10 ways to immediately reduce stress and anxiety
Take a load off with these simple changes you can implement right now.
1. HAVE A NICE CUP OF TEA
Making the tea is a circuit breaker but more importantly drinking herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile is physically calming and promotes muscle relaxation to help you unwind.
2. SMILE AND LAUGH YOUR STRESS AWAY
If you can find a reason to smile or laugh the happy emotions will reduce stress hormone levels as well as relax tension in your muscles and promote blood flow to your brain. If you need some help, watch a short YouTube clip of your favourite comedian or put a pencil between your teeth to simulate the smiling effect.
3. GO FOR A 10-MINUTE WALK
The exercise is useful but research has shown that walking, even on a stroll, promotes the release of endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve one’s mood. You also get away from the source of the issue, albeit temporarily.
4. ADD MUSIC TO YOUR WALK FOR ANOTHER STRESS RELIEVER
Pop your headphones on and tune in to the music that relaxes and reinvigorates you or download a special relaxation app. This is even better if you can combine it with your walk.
5. EAT A PIECE OF DARK CHOCOLATE
I don’t usually need any excuse to eat dark chocolate but it also contains stress-relieving nutrients, especially those bars with at least 70 per cent cocoa content.
6. WATCH THE TREES OR THE WAVES
In my recent improving wellbeing post, I reported that Australian researchers have found that sitting in a park watching the trees improves your wellbeing and health by reducing your blood pressure, anxiety and depression. Watching the waves has a similar calming effect to reduce your stress. If you’re feeling stressed a walk preferably with music to the beach or the park will help calm you.
7. FEEL YOUR PRESSURE POINTS
Sometimes you physically can’t go for a walk. If you’re trapped at your workstation or in a meeting try “pressure point” therapy. The most practical exercise is to place your middle and index finger on your “third eye point”, the space between your eyebrows where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead, and hold the position for one to two minutes using gentle to firm pressure.
8. PAT AN ANIMAL
While this is unlikely to be possible in most office blocks, schools or hospitals, if you see a friendly looking pooch and owner spend a few minutes patting it. This human-animal intervention can help you emotionally reduce your stress. This doesn’t work with snakes or spiders!
If you’re feeling stressed, spending 10 minutes to tidy your workstation and clear out the junk in your drawers, gives you a sense of order to your physical environment. Psychologists say that it will help you feel calmer because “tangible organisation leads to emotional organisation.”
10. PHONE A FRIEND
Stress and anxiety compound when you keep it to yourself. By talking it through with someone close you can share the problem and take a weight off your mind.
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain