6. Go for a walk
Exercise or walking is a great way to manage stress. First, it lets you escape the situation. Second, exercise helps your body release endorphins, the neurotransmitters that make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Think of walking as moving meditation. A few laps around the block can help you forget previous tension and relax so you return to the situation calmer and more collected.
7. Memorize this yoga routine
Yoga isn’t only a popular exercise for all ages, but it’s also gaining traction for decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression. According to
A simple routine can help lower your cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. One of our favorite 10-minute routines is by Tara Stiles. This routine starts off with a lot of relaxing swaying.
8. Intervene with mindfulness-based, stress-reduction techniques
Sometimes stress can cause your mind to spiral and lead you down an unnecessary rabbit hole of negative thoughts. One way of escaping that spiral is to anchor yourself to the present and focus on immediate results you can achieve.
Methods to try
- Close your eyes and scan your body. Pay attention to the physical feelings.
- Sit and meditate by paying attention to your breathing, sounds, sensations, and emotions. Let them pass through you.
- Change up your movement by taking a walk or standing up.
- Give full attention to small daily activities, like drinking water, eating, or brushing your teeth.
9. Write it out
Writing out what you’re stressed about can help you focus your thoughts on the positive or ways to tackle the negative.
Write away the stress
- Try the “so what?” exercise by asking yourself that question until it reveals something about yourself.
- See if there are any exceptions to your concerns.
- Keep a journal to track your changes and learnings.
Treat this method of writing it out as a way of taking notes without derailing your whole workday. Keep these notes on hand to check for patterns to see if there’s a deeper reason behind your stress.
10. Try 4-7-8 breathing
The 4-7-8 breathing method is a powerful trick that gives your body an extra boost of oxygen. Deep breathing is an effective way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
To do this: Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and keep it there the whole time.
One cycle of 4-7-8 breathing
- Part your lips slightly and exhale with a whooshing sound through your mouth.
- Close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale (with a whoosh sound) for 8 seconds.
- Practice this mindlessly to let your brain relax.
- Complete this cycle for four full breaths.
11. Try the emotional freedom technique (EFT)
Tapping or psychological acupressure is a specific methodic sequence that involves tapping specific meridian points (areas of the body energy flows through, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) and reciting setup phrases that will help you acknowledge issues and accept yourself.
EFT in 5 steps
- Identify what’s causing you stress.
- On a scale of 0 to 10, write down how intense the issue is (10 being the highest).
- Create a setup phrase that addresses your problem. For example: “Even though I’m stressed about this deadline, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- Tap on the nine meridian points (eyebrow, side of eyes, under eyes, under nose, chin, start of collarbone, and under arm) seven times. Repeat the phrase with each tapping point. Do this sequence two to three times.
- Rate your final intensity to see if your stress level has gone down to 0. If not, repeat.
12. Talk in third person
Whether it’s to yourself or with a friend, talking can help tamper down your stress level. Yep, talking to yourself or about yourself in third person is a form of exerting self-control over negative emotions.
According to researchers, “Referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others.”
Doing this can help you distance yourself from the experience or situation. The best part, though? It requires less effort.
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13. Exercise, but make it daily
We mentioned walking earlier, but that was just a quick break. Routine exercise can help improve the way your body uses oxygen and helps you cope with stressful situations. The benefits of working out build up over time. You may be able to feel the difference as you stick to your routine.
It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
14. Take a hot bath
The answer to washing away a day of stress may be in your bathroom. Hot water is known to help release endorphins and increase blood flow to the skin. Warm baths can also:
- improve breathing
- reduce risk of heart attack
- lower blood pressure
- burn calories
For folks living with chronic pain, hot baths can also help keep muscles loose and reduce flare-ups.
15. Clean your room, desk, or dishes
Besides removing clutter and giving you relief from a crowded space, cleaning is an effective mindfulness practice. One study found that students who washed dishes had greater states of mindfulness and positive moods.
If you don’t have time to clean thoroughly, take this opportunity to organize items or tackle one cleaning task at a time. For example, if you have a load of laundry, use each washing and drying load to time your breaks.
16. Talk it out or reach out to friends
Social support is an extremely effective way to relieve stress. Ask a friend or co-worker to be a sounding board as you talk out your issues.
Sometimes the case with stressful situations is that you’re trying to find a problem or a connection when there isn’t one. An outsider’s perspective may help you see that more clearly.
If you do reach out to a friend, be sure to express your thanks and return the favor when they ask!
17. Foam roll out the tension
Sometimes stress becomes physical: It can cause your muscles to knot up. These knots can develop in very specific places that build up over time, which you can’t easily unwind via exercise or self-massage. That’s where foam rolling steps in.
Foam rolling adds pressure to those trigger points, signaling your body to increase blood flow to that area and for your muscle to relax. A full-body routine can help promote relaxation the way getting a massage will. Try eight moves here.
Invisible stress is real, and it can build up into chronic stress. Sometimes we don’t notice it because it’s been there the whole time, like a freckle or mole. However, changing freckles or moles are something you want to take the time to check out, right? Stress is the same.
If you notice a change in your patience or find yourself more easily triggered by slight noises or simple mistakes, consider whether you need to take a break and calm your mind, or if there’s something bigger at play. Chronic stress can increase your risk for other mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.
If these strategies aren’t giving you tools to cope, try seeking help from a professional.