7 Quick Steps to Reduce Stress and Stop Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are ever-constant plagues of worry that creep up on their poor, unsuspecting victims at the worst of times – right before a big event, during a speech, before a test and in many other situations that occur regularly throughout our daily lives. Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce stress and stop anxiety if you find yourself losing control. Read on for seven quick steps that can help you in any situation.
This is a simple exercise that can be done in a few minutes. Although a seemingly insignificant exercise, a quick break to focus on your breathing can help reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and slowing down the heart rate. To perform this exercise, simply sit up straight with eyes closed and inhale slowly through the nose. As you feel the breath working its way up from the abdomen to your upper body and eventually the head, exhale through your mouth. Repeat the process until you feel a sense of calm.
- Phone a friend
Talking to someone about what you are experiencing can reveal new insights into the factors causing stress and anxiety in your life. A mere phone call to friends or a loved one who supports you is a quick step to help ease stress – read more about this method here.
Laughing holds the ability to lower the body’s stress hormone and generates endorphins that provide a feel-good factor – it really is the best medicine. Watch a quick video that usually makes you laugh or talk to someone that always puts a smile on your face for a quick way to reduce stress.
- Tune into music
Music and especially sounds from nature can reduce anxiety by slowing the heart rate and creating a peaceful distraction. Upbeat songs or any other type of music that you prefer are equally effective – get out your favorite song and sing along for a quick way to ease anxiety.
Mild forms of aerobic exercise such as walking around, yoga or even stretching exercises can help release endorphins and reduce feelings of stress and discomfort. A run-up and down the stairs or some easy stretches are effective ways to stop anxiety.
- Chew gum
This article on the existence of gum as a behavioral medicine examines the potential of chewing gum as a way to reduce anxiety and lower stress levels. Chewing gum was found to not only reduce anxiety but also improve alertness and performance.
- Hug someone
Physical acts including hugging and kissing increase the body’s level of oxytocin, thereby causing a chemical reaction that reduces blood pressure. Social support is a great way to reduce stress and even acts to boost the immune system. Hugging conveys a meaning of support and is a great step to stop anxiety – however, stick to hugging people you are comfortable with as a hug from strangers could do the opposite and increase levels of anxiety.
About the Writer:
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.