Everyone deals with stress, unfortunately. Although nobody is really immune to it, some people certainly are able to handle it better than others – either by the nature of their personality or through a great deal of practice.
Lucky for you, there’s no need to continue to suffer even you’re not naturally good at handling stress very well. All you need to do is to learn how to manage it better.
For many, that means doing the obvious things that promote relaxation and rejuvenation. Some of those things may include taking time off from work, getting more sleep, delegating certain tasks to others, booking a day at the spa, finding time to indulge in a hobby or going for long walks in the woods.
Those are all great things to do, but they do take time, and they don’t encompass all of what you can do to help battle stress as it surfaces when you least expect it. Here are 10 more things you can easily pick up wherever and whenever you’re feeling a bit tense.
#1: Swear out loud
Just don’t let your coworkers (or your mother) hear you! As long as you don’t do it out of sheer anger, swearing can increase an overall sense of calmness and control. The simple act of exercising your vocal chords has been shown to reduce stress, so even if you can’t exactly use swear words, you can still benefit from finding a way to shout, talk, sing or even hum your way to a bit of calmness.
#2: Start sniffing something that smells good
Countless studies have suggested that aromatherapy is an effective way to reduce stress. To see how it works for yourself, you can try calming scents like lavender, jasmine, vanilla, coconut or any other favorite scents you might really like. Your sense of smell is more deeply rooted in your brain than any of the other four senses and is strongly intertwined with memory and emotion, which is why it can work so well to combat stress.
#3: Eat a handful of pistachios
Not only can crunching your teeth down give you a nice outlet for physically letting out feelings of frustration, but pistachios in particular have been shown to lower blood pressure. A Penn State University study found that eating a three-ounce serving of pistachios a day can even relax the arteries and put less pressure on the heart to work harder.
#4: Blow up a balloon
You may not be feeling like throwing a party if you’re stressed, but blowing up a balloon or two is a great way to force yourself to inhale and exhale slowly. It makes you use your diaphragm and engages your parasympathetic nervous system to naturally breathe out those feelings of stress and anxiety.
#5: Walk barefoot through grass
No, it’s not just for young children and hippies. Walking barefoot through grass has been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits from reducing inflammation and improving sleep, to regulating heart rate variability and balancing blood glucose levels. And hey, you have to admit it—cool grass between your toes just feels really good!
#6: Drink a glass of orange juice
Orange juice is a great source of vitamin C, which is known to lower cortisol, a stress hormone. In a German study, 120 people were given the stressful task of having to speak publicly and solve math problems. Those who had been asked to take a vitamin C supplement showed much lower levels of cortisol and blood pressure compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.
#7: Massage your ears
Believe it or not, your ears contain pressure points that can help regulate your emotions when they’re stimulated in the right way. Try spending about 3 to 5 minutes slowly rubbing the inner areas of your ear and moving to the outer cartilage areas. Repeat on the other ear for a total of about 10 minutes.
#8: An ancient Japanese technique
This is an ancient Japanese pressure point self-relaxation technique you can do anywhere – with no equipment and in just 5 minutes.
#9: Chew some gum
It may not look all that polite, but just like crunching on some nuts helps, chewing a piece of gum can be a similarly effective (and lower calorie option if it’s sugar-free) way to deal with stress. A study showed that chewing gum helped people feel less anxious, become more alert and perform better when given a series of multitasking instructions.
#10: Get an adult coloring book
Adult coloring books are the big new stress-reducing trend everyone has been talking about. Whether it’s the enjoyment of seeing different colors, the artistic nature of it all or the mindless activity associated with coloring – more people are jumping on the coloring book bandwagon to help them wind down from the stress associated with their adult responsibilities.
Stress shouldn’t have to rule your life, and now you have some good (and easy) strategies to help you get a better handle on it.