From causing headaches and insomnia to overeating, social withdrawal and inability to focus, heightened stress can play havoc on your health, mood and productivity. Because April is National Stress Awareness Month, we created this list of our favorite quick de-stressing strategies.
The benefits of becoming more resilient to everyday pressures
Consider what nutritional biochemist and mood researcher Shawn Talbott, Ph.D. says about stress and moods: “When we’re happy and feeling better, we tend to have more energy. We’re also more likely to make better choices about our diet and exercise patterns. We sleep better because we’re more able to relax. And when we’re more resilient in the face of stressors – such as being able to stay calm during a traffic jam – our bodies don’t pump out as much cortisol. Without all that cortisol, there are fewer junk food cravings which help with weight loss.”
Ready to relax? Here are 10 proven ways to chill out quickly.
- Take several slow, deep breaths. Inhale for four counts, then exhale for four counts. You can do this while waiting in traffic, standing in line or even while in the restroom.
- Turn on the tunes. Listening to your favorite music during your regular activities helps to distract your mind, plus it requires no extra time. Consider listening to music instead of the morning or evening news.
- Get the brain-soothing benefits of L-theanine. Suntheanine helps to soothe stress within 30 minutes by increasing your alpha brain waves, without causing drowsiness. It also helps restore your focus.
- Eat lunch outside. Spending time in nature helps recharge your batteries, especially when it’s a heavily wooded environment. Watch the birds and squirrels. Feel the breeze hit your skin. Soak up some natural light.
- Spend a few minutes with positive people. Even if it’s just a quick hello between meetings, sharing a smile and friendly exchange can brighten your day.
- Get up and move around. If you’re upset about something, taking a quick walk may be just what you need to calm down and put things into better perspective.
- Step away from your screen. Spending too much time in front of screens is associated with heightened stress levels. Try shutting down your devices for a few minutes in the middle of the day.
- Cuddle your pet. This encourages your body to release oxytocin, a hormone associated with a positive mood.
- Peel an orange. Certain scents, including orange, can be especially calming.
- Declutter your immediate surroundings. Whether it’s your desk at work or craft room at home, just a quick cleanup may help regain a more upbeat frame of mind.
You may also want to take Suntheanine 30 minutes before bedtime to help calm your mind so that you get a better night’s sleep. With all that good rest, you’ll be less susceptible to stress the next day.