Everyone is bound to feel some sort of stress at any point in time — it may be a pressing deadline, bad news from a family member, or an upcoming exam that stresses you out. Though a good amount of stress will motivate you to get the job done or push you to improve yourself; when stress levels go way up by a whole lot, it may be detrimental to your health. Stress levels vary all the time depending on the situation you are in, and if you are one who often experience high-stress levels such that it disrupts your usual routine and debilitates your productivity levels, we’ve got you. Here are some ways that you can reduce your stress levels when they are getting out of hand.
1. Go for a walk
Getting your body up and going helps to clear your mind and release endorphins that may dramatically reduce your stress levels. We recommend walking through a park with lots of greenery, as green space has been scientifically proven to help your body and mind ease into a state of meditation, giving you the peace and calm mind to reflect and de-stress. You can consider going for a 10-minute stroll — a walk long enough to get your mind off your incredibly difficult project that you’re working on while short enough to give you time to get back to it right after. And for those with tense muscles, you can opt for relaxing massages by Wade The Massage Guy to destress every now and then.
2. Inhale, exhale
Taking time to focus on breathing and slowing down your heart rate will help condition your mind into thinking that you are relaxed. Simple breathing exercises or just simply taking a few deep mindful breaths will lower your stress levels due to the increase in oxygen in your bloodstream. On the other hand, shallow or fast breathing puts your mind into a state of ‘danger’ where it can trigger an influx of stress hormones. An extremely easy way to make you feel more relaxed, it is highly effective if you repeat your breathing exercises for about five to six times.
The power of the mind is simply remarkable as it can greatly affect your overall mood and stress levels. According to the National Institutes for Health, visualization or “guided imagery” plays a large role in helping you become more relaxed. Find a quiet spot around the house or wherever you are and close your eyes. Picture a place that you feel the most relaxed at — it could be a green pasture, at the beach, or simply just on your bed. Focus on the sights and smells that you might expect at your happy place, with the main intention of forcing your mind to think of something else. Visualization can also manifest in the form of completing the task that you are stressing over well, or simply standing beside your favorite Kpop bias. Regardless of where you choose to bring your mind to, make sure that these thoughts make you happy and at ease.
4. Munch on your favorite snack
The association between the gut and mind is huge — a healthy stomach makes a happy person. Pick up your favorite snack and get away from your workplace — it could be a healthy banana, a nice cup of yogurt, or something plain sinful like a bag of sea salt chips. The worst thing on top of being stressed out is to have an empty stomach! While you are eating, you should focus on your stimulated taste buds and meditate on how it tastes, how it feels on your tongue, and most importantly, how it makes you feel. Stress-eating can be helpful as long as you have your snacks in moderation.
5. Purchase a plant
Though it may seem like nothing, getting a plant and placing it beside you has been proven to have a relaxing effect on people’s overall moods. A study done by Washington State University has found that a group of people who entered a room filled with plants saw a significant drop in their blood pressure. Not only do they act as stress relievers, but they also add a touch of color to your room as well!
6. Cozy up with your partner
While getting intimate with your significant other may be the last thing that you want to do when you are rushing an assignment, doing so has been proven as an effective way to release endorphins into your bloodstream and reduce stress levels. According to a study done by Northwestern University on 2000 couples, results have shown that those who had intercourse with their partners were eight times less likely to report signs of depression and chronic stress. The next time you’re feeling suffocated by your mountain of work waiting for you at your desk, sparing some minutes with your partner may incredibly help to reduce tension.
7. Plug your earphones in
Tuning in to your favorite song or band has been statistically proven to flood your mind with happy hormones like dopamine. Though classical music is traditionally the best at soothing by slowing down the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, any form of music that you enjoy will help to reduce stress. If you do not have your earphones with you, simply humming to a tune or making up a melody has the same effects as well.
8. Get away from your computer screen
Studies have shown that prolonged computer use has detrimental effects on stress levels, sleep cycles, and moods, especially in women, according to a study. Even if it is just a 10-minute break away from your screen to munch on a snack or to look out the window, they do have soothing effects on your mind and stress levels. Incorporate short breaks in between your long study sessions to prevent soaring stress levels, and be sure to switch off your electronics at least an hour before you go to bed to prevent insomnia.
Stress levels can greatly affect your productivity levels and of course your general mood when they increase above a certain level. Hence, it is extremely essential for you to learn how to manage your stress to prevent a burn out from happening. These simple ways that only require about 10 minutes of your time can help to significantly reduce tension in your body, helping you stay focused and motivated to complete your task at hand. Incorporating some of these will help you stay more relaxed, and help you be more productive.