Although the cause of our stress can differ, it's something almost all working professionals suffer from now and again. But stress doesn't have to derail your day. Here are ten simple ways to stop those feelings of anxiety and pressure the moment they start.
When your brain starts buzzing, meditation can be just the medicine you need to silence those pestering thoughts. When we are stressed, our minds can become overwhelmed as we run through our to-do list, try to tackle the task at hand, and predict forthcomings. When you feel like you can't think straight, take a time out rather than freak out. If the idea of meditating (especially at work) sounds laughable, let it be said that meditation doesn't have to consist of sitting Indian style and humming. Just closing your eyes, concentrating on your breathing and being focused on your current state (not what's going on in your head) for a few minutes can do the trick. For newbies an app like Headspace can help you get the hang of getting Zen.
2) Drink tea
Stress is usually a byproduct of too much work, and when we have a lot on our plate caffeine seems to be the best answer. Rather than reach for that cup of coffee though try sipping on green tea instead. Fused with about half the caffeine of an average cup of joe, green tea also contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which is linked to the reduction of stress and anxiety. You may need a bit more to get that caffeine buzz you crave, but the health benefits long outweigh the hassle of steeping a second cup.
3) Listen to music
Seeking calm from music is well worth the try. Since music is able to effect our emotions, it is a promising tool for warding off stress. Classical music is the genre most noted for its soothing powers, but if your preference leans more towards hip hop or country there's no harm in putting on what you like. The goal is to listen to something that relaxes you, so the type of music is less important than the way it makes you feel.
4) Go for a walk
Emerging in nature while also partaking in light, physical activity can significantly reduce stress levels. The reason a walk outdoors is so effective is it combines two positive things that promote tranquility and balance mood. Walking in general is helpful at reducing tension and stress, and when you throw in the calming powers of nature you have yourself an all around great stress buster.
Writing our feelings down on paper allows us to acknowledge the core causes of our stress and address them in a productive way. Sometimes we can't pinpoint the root of our emotions. We're feeling upset or aggravated but aren't sure why. Journaling calls on us to dig deeper, finding where our stress started and how it escalated. Just like talking about our problems makes us feel better, jotting them down is equally as effective and doesn't require an audience filter.
6) Use aromatherapy
Different scents dictate different moods. Next time you experience feelings of woe or worry, rub a drop of essential oil on your temples or plug in a diffuser. Not sure which aromatherapy will work best? Rose and geranium are both great scents for relieving stress, while sandalwood and myrrh help to reduce anxiety by promoting peace of mind.
7) Laugh it off
Stress can seem serious but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes lightening the mood can help us to realize our problems are much smaller than we really think. Do something that makes you laugh, like watching a funny YouTube video. A little laughter will take your mind off the problem at hand, and also has an instant physical response that makes us feel better.
8) Breathe deep
Simply slowing your breath can dramatically improve your mood and clarity. There are many different exercises you can try, ranging from beginner basics to more advanced techniques. Start slow and find a rhythm that works for you. Breathing exercises can be done anytime and anywhere, offering a foolproof and affordable way to fight stress.
9) Call your mom
When a stressful event occurs you might feel like running away and hiding but talking out what occurred can be a great solution-and who better to help than mom? Even if your parents live in another state, a simple phone call can have a similar effect as a warm hug. A study found that dialing up mom can drop stress hormones and release oxytocin, a chemical in our brain that stirs up good feelings.
10) Think positive thoughts
Stress can drag us down a dark tunnel where we start feeling helpless and negative. Try flipping the switch before you get too deep by making an active effort to think positive thoughts. Depending on what kind of down self-talk you're having, find a way to make it constructive and optimistic. For example, if you find yourself pointing out your flaws, instead focus on ways to improve and the good qualities you do possess.