There are countless techniques for managing stress. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work wonders. In these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible. One of the speediest and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is to engage one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress. Talking face-to-face with a relaxed and caring listener can help you quickly calm down and release tension.
Observe your muscles and insides.
Dealing with stress - top tips
Are your muscles tense or sore? Is your stomach tight, cramped, or aching? Are your hands or jaw clenched? Observe your breath. Is your breathing shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath.
Your body works hard and drains your immune system. Externally, however, people respond to stress in different ways. Overexcited stress response: If you tend to become angry, agitated, overly emotional, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down. Underexcited stress response: If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energizing. Do you freeze when under stress? The immobilization stress response is often associated with a past history of trauma.
When faced with stressful situations, you may find yourself totally stuck and unable to take action. Physical movement that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, swimming, running, dancing, climbing, or tai chi, can be particularly helpful. As you move, focus on your body and the sensations you feel in your limbs rather than on your thoughts.
To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you.
This can require some experimentation. As you employ different senses, note how quickly your stress levels drop. And be as precise as possible. What is the specific kind of sound or type of movement that affects you the most? The examples listed below are intended to be a jumping-off point. Let your imagination run free and come up with additional things to try. Slowly savoring a favorite treat can be very relaxing, but mindless eating will only add to your stress and your waistline. The key is to indulge your sense of taste mindfully and in moderation. As strange as it may sound, vocal toning is a special technique that reduces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Try sneaking off to a quiet place to spend a few minutes toning before a meeting with your boss and see how much more relaxed and focused you feel. It works by exercising the tiny muscles of the inner ear that help you detect the higher frequencies of human speech that impart emotion and tell you what someone is really trying to say.
40 ways to relax in 5 minutes or less
Experiment by changing the pitch and volume until you experience a pleasant vibration in your face and, eventually, your heart and stomach. Having trouble identifying sensory techniques that work for you? Look for inspiration around you, from your sights as you go about your day to memories from your past. Think back to what you did as to calm down. If you had a blanket or stuffed toy, you might benefit from tactile stimulation.
Try tying a textured scarf around your neck before an appointment or keeping a piece of soft suede in your some. Watch others. Observing how others deal with stress can give you valuable insight. Baseball players often pop gum before week up to release. Singers often chat up the crowd before performing.
Ask people you know how they stay focused under pressure. Think back to what your parents did to blow off steam. Did your mother feel more relaxed after a long walk? Did your father work in the yard after a hard day? The power of imagination. Once drawing upon your sensory toolbox becomes habit, try simply imagining vivid sensations when stress strikes. Taking a and hiatus from the television, computer, and cell phone will give you insight on what your senses respond to best. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up.
But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills. Identify and need.
Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, stressful as commuting.
Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on. Test-drive sensory input.
If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming. Talk about it. The best part of sensory-based strategies is the awareness that you have control. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident. Ease kitchen stress by breathing in the scent of every ingredient.
Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion. Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together.
When your toddler has a tantrum, rub lotion into your hands and breathe in the scent. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air. Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light.
During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee. On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy, or take calls outside when possible. On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in minute intervals. Suck on a peppermint. Sip tea. Lunch breaks.
Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating.