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Whether it’s the frustration of being around family during holidays.
Or anticipating what challenges the new year is gonna bring with it.
Whatever the reason, stressing out isn’t the solution.
Stress is bad for health. And you need to find quick ways to relieve stress and relax so you can focus on what matters instead of getting freaked out.
Quick stress relievers can be very effective in restoring peace and relaxation in the chaos of your life. A quick stress reliever should be anything that:
- Can be performed anywhere
- Takes very little practice to perform
- Provides immediate stress relief and helps you relax
Therefore without any further ado, here are 9 quick ways you can use to relieve stress and relax.
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9 Quick Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax
Beginning with a super-easy way to relieve stress and relax, chewing gum.
A study by Cardiff University (1) on 101 volunteers found out that chewing gum can promote a more positive mood and reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety, and even depression, and better performance. Moreover, another study (2) concluded that gum chewing may relieve stress, particularly with stronger chewing.
So, there’s enough scientific evidence for you to suggest that you should pick up a stick of gum and start chewing it the next time stress hits you.
Who doesn’t crave a warm hug during stressful times?
Now, there’s concrete scientific evidence to prove that hugging and cuddling can help relieve stress and relax effectively.
Studies (3,4) confirm that positive physical contact stimulates the release of the ‘feel-good’ hormone, oxytocin which reduces levels of the ‘stress hormone,’ cortisol. Lower levels of cortisol leads to reduced blood pressure and heart rate, helping you calm down and relax.
Next time you feel stressed out, relax and get a hug from your partner or a friend, or you can even do it using a personal cuddling pillow.
Perform Deep Breathing
According to Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., authors of The Healing Power of the Breath, by changing the rate, depth, and pattern of breathing, we can effectively overpower how our brain reacts to our anxious and stressful state through the respiratory system. This can help us not only manage the immediate symptoms of stress but can effectively bring stress and anxiety under control and induce feelings of calm and relaxation.
Our breath is immensely powerful and the simplest of breathing techniques you can practice is to lengthen your exhale and breathing through the abdomen or the belly.
Any deep breathing technique can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reducing the chances of hyperventilation and feelings of stress and anxiety.
Next time you feel stress overcoming your senses, regain control over your body and mind by trying out a deep breathing technique.
Drink A Relaxing Tea
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world after water and is a much healthier alternative to coffee when it comes to providing a kick of alertness. With no caffeine in them, teas don’t hamper your sleep and put your body in hyperdrive, unlike coffee.
Many different varieties of herbal teas like lavender, chamomile, peppermint, etc. pack in natural ingredients that have been found out to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety and help you relax and even sleep better at night.
Some of the ingredients are so effective that many over-the-counter sleep supplements and relaxants also make use of these same ingredients found in the herbal teas.
Teas have been known for ages to induce feelings of calmness and relaxation. So, next time welcome stress with a warm cup of a relaxing tea.
Perform Sensory Soothing
Our senses are tightly intertwined with our emotions and one of the quickest ways to eliminate stress is to engage one or more of your senses – Touch, Sight, Smell, Hearing, Taste.
When something feels or smells or tastes or sounds nice or looks good, we feel calm and happy towards that thing. Researchers (5) define this connection as ‘conceptual association’ between an object and its perceived sensory effect.
Our distinct senses relate to our emotions, both psychologically and neurologically about anything and the practice of sensory soothing can be very effective in inducing feelings of relaxation and relieving stress after a busy day.
Make a list of all the uni-sensory experiences that you like for each of your five senses, Touch, Sight, Smell, Hearing, Taste using this guide on sensory self-soothing for adults, and use it next time to relax when stress troubles you.
Use Essential Oils
Our sense of smell is wired directly to the limbic system and amygdala centers responsible for memory or mood. We collect smells from the environment and send that information via the olfactory nerve. This is the reason why certain smells can instantly make us cheer up, or even recall a favorite memory. (6)
And in this same way, essential oils can have a potent effect on your mood and mental well-being, with particular smells (good or bad) causing particular emotional reactions (relaxing or irritating).
Aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender, bergamot, clary sage, etc. has been used for treating a plethora of ailments particularly impactful in helping you enhance feelings of relaxation and reduce stress.
Get yourself a little bottle of any essential oil and use it next time you experience feelings of stress. Inhale the relaxing aroma of the essential oil and breathe your stress away.
Try CBD Products
Ever since it’s legalization in the US, the popularity of cannabidiol or CBD products has shot up, mainly because it has lived up to its reputation in effectively relieving feelings of stress and anxiety.
Although there is a need for extensive research, studies (7) have already suggested that CBD has considerable potential for the treatment of multiple anxiety disorders.
With cannabinoid receptors already present throughout the body, trying out CBD products like gummies and oil might be an effective natural remedy for stress relief.
Go For A Walk In Nature
Modern-day work practices have unfortunately made us into sedentary beings which makes us prone to increased feelings of anxiety and depression, along with diseases like obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. (8)
It’s very important to actively engage in physical activities, like exercise and walking, and connect with nature.
Numerous studies (9) have suggested that exercise and regular physical activity like walking, positively reduces the psychological and physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety, by releasing anti-anxiety neurochemicals like serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and endocannabinoids. (10)
Moreover, research (11) suggests that spending time in nature every day promotes many mental and emotional health benefits.
Next time you feel stressed out, simply head out and take a walk across your nearby park and rejuvenate yourself with feel-good hormones and the beautiful nature.
Perform Body Scan Meditation
Body Scanning is a type of meditation technique used to cultivate mindfulness towards various parts of your body. It is a variation of the traditional Burmese Vipassana meditation practice referred to as ‘sweeping’. (12) It was introduced into clinical practice by Jon Kabat-Zinn through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. (13)
The Body Scan technique is designed to scan your body (much like a CAT scan) and help you feel and become aware of the different sensations that occur throughout your body.
In his book Falling Awake, Kabat-Zinn writes “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it, whether you find the body scan to be very relaxing and interesting or difficult and uncomfortable or exasperating is irrelevant to whether it will serve you well.” (18)
Try to practice for at least 10-15 mins and add more time as you get hold of the technique when you are just starting out.
Next time when bouts of stress take away your sleep at night, try the body-scan meditation to become aware of the bodily sensations, relax comfortably and have a peaceful slumber.
Learning how to quickly relieve stress and relax is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn. Stressing out about anything is never good for your well-being.
Make any of the above techniques part of your anti-stress toolkit and slay any stressful situation to live a good life.