When you need fast stress relief, a long spa weekend or talking your tales out on the doc's couch won't cut it. Here are 10 tips, tried and true, that can help bring you immediate release from stress.
Sing a song, or just hum it. Only people in a laid-back, pleasant mood stroll around humming. Making music or listening to it both trigger a biochemical reaction that reduces symptoms of tension.
Light up your room with scented candles. Aromatherapy (lavender in particular), has been linked with lowering stress levels.
While it may not be polite, scientific studies report that gum chewing reduces anxiety and stress, as well as raises alertness and the ability to multi-task smoothly. In one study, gum chewers had lower levels of salivary cortisol when they chomped away during tense situations.
Pucker up and snuggle close. Both hugging and kissing offer enjoyable reprieves from anxiety.
Boil up a kettle of tea. Studies have demonstrated that drinking black tea lowers the amount of cortisol in the body and thereby helps calm feelings to flow.
Break out in laughter. Whether you watch ridiculous YouTube videos or crack open an old photo album, giving yourself a case of the giggles can do wonders. Not only does laughter lift your mood instantly, but it also increases blood flow, which decreases fatigue and minimizes circulatory stress.
Buy a dog. Fido's unconditional love helps set a positive and relaxing home environment, perfectly suited for unwinding after a difficult, challenging day.
Pick up a pencil and express yourself. Whether you draw a masterpiece or simply doodle in the edges of your notepad, creating art is known to lower stress levels.
You know the saying - you are what you eat, and food impacts our emotions too. More than just comfort foods, complex carbs promote the long-lasting release of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that helps calm the body. So bite into a whole-wheat bagel, or dig into a warm bowl of oatmeal. While you're at it, slice up a salad on the side. Chewing crunchy, raw veggies helps to unlock the painful tension that often settles in a stiff or clenched jaw.
Sliding into a luxurious tub full of suds may require more time than you have. But soaking your hands in a bowl of warm water also calms your nervous system and washes away any tension that is tying knots in your aching muscles.
While many of the stresses caused by normal daily life are unavoidable, these tidbits of advice can help you to calm down and cope more efficiently. No matter how original or unfamiliar these tips may sound, push your skepticism to the side and give them a try!