Quick and Easy Ways to Reduce Stress​

Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. 
However, there isn’t always time to take a nap, hiking, or read a novel. 
From eating chocolate to meditating, there is a quick stress-relieving tactic for everyone. 
Here are a few ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less. 

Breathe
Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. 
Try pranayama breathing, method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. 
The technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body.

Listen to music
No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. 
If you’re in a public place, just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood. 

Take a quick walk
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. 
You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.

Find the sun
If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. 
Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.

Give yourself a hand massage
Try a DIY hand massage for instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart. 
Hands in general can carry a lot of tension. 
Apply some lotion and start kneading the base of the muscle under the thumb to relieve stress in the shoulders, neck, and scalp.

Sing a song
Turn up the radio in the car or start crooning in the shower. 
No matter how out of tune you are, singing can make you feel happier. 
Singing also can be good for your breathing and posture, as well as your heart and immune system.

Count backwards
When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. 
It’s harder to freak out about an upcoming exam or job interview when you’re busy remembering what number comes before seven.

Stretch
Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help you relax during a stressful workday. 
Try a shoulder roll-out or a chest-opening stretch right from the desk chair. 

Close your eyes
Take a quick break from a busy office or a chaotic household by just lowering your eyelids. 
It’s an easy way to regain calm and focus.

Squeeze a stress ball
On days when you want to strangle a coworker, your roommate, or the driver in the next lane, squeeze a stress ball instead. 
It’s an easy, portable, and non-violent way to relieve tension.

Be alone
Five minutes of alone time can help you collect your thoughts and clear your head.

Get organized
Being surrounded by too much stuff can be overwhelming and contribute to stress.
So de-clutter to de-stress. Tackle a drawer, a shelf, or a tabletop one at a time. 
An uncluttered space can feel satisfying and restorative. 
As an added plus, spring cleaning is good exercise, burning more than 250 calories an hour.

Meditate
Five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. 
There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. 

Eat some chocolate
Just a small square of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves.
Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism.

Do some yoga
Put your feet up—against the wall, of course. 
The Vipariti Kirani yoga pose involves lying on the floor and resting the legs up against a wall. 
Not only does it give the body a good stretch, but it helps create peace of mind, too.

Cuddle with your pet
Your pet not only gives you unconditional love, but they’re also good for your health. 
When you pet your dog even for just a few minutes, your body releases feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin.
At the same time, it decreases the amount of the damaging stress hormones that are released. 

Chew Gum
A stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. 
No matter the flavor, chewing a stick of gum also seems to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mental performance during tasks.

Sip green tea with honey
Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger.
To make your mood better, drown that stress in sweetness with a spoonful of honey in your cup. 
Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.

Laugh
Feeling stressed about work and family responsibilities? Laughter is one of the sillier ways to beat stress. 
Stream a comedy on the TV, invite over some friends, and share a few good laughs. 

Create a zen zone
Make (or find) a space that’s completely free of stress where you can go to relax. 
Set up a comfortable chair or light some incense and disappear there for a few minutes until the tension dissipates.

Write it down
Putting our emotions on paper can make them seem less intimidating. 
Try journaling before a big event to calm your nerves.

Talk to a friend
When something’s really bothering you, it can help to share your feelings with a buddy. 
In fact, more talkative folks tend to be happier in general. So, vent to a coworker, friend, or family member.

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Rithika Rajgopal

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