Does the thought of taking time to relieve stress make you feel even more stressed out? Who has time for pedicures, massages, therapy sessions and long soaks in the bath? If you're feeling frazzled, there are lots of things you can do to calm down. Try these techniques to bust stress in 5 minutes or less.
Smiling, even when you don't feel happy, can instantly lift your mood. Instead of frowning, clenching your jaw, or tensing up your forehead in reaction to a stressor, grin and feel your troubles melt away. Try it now!
Sometimes, you just need to vent. Enlist the help of a good friend or close loved one when you need to de-stress. Often, just getting something off your chest will help you calm down and keep things in perspective. A five-minute phone call can help strengthen your bond, too.
Certain scents can help calm, energize and revitalize us, and that's what aromatherapy is all about. Lavender can be soothing and peppermint can increase your focus. Keep some of your favorite scented products around, whether candles, air fresheners, herbs, flowers, or essential oils. Take a few whiffs when you're stressed and notice the instant calm you feel.
Even if you can't escape from your stressful life, you can escape through the magic of your mind. Right now, close your eyes and imagine the world's most perfect, serene place. It can be waves crashing on the beach, rolling hills, or even a familiar childhood room. Note how safe, secure and relaxed you feel by picturing this place. Whenever you need a short escape, you can always return there in your mind.
You don't have to be a Zen master to meditate successfully. Think about a place, a word, an idea—anything that pulls your focus and helps you turn off distracting thoughts. A little meditation can go a long way for your well-being, even when it's as simple as repeating a calming word or phrase to yourself.
Tension and pain in your neck, shoulders, upper back or forehead can be symptoms of your stressful lifestyle. But you can do something about it. First, tense that area of the body as much as you can, and then instantly relax it as much as possible. Use your hands to give yourself a quick massage during a stressful day, and notice how your body (and mind) responds favorably.
Ever notice how dogs, cats and other animals stretch throughout the day? They do it for the same reasons we do—it just feels good! Starting or finishing your day with some light stretches can help you de-stress and relax when you need it most. At work, you can try some neck, arm and chest stretches, too.
Anyone who listens to get-up-and-go music to get pumped up for a workout knows how much music can affect your mindset. Just as it can energize you or evoke powerful emotions, it can also help relax you. Choose the music you find most relaxing, whether classical, jazz, instrumental or something else. Keep it on your computer, in the car, and on your iPod in case of stressful emergencies. Tune in to relaxing music and tune out the world around you.
Sometimes the simple act of closing your eyes and breathing deeply can do wonders during a stressful day. You can do this several times throughout the day to help your body and mind relax. Try to combine this tip with some others (meditation, stretching, self-massage, or visualization) for an even greater benefit.
See, you don't need to go out of your way to control the stress in your life. Spare five minutes here and there, and you'll be a calmer, more focused person in no time!
Exercise, even when done leisurely, is a great way to relieve stress and boost endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in your brain. When you feel overwhelmed, go outside and walk for a few minutes. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel.
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