10 Ways to Instantly (well, almost instantly) De-Stress

Take-Walk-Before-Dinner-150x150 These are so simple, you have probably thought of them yourself – or maybe you have just temporarily forgotten them. Sometimes you have to be reminded of the most basic things. If it helps, we suggest set a reminder in your phone calendar, to prompt you.

“#1 Take a Walk – The easiest way to to beat stress is to walk away from the immediate source. Even if you have only 5 minutes to spare, get up and take a quick stroll to gather your thoughts, get your blood flowing and release mind-boosting endorphins.

#2 Meditate – Just 5 minutes of meditating will lower your heart rate and blood pressure and relax your muscles. Then focus on one thing – your breathing, a picture in your head or repeating a mantra. Still having trouble? Follow an app, like iMindfulness, to keep you on track.

#3 Pour Some Tea – Decaffeinated green tea is soothing because it contains theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation. Avoid caffeinated versions because they can worsen stress.

#4 Take Deep Breaths – Only have 1 minute? Stop whatever you’re doing, close your eyes and focus on your breath as it goes in and out.

#5 Make a To-Do List – Running down a long list of deadlines in your head is the worst thing you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Instead, choose the 3 most important tasks and jot them down. Work on one at a time and check them off as you go. If you have time leftover, plop down a few more and keep going.

#6 Pick Up a Trashy Novel – OK, well it doesn’t have to be trashy. Reading any type of fiction will take your mind away from the present and essentially allow you to enter a new world. Sometimes, a little distraction is all you need.

#7 Get in Some Pet Time – A study done by the University of Buffalo found that subjects who spent time with a cat or dog during times of high stress (the subjects were stockbrokers, go figure), their blood pressure was lowered. So grab your pet and get in some quick cuddle time. Don’t have a furry friend of your own? Take a trip to the local shelter.

#8 Light a Lavender Candle – Light a lavender candle right before bed to help relax and clear your mind. A study by researchers at the University of Miami followed brain activity with an EEG machine, finding that those who were subjected to lavender aromatherapy showed brainwaves associated with drowsiness. The subjects also felt less depressed and had a mood boost.

#9 Eat Chocolate – When you’re stressed, you have low serotonin, a brain chemical that controls calmness. Sweet and starchy food, such as chocolate, pretzels, and ice cream, actually boost serotonin levels which in turn relaxes the body. A trial published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks helps to reduce levels of stress hormones.

#10 Listen to Music – A 2010 study at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that subjects who listened to their favorite music had better circulation as a result. Their blood vessels actually opened wider – slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, relaxing muscles and creating an overall feeling of relaxation. Interesting word of advice: no matter how much you love a song, don’t put it on repeat. The doctors claimed that listening to the same song over and over will decrease the effects.”

-Reprinted from Daily Makeover

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