10 Simple stress management techniques
The symptoms of stress are brought on by our natural flight or fight response, which causes the heart rate to quicken, the adrenaline to flow, and the blood vessels to contract. In the ancient world, this would give us the strength to run away or to face our attacker, but today, because we do neither, we bottle it all up and get stressed. Just as the body has an automatic response to stress, it also has an automatic response to feelings of safety and wellbeing and, if you know how to trigger that response, you have the means at your disposal to combat stress. If you leave stress unchecked, it can cause all kinds of health issues, so learn these ten simple stress management techniques and you will be able to keep your stress levels well under control.
1. Grab a snack
There is a lot of evidence that suggests that, how hungry you are, can affect how stressed you feel. If you are hungry that will trigger the stress hormones, so, if you are already stressed, hunger will only make things worse. Take a fifteen minute break from whatever it is you are doing and eat a healthy snack, and it will reduce your stress levels and give you a top up of energy.
2. Take deep breaths
Another one of simple stress management techniques is to take deep breaths. Breathing deeply slows your heart rate and increase is the amount of oxygen that is getting to your brain. This will have the effect of both, clearing your mind and calming your down. When you feel your stress levels beginning to rise, take a five minute break, sit down somewhere quiet, and take long, deep breaths.
3. Go for a walk
Just taking a walk will help you calm down and reduce your stress. You can walk anywhere, but a walk in some green space is the best thing to do. Walking in the fresh air will clear your head and it will make your body release endorphins, which counteract the stress hormones. Walking in a green space, such as a park, also puts your body into a state of meditation, which is why walking in a park is the best thing for stress.
4. Use visualisation
Medical experts now recognise the power of visualisation, or “guided imagery”, as it is sometimes called. You can combat stress by taking five minutes in a quiet space if you can find one, and visualising yourself in peaceful, relaxing scene. You could picture yourself on a quiet beach, for example, or take your mind back to a very happy time in your life.
5. Switch off everything and walk away
Two of the biggest causes of stress today are the cell phone and the computer, so when the pressure begins to mount, switch off both and walk away from them for ten minutes. Studies have proven that cell phones and computers, both contribute to feeling of stress, so give them a break occasionally, and you will feel a lot calmer and more under control.
6. Watch a funny YouTube video
Having a good laugh will also counteract stress. Laughter increases the amount of oxygen that is getting into your blood and it boosts the levels of the feel good hormones in your system, all of which adds up to you feeling a lot less stressed. So, when you are getting snowed under with work, take five minutes to check out some funny viral videos. It will immediately de-stress you and, later on in the day, just thinking about the video will give you a giggle and help to de-streets you again.
7. Listen to soothing music
One of simple stress management techniques is to listen to some soothing music. Listening to music will lower your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. Soothing classical music is considered to be the best for this, but any type of music that you enjoy will do the trick. Music floods the brain with feel-good neurochemicals, like dopamine, and that will reduce anxiety and stress fast.
8. Use your sense of smell
Your sense of smell can have a powerful impact on your mood and you can use that to control stress. Just getting some fresh air will help, but you can also use the power of essential oils to reduce stress. You can use essential oils in a diffuser, if you are at home, or you can just rub a drop of essential oil onto the palms of your hands and inhale the vapours when you are out. Some of the best essential oils for relaxation are rose, frankincense and lavender.
9. Eat a banana
Bananas are a good source of potassium and that can reduce blood pressure during times of stress. Lots of people say that eating a banana reduces stress and it will also give you more energy to be able to cope with a stressful situation.
10. Chew gum
When you are stressed out and you are trying to do too many things at once, chewing gum may help you cope with the situation better. Studies have shown that, when you chew gum, it can reduce anxiety, make you more alert and help you to multitask more efficiently.
What are your favourite stress management techniques?