What To Do When You Are Seriously Stressed
No matter how well you plan or how good your life tends to be, there will invariably be times when you’re just stressed out of your mind.
Whether relationship difficulties strike, you encounter obstacles in your career or are struggling with your health, you can quickly become overwhelmed in a way that completely undermines your overall well-being.
However, there are smart things you can do to counteract stress and calm yourself down. Here are ten of the most effective techniques…
1. Push Your Palms Together
Experts say that pushing your palms together for about 7-8 seconds can instantaneously help to reduce stress levels by anchoring your body in space.
This easy technique taps into your body’s proprioception system, and is very grounding. Hold for longer (up to 10-15 seconds) if you’re feeling especially strung out.
2. Imagine Blowing Bubbles
Most of us can remember using a bubble wand to blow bubbles in childhood—what a fun and relaxing activity! You can use a similar technique to adjust your breathing in a way that reduces stress.
Put your dominant hand over your heart, and the other over your stomach, then inhale for a count of five (through your nose). Hold your breath for five seconds, then breathe out for a count of five—doing so through pursed lips, as though you’re being careful to avoid popping an emerging bubble.
3. Massage Your Hands
This is a wonderful way to combat stress, as it’s not only powerful but also discreet—you can do it anywhere, whether you’re in the middle of a crowd, sitting on a plane or working in the office.
Just use the thumb of one of your hands to press into various spots on the palm of your other hand—you’ll immediately feel soothed. Consider swapping over to the other hand when you’re done (and if you have some nice hand cream to use during the massage, so much the better).
What is causing your stress?
While there are some great tips for quick stress relief in this article, it is crucial to know what is making you stressed in the first place. If you don't, you won't be able to permanently eliminate stress from your life.
So here is an extra exercise for you – inspect your mind. Literally, think about your thoughts. This is called introspection, inspection within. Only when you understand the cause, that you will really be able to help yourself.
If you need a little bit of help, take this free online quiz. You will get a free personalized report detailing what might be holding you back in life and why you aren't 100% happy yet.
Yes, it may be scary to think about this. And you may be avoiding some negative thoughts on purpose (like The Law Of Attraction sometimes teaches you to do), but keeping all of your fears and emotions bottled up is unhealthy, to say the least. You go on, do this right now, take the quiz, then grab a pen and paper and write down what is worrying you. This is the first step to getting better.
P.S. To untangle your emotions faster make sure that you: a) challenging your thoughts, b) spotting patterns and c) breaking things down into smaller pieces. It won't be easy at first, but keep going – good habits take effort but they are hard to break too!
4. Close Your Eyes
According to cognitive science, around 80% of the sensory stimulation that reaches your brain comes in straight through your eyes. Consequently, if you give yourself a chance to close your eyes then you massively reduce levels of stressful and unwanted input for your mind to sort through.
Some people even say that they benefit so much from closing their eyes that they ensure 9 hours of shut-eye each night—even if they’re not sleeping during some of that time.
5. Stretch Like A Monkey
The “monkey stretch” is particularly good for banishing stress associated with anxiety or nervousness. So if you’re feeling awful because you’re afraid to go for an interview, speak in front of an audience or face a phobia, this exercise is well worth your time.
Just start by extending your arms in front of you, then bring them down. Next, bring your extended arms to your sides, then down. Finally, bring those arms up past your hands and then swoop your whole body down so your head is between your knees. Hold that pose for a second, then straighten up and notice the difference in physical tension levels.
6. Give Yourself A Hug
You might think it’s sounds silly to hug yourself, but consider that being hugged is proven to do everything from lowering heart disease to reducing fatigue, improving immune system function and counteracting some of the key symptoms of depression.
If you’re stressed out and don’t have someone nearby to give you a hug, squeeze your belly and back at the same time to create a sense of being held. This has an immediately soothing influence.
7. Push Against The Wall
This is another straightforward technique—push forward against a wall, with your feet flat on the ground and your palms flat against the wall. Hold this pose for 5-10 seconds, and be aware of how immediately stabilizing it is.
8. Adopt The Superman Pose
Lie down on your stomach, extend your arms directly out in front of you and your legs directly behind you (so your whole body is in a straight line). If you stay in this shape for just ten seconds, you’ll find that it refocuses your mind and can also help you to feel more alert. However, it’s not overstimulating—many people report a calm sense of clarity after doing this exercise a couple of times.
9. Practice Mindful Sighing
You’ve probably heard about mindful breathing, but mindful sighing hasn’t gained as much coverage as it deserves.
This calm-inducing technique simply involves breathing in for five seconds, then letting out that breath in a very loud sigh. Not only does this reportedly help to cut down stress levels, but it is also said to boost energy and enhance your ability to focus during a long and tiring day.
Finally, in the animal kingdom it’s surprisingly commonplace to respond to stress by shaking. Rather than increasing levels of fear, this type of bodily movement actually helps the animal “shake off” their panic after a moment of being frozen (e.g. when faced with a predator).
Try it for yourself and see if it works—some people do it for up to 15 minutes, but you might see benefits in even less time.