Unless you’re lucky enough to be living in a tiki hut on a remote island, stress likely plays some role, be it large or small, in your daily routine. While certain coping mechanisms like particular forms of exercise are known to help relieve stress, the reality is, you don’t always have time to devote to an entire stress-relieving process.
As a reaction to a situation in which a person feels threatened or anxious, stress is often characterized by physical or emotional tension, WebMD explains. Whether you’re dealing major family crises or suffering through traffic during your morning commute, here are four quick fixes to help you feel less stressed.
1. Listen to music
Listening to music is a quick fix that can help with stress relief | iStock.com
You already know throwing on your favorite tunes is a sure-fire way to get you in a mood, any mood. From baby-making slow jams to heart-thumping beats during spin class, there’s a genre for everyone, and everything — including stress.
Do your palms begin to sweat every time you near the dentist chair? In instances like these, listening to relaxing music may be your best bet. Research has shown one of music’s greatest benefits is its ability to decrease pain and reduce anxiety. So, the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation that is either causing, or being caused by, emotional tension, just remember to steer clear of the heavy metal, and go for something a bit more soothing.
2. Take a break from the news (and social media)
If the news is stressing you out, take a break from watching it | iStock.com/oneinchpunch
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests, stress can often be caused by a national or local event, so it’s important to give yourself a break from news that will upset you. Just because you want to stay informed doesn’t mean you should ignore your own emotional health. If you’re disturbed by a tragic event, swap the radio and/or TV for silence or some fresh air.
On a similar note, it’s no surprise social media comes with its downsides, and decreasing your Facebook time may also help in reducing stress. A constant barrage of perfect family photos and enviable personal updates — all of which are an attempt to portray an idyllic, yet unrealistic, life — can make you feel stressed. It’s best to take a break from the madness of other people’s lives every so often.
3. Light some lavender
Lavender is known to help with calm and relaxation | Carl Court/Getty Images
In addition to smelling good and adding a little ambiance to your space, scented candles can help with your well-being, too. Research shows that lavender aromatherapy can significantly help decrease a person’s stress levels. So, although the paint color probably isn’t scratch ‘n sniff, there’s a reason some people swear by purple walls and lavender-colored sheets in their bedroom. Soothing properties of all things lavender can help create a relaxing, warm, and calming space.
4. Laugh it out
There’s not much of a case against the feel-good powers of laughter, so go ahead and have yourself a good ‘ol belly laugh the next time you’re feeling stressed. Of course, laughter won’t solve every kind of stressful experience life throws your way, but as Greatist mentions, laughter does more than just make people happy. By increasing blood flow, laughing can reduce stress, which gives you one more reason to befriend your coworker in the next cubicle.
And bonus — if you’re lucky, you’ll laugh so hard, you will have gotten a little ab workout, as well. Nothing like killing two irritating birds with one stone.