart rate, cuts back the amount of stress hormones and reduces blood pressure. However, it could be any of your favourite songs to flood your brain with “the happiness hormone”.
- Do progressive muscle relaxation exercises
Researchers have found that a series of simple progressive muscle relaxation exercises once a week significantly reduces blood pulse, pressure and overall anxiety even for people suffering clinical depression or other psychological disorders. Sit down, close your eyes and tighten your foot muscles (starting from toes) as much as you can. Then relax. Gradually make you way up tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve reached your forehead. The exercise works miracles when done with a soothing tune in your headphones. Try it soon !
- Treat yourself with something sweet
Eat a candy or a piece of cake(one piece!) as it is the fastest aid to reduce both psychological and physical stress. Sugar can decrease the production of glucocorticoid – a stress-related hormone linked to decreased immune response and obesity.
- Create Cushions in Your Calendar
Tight schedules and constant multi-tasking are one of the most common contributors to stress nowadays. When you have a lot of things to cross of your to-do list, you find yourself in a constant hurry, juggling a bunch of things at a time and not being properly focused on any of them. By creating cushions in your calendar you avoid stressful situations in the first place. Always leave enough time from you to reach from point A to point B despite any possible obstacles you may face. If you have an important meeting scheduled for 10 am, go out of home 30 min earlier than your usual time, so you could spend your commuting time calmly revising your notes, instead of rushing and stressing out due to heavy traffic.
- Stop Should-ing Yourself
After all, we are our own worst enemies in terms of stress. How many times have you told yourself that you should go on that date (but you knew it’s going to be pathetic!), you should meet your old friend (though you had hardly anything in common as you grew up) or that you should go through with the wedding as all the invitation have been sent and tons of money spent? Those “should”s crush your soul and make you feel anxious about making life decisions. If you ignore the soul’s guidance, the soul may guide you through painful interventions, like loss or illness.” Stay true to yourself and listen to your heart more often! It does no harm to you.
- Go for a walk