Relieving stress doesn’t have to be a complicated or time-intensive process. There are many quick and easy ways to help you relax and let go of tension. And as an extra bonus, they can often be a lot of fun.
1. WATCH A GOOFY VIDEO.
Are you getting stalled on a big project? Watching a short, silly video may be just what you need to recharge. Humor is shown to help counteract the effects of mental stress, as well as increase productivity. For example, one study found that after watching a funny video clip, people spent twice as long on a tedious task compared to those who hadn’t watched the video.
2. DRINK A CUP OF GREEN TEA.
An amino acid found in green tea can reduce your body’s stress response when faced with a difficult situation. Researchers believe green tea may act on your nervous system to produce this calming effect.
3. SNIFF AN ORANGE.
A 2012 study found that inhaling the scent of an orange can significantly reduce your stress levels. You can try orange essential oil to relieve tension, or simply slice open a fresh orange and enjoy the scent. Researchers used the essential oil of Citrus sinensis, which is the regular sweet or navel orange that is widely available fresh and used for juice.
4. SQUEEZE A STRESS BALL.
Any repetitive movement, such as walking, bouncing a ball, drawing and coloring, knitting, or riding a bike, can help you relax. The repetition allows your mind to focus on the activity rather than any stressful thoughts or worries.
5. TAKE A WALK IN THE SUN.
The stress-reducing effects of exercise are well recognized, but research shows the benefits are increased if you exercise under bright light. A Finnish study compared people who exercised indoors 2-3 times weekly under regular or bright lights. Those who exercised under bright lights had better mental health, vitality and social functioning, as well as reduced carbohydrate cravings, weight gain and appetite.
6. SOLVE A PUZZLE.
Concentrating on a mental task like solving a crossword puzzle is great for relaxation. It engages the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which appears to help your body regulate anxiety levels during stressful times. Try a book of Sudoku or word search puzzles, or check out various games online.
7. LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE SONG.
An Australian study found that listening to music while you’re doing something difficult can help calm your body’s stress responses, including lowering anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone levels.
8. STRETCH IT OUT.
If you find yourself fidgeting in your office chair or rubbing your shoulders, it might be a good time to stop for a quick stretch break. Participants in a University of Kentucky study reported feeling happier and less tense following a short stretching routine. Try some of these simple stretches for starters.
9. GIVE YOUR HAND A MASSAGE.
You don’t need a full-body massage to beat stress. A hand massage is shown to increase relaxation and reduce anxiety. If you receive a hand massage from another person, it can also improve communication and affection between the two of you. Exchanging hand massages with a friend is a great option, but PopSugar also describes how you can easily give yourself a hand massage.
10. BREATHE DEEPLY.
This is likely the easiest technique you can do. Simply taking a few deep breaths has been shown to slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormone levels. The trick is to make sure you breathe into your tummy and lower abdomen. This allows your lungs to fill completely, bringing more oxygen into your body.
11. SNUGGLE YOUR PET.
Most pet owners would agree that spending time with your pet is a great stress reliever. Dogs, cats and other huggable pets are favorites as relaxing companions, but even having an aquarium has been shown to reduce stress. Pets are also proven to boost your overall health and well-being, so make sure to include a furry, fishy or other animal friend in your relaxation routines.