It is crucial to our mental health, decision-making processes, and life to find ways to manage and reduce stress, Reader’s Digest reports. Below are 15 ways to reduce your stress in five seconds.
- Take a deep breath
Stress often affects our breathing by shortening it and making it more shallow. Reduce your stress by paying attention to your breathing pattern. Concentrate on taking deep, full breaths. This will help calm down your body and make you feel more in control.
- Check your thoughts
Reframing thoughts is a powerful way to address a situation and stop your stress in its tracks. Instead of going down a dangerous rabbit hole, redirect your thoughts onto a more positive track.
Stress relief expert Lauren E. Miller said, “By your choice of perspective, you direct how your body will respond – in fight or flight, or in creative choices and solution-based responses.”
PsyD Deborah Serani also urges you to stop thinking about why something is happening, and instead thinking about what you can do to fix it and achieve positive results.
“Asking ‘why’ pitches you into an endless loop of questions, whereas asking ‘what’ sets you into problem-solving mode,” Serani said.
- Say a mantra
Picking a mantra that brings you strength, calmness, and confidence, is another way to manage your stress and redirect your thoughts in a positive way. Mantra repetition often works as a type of meditation.
Author Carol Whitaker said, “Think positively about releases what is bothering you by repeating a positive mantra that uplifts you such as, ‘I am at peace,’ ‘All is well,’ ‘I choose to think thoughts that serve me,’ or ‘I love and believe in myself fully.’”
- Say thank you
Expressing gratitude help you keep track of the good things in your life, even in the most stressful moments. Gratitude cultivates positivity and optimism.
Serani said, “Gratitude research reports that those who utilize daily gratitude reflections have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress.”
- Find a happy place
When you’re feeling stressed, pause and think about a place where you felt calm, happy, and relaxed. Carefully consider the details of the place and what about it made you feel happy. Reminding yourself of the details will help curb your stress.
- Correct your posture
Bad posture is a sign of stress. It is indicative of being literally weighed down by worry.
“People who are overly stressed often display their worries in their body carriage,” Whitaker said. “Those who are weighed down with stress commonly have a poor posture or struggle with aches and pains in their body. They often slouch when sitting or concave their body inwards with rounded shoulders as they go about their business under the weight of the burdens they carry.”
Take a moment to correct your posture when you feel stressed. This will help open up your body and decrease your stress.
- Strike a pose
Yoga is an excellent stress reducer and even a quick pose can help curb your stress. Look up some quick, easy poses that you could do when presented with a stressful situation. These poses will help with blood flow and heart rate.
- Get some air
Going outside is a tried and true way to manage stress. The sun and fresh air are both immediate mood lifters. If you’re feeling stressed, take a quick step outside, go on a brief walk, or just open the window.
- Unclench your muscles
Our bodies tense without us realizing when we are stressed. Especially if our stress is persistent and we are not managing it well. Pay attention to your body and actively take time to relax each part of it.
“The Instant Relaxation Technique is a deliberate tightening of the entire body, starting from the toes to the head region, and letting it go instantly,” yoga therapist Savita Joshi said. “This is an effective way to become self-aware of our muscles and letting go of stress very quickly.”
- Use physical pressure to ease mental pressure
Learn some self-massage techniques to help calm your body and soothe your mental state. Massage is a proven way to reduce stress, but you don’t have to go to a professional.
Research some techniques to massage your foot, head, neck, or shoulders – common areas where we store stress that are easy to self-massage.
- Sound it out
Take another leaf out of the yogi book and say “om” to yourself when you’re stressed. The vibrations send waves through your body that relax your nervous system.
- Shake it off
Release tension from your body by standing up and shaking. In some African cultures, shaking therapy is quite common and is seen as a way to physically shake your emotional fear, stress, worry, etc. away.
- Look in the mirror
Give yourself a pep talk while looking at yourself in the mirror! Be kind to yourself by providing positive affirmations aloud. This is a way to boost your mood and practice self-love.
- Write it down
Often our thoughts race when we’re stressed, which makes us feel more out of control and thus more stressed. Write things down to help you organize your thoughts, process your emotions, and determine actions to take to reduce the stress.
- Use all your senses
Reduce stress by finding something to uplift each sense. Listen to a song that makes you happy, light a candle that makes you feel relaxed, chew gum, etc. Concentrating on your senses in a positive way will help reduce stress.