6. Deep Breathing
Take couple of deep breaths whenever you feel under stress. This is an instant stress reliever. Deep breathing is simple but potent technique when it comes to relaxation. This relaxation technique reduces the blood pressure, slows down the heart rate, oxygenates your blood, clears your mind, and helps center your body. More oxygen while breathing deeply means less anxiety and stress.
The Stress and Coherence has published a 2007 study which claims that regular practice of deep breathing quickly and significantly lowers the stress levels. The Spanish journal Revista de enfermería has published another 2010 study according to which controlled breathing therapy lowers the levels of cortisol in our body. What’s more, deep breathing diverts your attention, providing you rest from your concerns. This makes it work as mediation.
- Sit in a straight position with closed eyes. Put one hand on your stomach and start inhaling through your nose slowly to feel the breath filling your abdominal area. Hold in this position for 5 seconds, and then do the same thing as you exhale through your mouth. Continue doing this for 5-10 minutes. You can try breathing from your stomach while in a lying position, as sitting one is more difficult for this type of breathing exercise.
7. Mindfulness Meditation
The old relaxation technique called meditation can as well help you release your stress and anxiety. It controls the stress by lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Mindfulness meditation is beneficial in so many ways when it comes to dealing psychological stress. It involves comfortable sitting position and breathing in a way to focus your mind on the present moment, without drifting into past or future concerns (2).
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has published a 2013 study which shows this mediation is beneficial in reducing the symptoms in generalized anxiety disorder, as well as improving the coping of stress investigated in lab stress challenge.
The same year, the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand has published another study which suggests that mindfulness meditation reduces the levels of stress hormone in the blood, pointing to the fact that it can reduce stress as well as the risk of stress-related diseases like peptic ulcers, psychiatric disorders, and migraines. JAMA Internal Medicine has published a 2014 study which shows that mindfulness meditation can ease depression, anxiety, pain, and other psychological stresses.
A great and quick way to decrease your stress is laughing. Not only that it will lighten your mood, but a good sense of humor will also cause physical changes in your body. Laughing improves the intake of air rich in oxygen, and increases the number of the brain-released endorphins that reduce the levels of cortisol and adrenaline (stress-causing hormones), thus improving your mood. It also helps lower the physical symptoms of stress and cool down the stress response.
The American Journal of the Medical Sciences has published a study which suggests that a short mirthful laughter will lower serum levels of epinephrine, dopac, cortisol, and growth hormone. In 2008, the American Physiological Society has conducted a study which shows that experiencing a mirthful laughter stimulates the health-protecting hormones, and lowers potentially hazardous stress hormones.
So, whenever you feel under stress, watch a funny video or movie, chat with someone with a good sense of humor, or read the comics.
Massage is one of the best ways to relieve and prevent stress. You can give yourself a nice massage that involves rubbing, pressing, and manipulating your skin, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This massage is part of the alternative and complementary medicine treatment for lowering pain, stress, and muscle tension. What’s more, massage helps falling asleep, something which can be very difficult when a person is under stress.
The International Journal of Neuroscience has published a 2005 study according to which massage is beneficial in reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, and increasing the levels of the serotonin and dopamine- the happy hormones.
In 2010, the Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic & Clinical has published a study which proves that a 5-minute touch massage is helpful in lowering the stress response of your body. You can do quick massage between tasks, or a nice foot massage before bedtime to help your relax. Another way is to consult a professional massage therapist.
10. Walking Breaks
A short walk of even 10 minutes can boost your endorphins which in turn will lower stress hormones and release mild depression. This rhythmic exercise engages not only your legs, but also your arms. If performed mindfully, it relieves stress. In order to achieve that, you should fully concentrate on the present and on your body, instead of your thoughts. Focus on the sensation in your arms and legs, and your breathing as you move.
You should breathe deeply in your walking break, and try to choose a natural surrounding like a park. Nature calms the body and mind, and plus, the sun will provide you with vitamin D. You can call a close person at the end of the walk. Their reassuring voice will additionally calm you down.