Are you feeling stressed? You’re not alone. Statistics indicate that upward of 70% of people regularly experience psychological and physical symptoms caused by stress. Read on to learn important coping tools that can help you to decrease your stress levels almost immediately, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
The Physical Effects of Stress
When we think of stress, we tend to think of the key emotions associated with it: such as tension, powerlessness, and anger or irritability. What we often pay less attention to the direct impact of stress on physical wellbeing. Stress triggers a “fight or flight” response, causing the same physical responses in your body—like a heightened heart and shifts in hormone and brain chemical levels—as if you were being chased by a dangerous predator.
When Usual Stress Management Methods Don’t Work…
If you regularly experience stress, you may have certain tricks you use to relive it. Some of the most popular tools people use to combat anxiety include…
- Spending time with friends
- Taking a bath
Although these methods can be quite effective, they can’t be put into practice in every situations where stress may arise, such as at a large family function or in the workplace. You can complement your long-term stress management techniques with these in-the-moment ways to deescalate your anxiety.
To Alleviate Anxiety, Reconnect With Your Body
If you need to quickly alleviate anxiety or even depression, these five techniques will help you to reconnect with your body and improve your mental wellbeing. According to the U.K.’s National Health Services, the best way to counteract stress is to pay more attention to the present moment, to your body, and the sensations it experiences.
Try to simple appreciate the physical sensations of being in your body, and draw your thoughts back to the here and now. One way to do this can be to try to describe something, like a smell in the air. In this instance, you would want to avoid thoughts like whether you like or dislike the smell, and focus on its specific qualities instead.
5 Ways to Instantly Reduce Your Stress
Here are 5 ways you can calm your body and decrease your stress:
- Carry a small stone with you. When you feel anxious, hold it in your palm, or run your fingers across it. You can also try turning it over in your palm in time with your inhalations and exhalations.
- Count the number of colors in your immediate vicinity. You can also count categories of things (like windows) or shapes (like circles).
- Try to identify the loudest sound in your environment. Then, try to identify the quietest.
- If you can, make yourself a cup of tea or another type of beverage. This can help you tap into your sense of taste as smell. If you focus on the feeling of the liquid as it goes into your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach, you can engage your sense of touch, too.
- Again, if you can, walk to another location. Even a short walk, to the bathroom, for instance, can help increase your awareness of your entire body. Washing your hands with soap and drying them will tap into your sense of touch and smell specifically.
These techniques work by using physical cues to activate the 5 broadest senses we use to perceive the world around us: touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. There are, of course, many ways to activate those senses. Experiment on your own to see what works best for you.