Any person who says they rarely have stress is clearly in the minority of people. Everyone experiences stress but it’s the type and intensity that can challenge our ability to handle it well. There will come a time in each of our lives, when something stressful will be so intense, chronic, and unexpected that it can easily take a toll on our health and well-being. This is why it is critical to have effective stress reducing techniques crucial for restoring your sanity and peace of mind.
The key is to find ideas for relieving stress taking it down a notch or two when you need a much needed break from the pressures of life. Depending on the situation, certain traditional stress relievers such as meditation may not be the one you are in the mood for. Meditation can be very effective and helpful, but sometimes it’s nice to have some other strategies with versatility in mind.
Here are 20 ideas that are more unique and can be very effective at turning down the dial on stress making your life feel a little less unmanageable and a little more at ease.
1. Play games – Games are always good for bringing out your inner child. Enjoying a game with friends or family, whether it’s a board game or a game of tag with kids (or adults), can be a relaxing way to take your mind off of your stressors. Even playing an online game can lead you to a more relaxed state of mind.
2. Learn to laugh a lot – The physical act of laughter releases tension and brings positive physiological changes to your body. Laughter can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation while a good chuckle will enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air as it stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles. All this plus it can increase those feel-good endorphins that are released by your brain.
3. Play music – A great way to alter your physiology is to turn on music. Music is one of the most enjoyable pastimes to chase stress away. If your stress is particularly chronic, consider music therapy sessions as this can help with a variety of stress-related issues.
4. Expose your senses to aromatherapy – Essential oils used in aromatherapy can promote relaxation and stress relief by controlling your emotions and memory. Aromatherapists believe essential oils powers cause your brain to release certain chemicals helping you to achieve a relaxed state of mind. Some research supports the stress calming effects of citrus essential oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, neroli, and orange.
5. Learn assertive communication skills – Relationships can be great stress relievers. Knowing how to keep your relationships healthy through effective communication is one of the best investments of time and energy for stress relief.
6. Quit being a procrastinator – Putting off a stressful or labor-intensive project can only increase the stress you experience. Once you stop procrastinating, this will allow you to get done what you need to do, without the added stress of rushing for a deadline.
7. Watch fish in an aquarium – Ever wonder why dentists’ offices tend to have aquariums? It’s to take your mind off the anticipation of a stressful dental procedure. Watching fish swim makes you take time to stop and relax as you watch them glide around in the water. This makes you slow down, focusing on something other than your stressors.
8. Sing along with music – Music is magic when it comes to soothing stress. No worries if your voice barely carries a tune. Belting out a song can not only be an exhilarating experience but a cathartic one as well. Plus, singing has a special feeling of tension release during stressed times.
9. Turn off the news – Nothing is quite as stressful as watching the daily news filled with murders, crime, heartache, and loss. Not that all news is bad but when the focus of most news shows is on what’s wrong in the world, it can make your world feel very stressful. Taking a one day (or two) break from TV, the internet and other sources can do us all good. If there is anything really important happening, you will hear about it soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the peace and quiet.
10. Watch clouds – Have you even laid on your back staring up watching the clouds float by? It is one of the most relaxing things one can do. Let your mind drift like clouds do, daydreaming. Imagine yourself atop of a cloud, gently floating along with the breeze without a care in the world.
11. Find your inner artist – Okay, so maybe you’re not the next Picasso. But all of us have some flare when it comes to art and creativity. Maybe you haven’t drawn or painted a picture since childhood – it’s never too late. Bring out your construction paper, model clay, glitter glue, feathers, and pipe cleaners and get started. Art therapy has been shown to lower cortisol levels lessening stress regardless of your artistic experience or talent.
12. Give yourself a pep talk – We forget how much our thoughts color our world. The impact of self-talk is significant and pervasive. Throw out the negative self-deprecating talk and instead turn it into a more positive style of self-talk to see a major change in your attitude.