An important first step in this stress relief plan is to have one or two quick stress relief strategies that can help you relax your physiology or de-stress your mind, to reverse your body's stress response so that you can think clearly and avoid the negative effects of chronic stress.
The following are some quick and effective stress relief strategies that can help you do just that: these stress relief activities, once mastered, should enable you to de-stress in under 5 minutes so that you can move on to the next steps in your stress relief strategy or immediately face the stressors at hand.
Here are several strategies to try:
Breathing ExercisesStress relief breathing is one of the most popular ways of calming down quickly for good reason: breathing exercises can be done by anyone, at any time, with little training, and at no expense! Breathing exercises can also be combined with other stress relief techniques (such as guided imagery or meditation) for added benefits and ease of use. Learn more about breathing exercises and learn a quick stress relief breathing technique.
PMRProgressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, is a technique you can learn that, with practice, enables you to completely relax all of the muscles in your body quickly, thereby releasing tension from stress. Like each of the techniques that are mentioned in this article, PMR helps you to reverse your body's stress response quickly. It can also be done at virtually any time or place, once you've learned the technique and practiced it. (It's especially useful for when you're trying to get to sleep.) Learn more about how to practice PMR.
Mini-MeditationMeditation is gaining status as a stress management mainstay because it brings so many wonderful benefits, including (after consistent practice) resilience against future stressors! Many people shy away from learning meditation because they think they don't have the ability to learn the technique or the time to practice regularly. Actually, meditation can be very simple to learn, and even 5 minutes of meditation can make a difference. Learn more about the benefits of meditation, and how to practice 5-minute meditation.
AromatherapyAs far as ease of use goes, aromatherapy is about as easy as they come! Studies show that certain types of aromatherapy can be effective for stress relief, and once you have the aromatherapy going, it's passive stress relief--you don't have to do anything except go about your regular activities as you normally would! (Combining techniques can provided added stress relief, but isn't necessary.) Learn more about the research on aromatherapy and find ways to use aromatherapy for stress relief.
Quick Burst of ExerciseExercise is an excellent stress relief technique because it's great for your whole body and brings physical benefits other than those experienced because of a reversed stress response. Exercise can provide distraction, endorphins and an outlet for frustration. Unfortunately, it's not always practical as a 'quick' stress reliever, as the full benefits of exercise are often not achieved until sustained exercise has occurred, and that can leave you sweaty; therefore, you may not use it in a class or at the office, or when you're meeting with clients and under stress. However, in situations where it can work, even a quick burst of exercise (like a quick run up several flights of stairs, or several sets of push-ups) can be useful for stress relief. (Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, of course.) Learn more about the benefits of exercise and how to use exercise for stress relief.
Have a Good LaughMaintaining a sense of humor can relieve stress in several ways. First, there are specific benefits that you get from laughter that can help you relieve stress and even stay healthier in your life. Also, laughter connects people, and social support is good for stress relief. More, it's hard to stay stressed when you're laughing. And maintaining a sense of humor reminds us that our stressors may not be as menacing as they seem, and probably have solutions, too. For these reasons, laughing in the face of stress can help you feel better in a matter of minutes. Learn more about the benefits of laughter and how to maintain a sense of humor in the face of stress.