Stress doesn’t come announced! Stress may strike anytime and take a toll on a happier and healthier you! There are plenty of stressors all around that can trigger stress. Heavy workload, deadlines, examinations, unhappy marriage, money matters, dangerous working environment, lack of sleep, unsupportive family, anything can trigger stress. When left unnoticed and unattended, stress can become chronic. It is always impossible to control your situation, but managing stress is possible. A well-balanced lifestyle, right work-life balance, good sleep, regular exercise, and many other small things can help you manage stress better.
How does stress affect health?
Let’s face it; stress is complex. It is not easy to understand stress as this invisible concept can’t be measured. However, knowing what causes stress and coping mechanisms that can reduce stress levels can be of great help. In simple words, stress is your body’s reaction in response to pressure. The body produces various stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline when under stress. Under stress, the body gets a ‘flight or fight’ signal against stressors, and it wants to react quickly. This results in an increased heartbeat, accelerated breathing, elevated blood pressure, and spiked energy supplies. When the situation returns to normal, the stress goes away, and so do the reactions.
However, repeated stress triggers can cause your body to react in this way time and again, leading to various long term physical and mental health issues. Some common health problems related to stress are -
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Muscle pain
- Disturbed sleep
- Weight gain
- Difficulty in concentration
- Digestive problems
The tell-tale signs of stress
Stress in individuals may send a mixed bag of signals. Some of the most common signs of stress are -
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Grinding teeth
- Getting angry or aggression
- Getting irritated/frustrated easily
- Feeling afraid
- Feeling anxious or panicked
- Withdrawal from socializing
- Feeling unwell without any reason
You can get stressed anytime, anywhere. Major life changes to minor challenges, stress is a part of our life. Feeling overwhelmed when stressed is natural, but coping with the situation with quick stress relief techniques is wiser. Short-term stress management strategies come in handy as they can be performed anywhere and need no special skills. You don’t require a therapist to practice them, and they provide immediate relief.
If you are experiencing stress and want to know how to relieve stress fast, consider these quick and simple stress reduction strategies. They will help you lower stress and anxiety levels.
Take a nap
Among the various stress relief techniques, taking a nap is the easiest and one of the best ways to calm your mind and reduce your stress level. A nap can provide your body with the reaction time that it needs to reduce stress and calm you down. A ‘power nap’ of ten to fifteen minutes or more can play a magical role as a stress buster if you have time.
To maximise the benefits and doze off faster, create a pleasant ambience for a peaceful nap. Pull the curtains to reduce light in the room. Better still, use weighted eye masks specially designed to apply gentle pressure and help you relax by calming the body and soothing the mind. These are similar to weighted blankets; only, they are meant for your eyeballs. Additionally, the stuffed materials block light which may disrupt sound sleep.
The most commonly used stuffing in weighted eye masks is flax seeds, sand, lavender, sea salt, glass microbeads. Natural stuffing is always the best! Choosing an eye mask filled with lavender buds also helps you get a dose of aromatherapy. Lavender is used for treating anxiety and promoting relaxation in this natural, holistic, wellness treatment. Another plus side of using these eye masks is that they can be frozen or heated for extra comfort. You don’t need to pop in pills and worry about side effects while using sleep-enhancing accessories like weighted eye masks, body pillows, and weighted blankets. Next time when you are stressed, try taking a nap to release stress and wake up feeling better.
Related: Article: How to Sleep Better at night
Focus on your breathing
You may not always have the time or be in a situation where you can take a quick nap. In that case, the simplest and the quickest way to relax your mind and reduce stress is to take slow, deep breaths. Deep breathing sends signals to the brain to calm down, giving your body a chance to relax. They can be done anywhere, and you do not need any special tools; just focus on your breath!
Pay attention to your breathing when you are stressed because how you breathe can affect your entire body. If you have the time and means, you can try various breathing exercises that can relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Some of the best breathing exercises for stress management and relaxation are -
- Belly breathing
- 4-7-8 breathing
- Alternate nostril breathing
- Morning breathing
- Mindful breathing
- Roll breathing
- Box breathing
When you started hunting for ways on how to relieve stress fast, did you ever imagine a simple thing like chewing gum could work as a stress relief mechanism? Believe it or not, it does!
Research shows that gum chewers show reduced amounts of anxiety when under naturally occurring stress compared to non-gum-chewers. There are several reasons for this. The act of chewing gum boosts blood flow to the brain, reduces muscular tension, deviates attention from external stressors, and reduces salivary cortisol levels, allowing the mind and body to relax.
Next time when you want to manage stress fast, pop chewing gum into your mouth and chew for at least five minutes or longer. Chew it vigorously, and that should help in reducing some stress.
Aromatherapy, or the effect of smells, is believed to have the capability of relieving stress and anxiety. Stress-relieving scents like lavender, lemon, cedarwood, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, rose, orange blossom, and chamomile are several ways to relieve stress. Inhale essential oils with the help of scented candles, diffusers, body products to reduce stress and anxiety, calm down, and lift your mood. Certain scents are believed to help drive away negative emotions and promote positive vibes. Scents have different effects on different people, some like floral aromas, some earthy smells, whereas some find citrusy fragrances more refreshing. Use the scents that soothe your mind the most and help you come out from your darkest moods.
Explore your creative side
All children are artists in their unique ways, but adulthood is a different story. Most people are frightened to explore their creative side. It’s never too late to try art again. Sketching, painting, coloring, dot mandala art, DIY crafts, anything that allows you to express yourself freely can take the load off your mind. If you are entirely clueless, grab an adult coloring book and try filling it with colors. They work as great stress relievers. It will divert your mind, beat stress, allow self-expression, and brighten up mood.
When feeling overwhelmed, confused, and angry, talking to someone surely helps. When you feel your stress level rising, call a friend, reach out to someone you trust, and share your thoughts. They may or may not be able to solve your problems but venting out feelings is a great way to release stress.
If you cannot think of anyone whom you would like to talk to, be your BFF. Develop a positive self-talking habit. Talk to yourself in the third person to curb negative emotions and promote positive thoughts. Think about what you would tell others under your present circumstances. Motivate, encourage, find solutions, and talk to yourself as someone else would
You may not be aware, but research has proven that tea has the power of reducing cortisol levels, in turn lowering stress levels. It is said that drinking a minimum of half a cup of green tea (100 milliliters) every day for years can also reduce the risk of depression and dementia.
While you move from your desk to make yourself a cup of tea, your mind gets diverted, getting some reaction time to cope with the stress. Additionally, tea’s reputation as a stress-relieving drink also works its magic when you take sips from your cup.
Several studies suggest practising yoga encourages the body and mind to relax.
Different yoga poses are combinations of meditation, physical movements, controlled breathing, and light exercise. All these are great stress-relieving techniques individually working in combination in yoga. Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can help you cope with stress better.
Listen to music
Be it rock, pop, country, or instrumental, your favourite kind of music can help relieve stress and uplift the mood. It is a quick fix for a bad mood, stress, and anxiety.
Whenever you feel stressed out, try these quick stress relief techniques. Pick the strategy that works for you the best and manage stress better!
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