I don’t have to go on a particular rant to stress the importance of stress reduction. Let’s just say I think that most of us know by now that there are both mental and physcial effects that can be detrimental to one’s life if their stress levels are too high. And I think that many of us have a clear understanding that if we don’t get our stress under some kind of control, it can prove disastrous.
While I’m not going to focus on getting rid of stress from a long term perspective (because that’s a novel on its own), I think it’s important to try and give some guidance on how you can reduce stress in the immediate term, as in right now.
If you’re feeling a serious bout of stress at this very moment or you have a sense that stress is coming to you soon, here are 10 real things you can do to eliminate it. Some of these are funny and some are pretty standard, but I can guarantee you that all of them work to some effect:
1. Go for a walk outside
Just get the hell out of the house, office, wherever you are. It’s important to get a change of scenery, but more importantly when you are feeling stress the simple act of refocusing helps a great deal. Refocusing is literally shifting your brain from one place to another. In other words you are essentially “tripping” the wiring in your brain to reboot it so that when it starts over, it’s in a completely different setting. The mere act of refocusing (taking a walk, being in a different room, whatever) can instantly reduce your stress.
2. Take deep breaths
In through the nose, out through the mouth. I’m no meditation guru. I don’t have a degree in Yoga. But it’s undeniable that taking deep breaths with a focus on only that, breathing, can aid in reducing stress in the immediate term. You’ll likely reduce your heart rate and that in itself will help you immensely. Give it a try. I’m not saying you need to be a yogi to do this. Just take a pause and breathe in and out for a while. Notice I’m not telling you how many breaths you need to take. Just do as many as it takes until you feel some relief.
3. Do pushups
In other words, exercise. Do something strenuous physically. Pushups are something that I tend to do. But honestly it can be anything. The evidence is irrefutable that doing exercise reduces stress. So just get out there and push yourself physically. You’ll feel better, I promise.
4. Drink 1-2 Glasses of Water
Did you know that being hydrated can reduce stress? I promise you this is true. Water is, in my opinion, the most underrated “miracle drug” on the planet. People just don’t realize how much better their body will be (physically and mentally) if they just stay hydrated.
5. Make a list of things to do to reduce stress
This is one that falls under the “refocus” category. If you’re feeling stress then get creative. Come up with a list of ways you think you might be able to reduce the stress. Simple.
6. Fix something in your house
Get your brain working in a different way. So not only are you aiding in refocusing your activities on something else, but assuming you can actually complete the job, you’re assisting yourself in achieving something which is always great for stress. Let me just point out that you should be fixing something that’s fixable and that you have the ability to fix. Otherwise you’ll be tacking on even more stress if you can’t fix the damn thing.
7. Go get a massage
In the COVID era this one’s a little more challenging but it still needs to be said. A highly qualified massage therapist can get rid of stress in as little as 20 minutes. It’s money well spent. Trust me.
8. Scream at the top of your lungs
You read that right. Screaming at the top of your lungs is one of those tension breakers that’s highly underrated. Just do it once and it doesn’t have to be for an incredibly long time. You don’t want to bust your larynx.
9. Call someone on the phone and thank them for something they did
Why not take the focus off yourself for a little while? How about focusing on someone else in your life that you’re grateful for? The act of giving a compliment will never, ever elicit a poor reaction in yourself. It’s like the saying goes, “being kind never hurt anyone.” Not only that, being kind will never hurt you. In fact it’ll always give you a nice little dopamine boost to make you feel good at that moment.
10. Hit a punching bag
Or a wall. Doesn’t matter. Just hit something, and hit it hard. Just don’t hurt yourself.
What do you do to relieve stress in the immediate term?