Stress is just one of those things that’s impossible to avoid. I don’t know about you, but even when I’m doing things I love, my “type A” personality takes over and I begin to try to bite off more than I can chew. This month with my oldest graduating high school and me preparing for a move, I thought I’d share some strategies to help reduce stress that I’ve heard from experts and through other publications. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment and test out one or more of these ideas.
Phone a friend
A heart to heart with a friend can be just what you need to feel more at ease. Research found social support can go a long way toward improving mental health and fighting stress by increasing resiliency and reducing risky behaviors.
Help someone else
Volunteering for a cause—whether it’s getting groceries for a sick friend or walking dogs at a local shelter—can make you feel better than whatever is stressing you out. Research shows volunteering makes people feel more connected and can help reduce blood pressure.
Take a deep breath
To stop stress fast, just breathe in. Inhale deeply for four counts through your nose. Hold your breath for seven counts, then exhale for eight counts through your mouth. Concentrate on your pattern. Stress will quickly melt away.
Listen to your favorite music
Regardless of your favorite genre, research found that listening to music not only reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, but it also helped improve immune system functionality.
Hit the museum
Take your mind off whatever ails you by surrounding yourself with visual beauty.
Hold something cold
Freaking out? Grab an ice cube or a cold drink. Feeling something cold in your hand immediately forces you to the present moment and can distract you from whatever is causing you stress.
Take a nap
Stress can impede your ability to get a good night’s sleep, but the opposite is also true—when you’re well rested you’re better able to cope with stressful situations.
Take a walk
A quick stroll outside can help reduce anxiety. Research found that within five minutes of walking outside, subjects reported an increase in self-esteem.
Whether it’s watching a comedy on you tube or a funny movie on Netflix, humor is the best way to make you feel better fast. Laughter reduces cortisol levels while increasing endorphin production.
Do something new
Whether it’s a crafting class at a community college or taking yoga in the park, get out of your stress funk and into a new environment. Challenging yourself in new ways can distract you from whatever might be worrying you.