Relaxing just got easier
We all face stressful situations from time to time, and it is important to accept the fact that stress can never be completely eliminated. However, there are several simple, and rather interesting, ways to prevent stress before it gets out of hand.
Exercise. Laugh. Meditate. Deep-breathe. There are hundreds of well-known ways that supposedly minimize stress. However, everyone reacts to stress differently and thus must take different measures to prevent anxiety. If these common stress-relieving techniques alone have not worked for you, you might be in luck. There are several off-the-wall stress-relieving mechanisms that just might be your ticket to a more peaceful life.
The power of green nail polish
OK, so it doesn’t really have to be green, but it sure sounds more compelling. One unique way to reduce stress is to place a dot of nail polish on your cell phone, reminding you to slow down and relax before answering your phone. Not only will this likely make you chuckle and allow you to take a deep breath, but it will make you sound more confident when you do pick up the phone. Likewise, the knowledge that you sounded confident will further reduce your stress. This is a win-win!
Wear a rubber band around your wrist
It’s the latest fashion trend! Well, maybe not, but it can reduce stress. Similar to training a dog, you can actually train yourself to feel stressed less often via operant conditioning. Let me explain. Every time you are feeling stressed, lightly snap the rubber band around your arm. Eventually, you will theoretically associate feelings of stress with a pinch, and you may subconsciously strive to avoid the feeling. Some people might say this one is a stretch (pun intended), but it has a solid rationale behind it. Psychologist B. F. Skinner developed operant conditioning by first testing the theory on rats. He would place a rat in a box, and if the rat accidentally nudged a lever within the box, he would be rewarded with a treat. Eventually, he would intentionally nudge the lever. In this instance of reducing stress via a rubber band snatch, punishment is used instead of reinforcement, so the idea is that we withdraw from a behavior or emotion in order to avoid an unpleasant stimulus.
Orange you glad you’re not stressed anymore?
Not only is orange juice delicious and nutritious, but it can actually make you feel less anxious. According to WebMD, food and drink high in Vitamin C, such as orange juice, physiologically reduces stress by lowering levels of stress hormones, including cortisol. Two glasses per day should do the trick.
The advantages of chewing gum are endless. Not only does it freshen breath and reduce snacking, but chewing gum can also reduce anxiety and depression. In a 2008 study conducted by Andrew Scholey, Ph.D., participants who regularly chewed gum demonstrated lower levels of anxiety, increased alertness, reduced stress and improvement with multi-tasking. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be picking up some Wrigley’s tomorrow.
Become an artist
You don’t have to be as talented as Leonardo da Vinci to benefit from arts and crafts. Art and music therapy are proven methods often used to relieve stress because the activity takes your mind off whatever it is that is stressing you and promotes relaxation. Even when you have completed the session, you will likely return to your daily life with less stress and a clearer mind than before you created your masterpiece.
Can sex help you feel less stressed? According to psychologist Simon Rego, it most definitely can. He states that sex is a wonderful combination of many factors, including the release of endorphins and social connection, that result in stress relief. Although it may not be able to get rid of whatever you are actually stressing about, it definitely improves your attitude about it.
Inflate a balloon
Not only will this probably make you smile a bit, which is also known to reduce stress, but inflating a balloon forces you to deep-breathe. So next time you go to your office, place a few balloons in your drawer and remind yourself to blow one up whenever you are beginning to feel stressed. And when people laugh at you, just know you are also helping them reduce stress by making them chuckle.
Grab some oatmeal
We all know oatmeal is great for you because it is full of whole grains and lowers cholesterol, but did you know it can also be good for you mentally? The magnesium and potassium in the breakfast snack can actually lower blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed. In addition, regular oatmeal consumption can boost your serotonin levels, which is a hormone that contributes to your overall happiness.
Laugh it up
Although it is pretty obvious that if you are having a serious laugh, you are probably enjoying the moment and not stressed at the time. However, it turns out laughing also does things to your body that can reduce stress more long term. It reduces cortisol levels and releases endorphins, so your outlook on things that were previously stressing you can tremendously improve, even after what you laughed at is gone.
Get a furry friend
Not only are pets fun to have around, but according to PubMed, owning a pet can increase a person's health in many arenas. Studies have shown that dog owners are much less stressed than those who do not own a dog. It is theorized that receiving the unconditional love of an animal plays a big part in their ability to make their owners happy.
Time to grab a glass of orange juice and oatmeal, and imagine a more peaceful life!
More on preventing stress
The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of SheKnows, LLC or any of its affiliates and they have not been reviewed by an expert in a related field or any member of the SheKnows editorial staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on the Site are not a substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on SheKnows. SheKnows does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.