Feeling Stressed? Overextended? Overwhelmed? We’ve got a few quick and easy ways you can relieve some stress today:
1. Listen to Music. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing classical music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. try listening to ocean or nature sounds. It may sound cheesy, but they display similar relaxing effects to music.
2. Call a Friend. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and there’s no time that this is more evident than when you’re under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
3. Talk about—or write out—what’s worrying you. Writing or talking about the things that prey on you—in a diary, with friends, in a support group or even a home computer file—helps you feel less alone and helpless. One study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at people who had either rheumatoid arthritis or asthma— conditions known to be stress-sensitive. One group chronicled in a perfunctory manner the things they did each day. The other group was asked to write daily about what it was like, including fears and pain, to have their disease. What researchers found: People who wrote at length about their feelings had far fewer episodes of their illness.
4. Eat Right. Arm yourself with healthy snacks. Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Unfortunately, it’s when we have the most work that we forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid the vending machine and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.
5. Practice Mindfulness. Focus on your senses a few minutes a day. From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem in the first place. Try joining a class—many are free to try on the first day.
6. Exercise (Even For a Minute). Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
7. Breathe Easy. The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation. For an easy three- to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.
8. Prep For Tomorrow. Nothing is more stressful than being unprepared. Get organized so you’re ready for the next day, taking a few minutes to make a to-do list and clean up before you leave. Knowing you’ve got everything covered means you’ll be less likely to fret about work in the evenings. When you come in the next morning, you’ll have the sense that you’re in control of the situation and can handle it. This sets a positive tone for the day, which can help you get more accomplished.
9. Recall A Past Success. Taking five minutes to reflect on how you pulled through other stressful situations like your last breakup or when you switched jobs can help you reconnect with your resilient side. In the moment, it may feel as though you’ll never get over your present problem, but when you look back, you realize that you felt similarly before and found a way to overcome it. If you’re going through a divorce or recently lost a loved one, you also may want to seek out a support group: Research on grieving presented by the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington, D.C., suggests that talking with peers is even more beneficial than one-on-one counseling in the initial months after a loss.
10. Laugh It Off. Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy. However, bursting into a fit of giggles at your desk may not be the most appropriate way to deal with stress.
This PBCi Buzz post is part of our Mind, Body, & BUSINESS™ Series. As Entrepreneurs, what’s happening in our Minds and Bodies – whether mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically – directly impacts, and is connected to, the decisions we make in our businesses and how we manage them.
Our Mind, Body, & BUSINESS™ series explores that connection by providing much-needed tools, resources and support for our fellow Entrepreneurs.