If you’re feeling stressed right this second, you can choose one or more of these five quick ways to give yourself instant relief.
Of course, implementing strategies to decrease chronic stress is the way to go in the long-term, but there are always going to be times when you need a technique to help you relax right then and there. When that happens, use one of these.
Go for a Quick Walk
This one can seem quite tricky when you’re in the throes of stress and feeling bad. Getting the energy, motivation, or even time to get up and go for a walk can feel intimidating and even impossible. But just do it. Seriously! It can be super short, but if possible, do it outside. Walk around your building, the block, or go a mile if you have the time and space. Any of it will help.
Being outside where the sun can touch your skin, especially where you can see green plants, helps release feel-good hormones in your body and elevates your mood. It’s an immediate results kind of thing too, so do it anytime you feel stressed.
Do a Deep Breathing Exercise
Many people think deep breathing is something you need to set aside a lot of time to do. But it’s not. Sure, you can use deep breathing as part of a more extended meditation session, and that’s a great thing to do routinely to battle chronic stress, but you can also do short breathing exercises any time you need to feel less stressed.
In fact, you can do this even if you’re in a meeting, are on a conference call, or are waiting in a traffic jam to pick the kids up from school. Here’s how:
- Take a deep breath in through your nose while counting slowly to six.
- Hold the breath while counting to six.
- Slowly let the breath out, counting to six.
You can repeat this as many times as you like, but you should start feeling the stress ease up with even one time going through it.
It might feel ridiculous to stop, focus, and smile when you’re feeling stressed, but it just may help you relax and feel better. Smiling sends a signal to your brain that you’re happy, and it can be a positive feedback loop, triggering true good feelings in your brain.
This is a classic “fake it ’til you make it” technique, but it really does work.
Turn on Some Music
Music is powerful medicine for the brain. Try different types of music until you find one that slows your heart rate and makes you feel calmer. For many people, classical does the trick on that front.
Use a Stress Ball or Simply Do Progressive Muscle Tensing and Relaxing
Squeezing a stress ball is a physical way of helping to get excess energy out. It can help reduce blood pressure and create calmer feelings. If you don’t have a stress ball, you can do progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Just start at your toes and flex and then relax each group of muscles all the way up your body.
You don’t need any special equipment for progressive relaxation exercises, and you can do them anytime, so the technique works great for relieving stress in the moment.