10 Ways to Instantly Decrease Stress
Some kinds of stress ebb and flow over time, but other stress is intense and acute. When you are experiencing an overwhelming moment of stress, here are 10 strategies for calming down and pulling yourself together.
Focus on the Present
One great way of calming your brain is to turn your attention to mindful awareness of the present moment. Do this by putting your full focus on your senses. Ask yourself to name something you can see, something you can hear, something you can smell, and something you can touch. If you have something to taste, like a piece of candy, you can use that too. Put all of your attention on each of these questions, and it will refocus your mind.
Music has the ability to change what is going on inside our bodies. The type of music you will want to play for yourself when you are experiencing stress will depend on your own personality. Some people find soft music calming, while others like to distract themselves with loud, fast music. Others may play a favorite song that inspires happiness.
Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a technique many therapists use for calming patients. Some people also use it as a way of falling asleep. Try this by sitting down in a comfortable position. Then, starting with your toes, bring your attention to every muscle in your body. Intentionally relax each muscle, moving from your feet up to your face and head.
Moving your body is a fantastic stress reliever. Even if you can’t fit in a full workout, you can do some quick activity to bring your anxiety levels down. Try jumping jacks or just running in place for a minute or two. If you have time to go for a bike ride or take a walk, that’s even better.
Remove Yourself Mentally
You’ve probably heard people refer to this approach as going to a happy place in your mind. Think of a space or an experience that made you calm and relaxed. Then close your eyes and picture yourself there. For some people, this may be on a beach in the Caribbean while others might imagine being at home in front of the fireplace.
Smell Some Essential Oils
Scent can modify your feelings and your mood. Drop some essential oils onto a cotton ball and inhale deeply. Or you can use a diffuser if you have one. Choose a scent known for its calming properties, like lavender or rosemary.
Write it Out
Writing down your feelings can provide relief in a stressful situation because it’s a way of expressing yourself and getting rid of some of those frustrating feelings. If the problem is a person, many people find it helpful to write a letter to the cause of the stress and then tear it up or burn it. Writing your feelings in a diary is another possibility. If you are creatively minded, you might write a story or poem that expresses your stress.
Cuddle a Pet
Pets are amazing when it comes to reducing stress. Most people turn to a cat, dog, or horse for this type of therapy, but you could cuddle any pet you like. Some farms even offer goat snuggling and cow hugging. You can also visit a friend’s pet. Having a warm cat on your lap, snuggling up with a dog, or even nuzzling a horse can be a transformational experience.
Taking a deep breath is always a good idea when circumstances are getting out of control. Many therapists recommend you breathe in a controlled pattern. Try breathing in for a count of four, holding it for a count of four, and then exhaling for a count of four. Repeat this several times.
Take a Break
Sometimes walking away from a stressful situation is the best option. If you can take a break from the person or circumstance that is bringing you stress, it will help you regroup and attack things in a productive way. It’s not always possible to leave a stressful scene, but it is usually helpful if you can pull it off.
No one can avoid stress, but there are many ways of reducing it. Long term strategies like eating right, getting enough sleep, and engaging in a regular exercise routine can help decrease stress over time, but sometimes you need an immediate solution. These 10 tips will help you fight sudden stress and handle life with a calmer attitude.