You can never have a 100% stress-free day. Machines breakdown. Coffee spills on your clothes. The kids forgot to tell you about the bake sale tomorrow. And of course, you are nowhere close to completing your project's deadline. In short, the madness never stops.
If you need to calm your nerves - which according to Steve Blank we all need from time-to-time -use the following 15 techniques designed to put your racing mind at ease.
Chris Lewis Ed.S., LPC notes on the Maria Droste Counseling Center website that the “first and most simple and direct way to calm anxiety is something we do every day. Breathing.” The problem is that when we get anxious, we being to take shallow, rapid breathing - which reduces oxygen and leads to more anxiety.
Lewis suggests you practice belly breathing to relieve anxiety and stress, which a deeper and slower form of breathing. This will allow more oxygen into your systems, which in turn assures the brain that everything is alright - and helps calm you down.
2. Get Moving
It’s no secret that exercise can help reduce stress because it produces “endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers.” The Anxiety and Depression Association of America adds that exercise also helps you sleep, which reduces stress further.
Whether it’s going up a flight of stairs, taking a walk during your lunch break or signing up for a yoga or kickboxing class are all greats ways to calm your nerves.
3. Soak Up the Sun
Research has long proven exposure to sunlight - in moderation, of course - can help relieve stress. Research from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University found that "patients who were placed in bright rooms reported less perceived stress and took less medication per hour than patients in dim rooms.”
Can’t make it outside? Simply looking out the window and taking in the wonders of nature can also be relaxing.
4. Eat the Right Snacks
When you get stressed out, it’s natural to crave some junk food. The problem is that junk food, like sugary treats, will “spike your blood-glucose level, making you feel even more jittery.” Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness recommends on Health.com you snack on healthier options like strawberries dipped in dark chocolate or crunchy snacks like carrots or celery.
5. Talk to a FriendResearch
shows the happiest people are also the most talkative. If something is really upsetting you, then talk it out with your spouse, best friend or colleague. Having deep conversations with a love one helps build better relationships - and lowers stress.
6. Write it Down
What if you can’t get in touch with a loved one to hash your problems? Or, you just don't have? You can always grab a pen and piece of paper. Research
discovered that everyone from college students to those who are clinically depressed have used writing to relieve stress. Writing it down helps you work through anxieties and helps boost performance on exams and tests.
7. Hang Out With Man’s Best Friend
Need another reason to prove dogs rule? How about their ability to decrease the levels of cortisol — or the stress hormone — and increases endorphins? Because dogs can assist with stress relief, it’s no surprise that college campuses across the country have started to allow therapy dogs to help students relax.
8. Plan a Vacation
Getting out of town is always a great way to escape the stress of the daily grind. However, just the simple act of planning a vacation is enough to make people happy
. Even if time and money are tight right now, you can plan a trip for the future.
9. Stay in the Present
Chris Lewis states that “Anxiety is very often a future-oriented condition.” He recommends that you ask yourself if whatever you’re worried about is taking place right here and now. If not, “shift your focus back on this very moment.”
10. Count Backward
Psychologist Heidi Rotberg suggests in Better Homes and Gardens
that, “you count softly out loud from 1 to 10 and back again.” Why? Because “It's hard to count and think at the same time.”
11. Listen to Slow MusicResearchers
discovered college students who listened to Pachaelbel’s Canon
before a presentation had lower anxiety, heart rates, and blood pressure than those who had listened to no music at all. Researchers believe listening to calming music (folk, contemporary, classical, and lullaby) is distracting enough to help patients get through the nerve-racking experience of going through a medical procedure.
12. Drip Cold Water on Your Wrists
In his book, 1,001 Ways to Relax: An Illustrated Guide to Reducing Stress
Mike George suggests dripping cold water on wrists whenever you’re worked up. This technique works by cooling down your arteries, which refreshes your entire body. You can also splash cold water behind your ear lobes for a similar effect.
13. Participate in Brain Games
Research published in Nature America
discovered brain games, such as crossword puzzles, are effective in calming people down because they require concentration, which distracts us from our internal anxieties and stressor.
14. Stop and Smell the...Citrus
Did you know the scent of citrus is actually relaxing? Health.com
says “certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood.” Skip stopping to smell the roses and grab an orange instead.
15. Get Ready For Bed
Sometimes the remedy for calming your nerves is to merely get a good night’s rest. But, how can you do that when all of your worries comes rushing back? Barbara Brody suggests in Woman's Day
before bedtime you spend about an hour decompressing by watching TV, drinking tea, exercising, or taking a hot shower.