As much as stress can actually be good for you, sometimes it’s just too much. Between work, family and personal life – things are constantly shifting and we need to stay flexible and resilient in order to manage things while still keeping our cool. How we react to stress depends largely on our personality type and the particular circumstance; however, certain strategies have been shown to be near universally effective in reducing anxiety. Check out these useful tips for connecting to your inner-zen even when you feel overwhelmed.
5 Ways To Instantly De-stress:
1/ Clench your left fist. Squeeze your left fist tightly for 5-10 seconds. Pouring all of your energy and focus into this allows your body to ‘sense its space’ (known as proprioception). Studies show this to be a quick anxiety-reducer (more here). As an alternative, mental health expert Therese Borchard suggests pressing your palms together.
2/ Close Your Eyes. Studies show that as much as 80% of sensory stimulation comes through the eyes, so simply by closing them we automatically give our brains a break. Find a place where you can calmly sit for a few minutes (or longer) without the stimulation of sight and you will notice a decrease in your stress level.
3/ Massage Your Hand. “Use the thumb of one hand to press around the palm of the other hand,” Borchard advises. This is an automatic soother and is something that can be easily done publicly or privately without drawing attention (a bonus).
4/ Move. Whether it’s a walk, a run, a bike ride or some other form of physical activity – get moving. There’s a clear connection between exercise and stress relief (as anyone who’s ever worked out knows). Elevating your heart rate, distracting yourself from your worries and breaking a sweat are all great ways to boost your energy and your optimism.
5) Bubble Breathe. As recommended by occupational therapist Brukner, try this effective breathing technique to lower anxiety.
“Breathe in for five seconds, out for five seconds.
Imagine you have a wand of bubbles. When you breathe out, be careful not to pop it.
Place one flat palm on your heart, one flat palm on your belly.
Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for five seconds.
Breathe out a large “bubble” though pursed lips, blow out for five seconds.”
* Song for this moment: “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy.
“10 Instant Ways to Calm Yourself Down”, article in Everyday Health.