19 Stress-Relief Tips You Can Do Right Now to Feel Better

19 Stress-Relief Tips You Can Do Right Now to Feel Better
Drowning in worry? Searching for the panic button? We’ve got some tips on how to relieve stress — fast. For times when your cortisol seems to be at an all-time high, and you can’t seem to calm yourself down, refer to some of these tips and tricks to bring a sense of peace.
  1. Practice deep breathing. One of the best “off buttons” for stress is deep, rhythmic, structured breathing. There are different ways to do this, but open-mouth, deep belly inhales followed by a pause/hold and open mouth (slow) exhale is typically the way to do it. Pause once all the air is out, and don’t breathe in again until your body is ready. Repeat this for a few minutes.
  2. Do progressive muscle relaxation. To emphasize how effective this is, know that my psychiatrist—a doctor who prescribes medicine—told me to do this deep muscle tension release in lieu of prescribing me Ativan for panic attacks. This stuff WORKS. Combined with the deep breathing, this will switch on your parasympathetic nervous system (your fight-flight-freeze response’s off-switch) and bring you back down to earth.
  3. Cut back on coffee (hard stop at 12pm). Caffeine can increase jitters and feelings of stress. Plus, drinking coffee after noon can disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to get restful, stress-reducing sleep.
  4. Meditate for two minutes. This trick will definitely help you relieve stress quickly; consider it a quick SOS. Meditation can feel daunting and difficult, particularly if you’re new, so keep it short and sweet with two minutes of closed eyes, stillness
  5. Walk outside and get some fresh air. If weather allows, a little time in the sun with some fresh oxygen can take your mind off your worries, even if it’s just a temporary respite. Get the blood flowing with a walk if you’re able.
  6. Take your shoes off and walk in dirt, grass, or sand. “Earthing” or “grounding” — the idea of connecting your physical body to the earth — is a practice that may lead to reduced blood pressure and stress relief. Connect with the calm, grounding energy of the earth, close your eyes, and breathe deep.
  7. Self massage. Myofascial release is an incredible way to relieve stress quickly. Using two massage balls (sometimes called yoga balls or tune up balls), a foam roller, or another type of muscular release tool, give your bod some TLC with a head-to-toe tension relieving massage. Again, this helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system!
  8. Take some CBDYou knew we were gonna say it, right? Try a CBD edible like a gummy or chocolate for daily calm, or a tincture for fast stress relief. As a bonafide anxiolytic, CBD will nourish your endocannabinoid system to restore your body’s homeostasis and reduce feelings of panic.
  9. Lay with a pet dog or cat. Animal therapy is the best therapy. If you have a dog or cat, spend some time laying with them and enjoying their calming presence. Even psychiatrists do this when they find themselves in a state of stress!
  10. Watch a comedy segment on YouTube. Laugh it off. Find your favorite stand up comedian or SNL sketch, or even put on a funny TV show or movie that makes you laugh aloud. Laughter is proven to be a stress reliever and can help recalibrate your anxious system.
  11. Practice yoga. Another clinically-proven tool for stress relief is yoga. There are so, SO many free programs online, you don’t need to leave your house or spend a dime to start reaping the benefits.
  12. Do some really intense cardio. If after hearing all the benefits of yoga still can’t get you into Downward Dog, try a body-blasting cardio session. You’ll stop thinking about your troubles as your brain shifts into “OMG my lungs and my muscles” mode. Again, there are hundreds of free online programs to do this, and all of them can help you relieve stress quickly.
  13. Turn your phone off. Technology can very often be a source of stress. From the news app to angry people on Twitter to the barrage of group texts to the FOMO on Instagram, we all need breaks from time to time. Use this as an opportunity to unplug, disconnect, and reset. Consider it a hard reboot, but for your brain.
  14. Put on some calming music. Get zen and create a spa-like atmosphere at home with some Asian-inspired tranquil music, peaceful piano, or relaxing guitar tunes.
  15. Dance (and sing). Or, flip it and dance and sing your heart out to your favorite jams and power ballads. Both dancing and singing have been shown in clinical studies to improve mood.
  16. Take a hot bath. Warm therapy is an excellent approach to stress and anxiety, and if you have a tub, now’s the time to use it. Consider a CBD bath bomb or some epsom salts to enhance the relaxing effects, and soak in all of that stress relief.
  17. Diffuse some essential oils. Aromatherapy can help your mood take a turn for the better. Relaxing lavender, depression-relieving rose and ylang ylang, and uplifting citrus are just a handful of the many delightful natural scents you can use to fill your home and lift your spirits. Plus, it just smells really nice.
  18. Grab a paperback book. While you’re unplugged and your phone is off, grab a hardcover or paperback book. The tactile experience combined with the chance to get lost in a story will help to distract you from stressful events.
  19. Make a hot cup of tea. Back to warm therapy — different teas have different health benefits, and many of them (particularly when served warm) can have a profound effect on stress levels. Find a low-caffeine or caffeine-free option to keep yourself from getting jittery.

There are so many more ways you can find your own “off button” and relieve stress fast, and what works for you comes down to your brain, mood, and preferences. We hope you find a little relief with all of these, and stay positive. We all need a little more of that these days!

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