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November 16, 2017
5 Quick Ways to Reduce Your Stress

We all have stress. It is an everyday reality that many of us live with. Whether it be due to a mentally taxing schedule, physically demanding job, or getting stuck in rush hour traffic, many individuals feel like their stress is an opponent that they battle with just to get through their day.

                While methods like a day trip to the spa, a relaxing hour long yoga or meditation session, or better, a week-long vacation to Hawaii, would all be excellent stress relievers, many of us just don’t have the time during the work week to throw in the towel and board a plane or book a spontaneous massage. What if there were a few “quick fix” stress relief techniques we could employ, that could help before that big meeting, or important presentation? Well, it turns out there are!

                Numerous scientists and researchers across the country are focusing their studies on helping individuals build resiliency against stress, and quick coping mechanisms to combat acute stress are a great way to start.

  1. 1.      Drink a big glass of water

Research has shown an association with dehydration and cognition and mood. Dehydration can also influence tiredness, irritability and difficulty concentrating. So, drink a large glass of water, and notice the improvement. If you are dehydrated, you can notice an improvement in your mood in under 30 seconds.

  1. 2.      Go outside

Bright light is associated with serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that makes us happy.  It is important that the light hits the retina of the eye, this has nothing to do with light hitting the skin. 10-20 minutes of exposure daily is an adequate duration for the necessary serotonin production. Being in nature can also increase serotonin production as well!

  1. 3.      10 minute speed walk

               Acute stress reduction can be greatly improved by 5-10 minutes of exercise. Studies have shown that with sudden onsets of anxiety, a quick walk or run can be helpful. This can also aid in boosting energy, so if an individual struggles with afternoon fatigue, a brisk aerobic walk or jog can be very helpful.

  1. 4.      Have “a good cry.”

Well what is “A good cry?” This is a cry lasting anywhere from 1-5 minutes in length to begin. This requires releasing painful emotions, which in turn releases the stress hormone cortisol. You will feel better after, and the painful emotions will be gone by up to 40%.

  1. 5.      Breathe Deeply

                Diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, which is a slow inhale, and a long extended exhale can also decrease stress. Try 5 deep breaths in a quiet place. This can help reduce acute stress quickly. Other relaxation techniques and meditation can be effective in reducing stress.

 

                Now that we have discussed 5 easy ways to combat stress in the moment, you are ready to give them a try. Arm yourself with these tools to fight against acute stress, so that in a moment of weakness or high stress, you can be the master of your body and your emotions.

 

References:

Preston, J. D. (2016, April). The Habits of Stress-Resilient People. Paper presented at Institute for Brain Potential: The Habits of Stress-Resilient People, Lynnwood, WA.

Written by Andy Miller

 
 

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