From a quickened heart rate, to feelings of queasiness, stress affects us all in different ways. However, as quickly as stress can sneak up on us, we also have the power to quickly reduce it. These 10 quick and easy ways to reduce stress can be done anywhere and will help you to feel more relaxed.
1. Get Outside
Some fresh air - and a 10-minute walk - can help you clear your head, and boost your endorphins in the process. If you’re able to find a park or green space nearby, even better. All of that natural scenery can actually put your body into a state of meditation.
2. Breathe Deeply
Your breath plays an important role in taking care of your body. Taking a few deep breaths can help reduce tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen. Deep breathing makes us feel as though we’re already relaxed, helping us to calm down, reduce blood pressure, and even change the expression of some genes.
3. Step Away from the Screen
Computer use has been associated with stress, especially in those of us who stare at the screen for extended periods of time, or frequently check emails or social media before bedtime. Use frequent breaks to help overcome screen monotony, and go offline at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Smile Like You Mean It
You may not feel happy, but smiling can still have mood-boosting effects. Relieving the pressure in your face caused by scowling, literally turning your frown upside down can turn your mood around, too. Try it and feel your troubles disappear!
5. Go to Your Happy Place
You may not be able to physically escape from stress, but your mind can take you anywhere. Close your eyes and imagine whatever makes you happy - whether that be a sandy beach, rolling hills, or a comforting childhood room. You’ll feel the stress disappear.
6. Stretch it Out
A good stretch can reinvigorate you when you need it most - plus, it feels good! Starting or finishing your day with some light stretching can be a good way to de-stress and relax, setting the tone for your day, or ending it on a high note. If you find you need a boost, you can try some simple arm and neck exercises, too.
7. Be Present
Slow down. Rather than rushing from one place to the next, take some time to focus on your senses in the moment. Notice how the wind feels on your face, or the way that your breath fills your lungs as you engage in some deep breathing exercises. Taking some time to experience exactly what you’re doing in the moment can help you to feel less tense.
8. Connect with a Friend
Who doesn’t feel better after spending time with a friend? Talking through a stressful situation with someone you trust can not only boost your mood, it gives you a fresh perspective while strengthening your relationship in the process.
9. Find Your Jam
Classical music is known to be particularly calming, though any song that you love will make you feel good. Turning on the radio while you’re getting ready in the morning, during your commute, and for times of stress can help to keep you relaxed.
10. Enjoy a Cup of Tea
Herbal tea can be a wonderful stress reliever. Make yourself a cup of lemon balm, passionflower, or valerian to improve your mood. Other teas can help too. Some honey-infused black or green tea is also known to have calming effects.