6 Ways to Relieve Stress

Stressed to the Point of Implosion

Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that money issues often stress me out. Two-thousand-fourteen had a whopper of those. I closed a retail business at the end of 2013 to start my coaching practice. I had enough in savings to get me through the year while the new business got started. Unfortunately two roofing issues and some major house construction (a result of the roofing issues), ate into that savings quite a bit. To further add to the mix, my husband’s job was no longer as secure as it was six months ago.

6 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Without the techniques that I’m going to share with you, I would be a nervous, tense, sleep-deprived wreck at this point. Such a state would certainly hinder any momentum to move forward, both personally and with the coaching practice. Thankfully I began implementing several of these techniques even before the stress factors kicked in full force.

  1. Breathe. Slow, deep breaths. If you are a regular reader, you know that I preach breathing. I am aware of when a situation is causing my blood pressure to rise or my muscles to tense, and before I react in any way, I breathe. Three slow, deep breaths. Try it right now. It’s very calming.
  2. Drink water. If you’re dehydrated your level of the stress hormone cortisol increases. Aim to keep your base stress level as low as possible, and water will aid you doing that.
  3. Meditate. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, start out easy: five minutes of quiet deep breathing. Alternatively you can listen to soothing music, practice yoga, or participate in a relaxing aspect of a hobby or sport (gardening, knitting, singing, cooking, drawing, dancing, running, kayaking, swimming, etc.).
  4. Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t. Staying up all night worrying about things I can’t control isn’t going to solve any problems. Believing that I will find a solution to any problems that arise, and getting a good night’s sleep so that I can be clear-headed in the morning is much more beneficial. Not always easy, but certainly a  calm and rested mind can make better decisions than one that is fraught with worry.
  5. Say positive affirmations every day.  This has helped me so much that I wrote a book on the power of positive affirmations and how to use them. Here are a few to help you if you are feeling stressed:
      • I am responsible for the success I achieve.
      • I am confident, competent, and calm.
      • I am capable of any task given to me.
      • I deal with problems immediately.
      • I live in an abundant universe.
      • I invite and allow money in my life.
      • My days are rich with opportunities.
  6. Express gratitude. I wake up and think about three people for whom I am grateful. Before bed I think about three things for which I am grateful. The day before Thanksgiving 2013, I stood in my basement surrounded by 12 large plastic tubs that were gathering the gallons of water pouring in from our roof issue. I stood and cried, not because of the water coming into my house, but because I was still going to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my husband and children. A pastor’s family in our community was not. That same day a man set himself on fire and ran into a local church, setting the church offices on fire. The pastor didn’t make it out of the building in time. So be thankful for what you do have, and make a conscious effort to think about people you are grateful for every day. Go beyond just thinking about the people, actually express the gratitude: write a letter or a short note, give the person a call, or if they’re no longer living, write about them in your journal.

Practicing these techniques has given me a safe and calm anchor point. I can find that anchor at any given moment which helps me keep things in perspective. I’m less likely to overreact and more likely to make rational decisions based on fact and not emotion.

Try to implement one of these techniques today (I’d start with the breathing). Continue practicing that technique daily while adding in a new technique every couple of days. Do you have any techniques you already use to help you cope with stress? Please share in the comments or on our Facebook page.

13 Quick Stress Relievers

Every day comes with at least some stress, but with the holidays approaching, even those who consider their lives low stress start feeling a bit more anxious. Those with high stress to start with often compound their stress just thinking about how much more stress there will be. Whew!

So here are 13 things you can do in less than five minutes (some in under a minute) that will help to take the edge off:

13 Quick Stress Relievers you can do in under 5 minutes

1. Breathe.

I sound like a broken record on this, but this one thing can make huge difference in your reaction to a situation. Take a moment and breathe deeply and slowly. Three times. Do it now. Then…

2. Smile.

If you have to fake it, that’s okay – just don’t turn it into a snarl. Repeat if necessary. Repeat even if not necessary. Smile at a stranger for an added boost of serotonin and endorphins (which make you feel good). When they smile back, you get a bonus boost!

3. Take a walk.

You’ll get more out of a 40-50 minute walk, but even five minutes, especially in fresh air, will do you and your body good.

4. Stretch.

Reach both arms above your head and stretch. Better if standing, but even just reaching above your head while sitting will have benefits. Pointing and flexing each foot (ideally with leg extended) can also be done while sitting.

5. Laugh out loud.

LOL for real. Think of time when you laughed really hard over something – you don’t even have to remember what you were laughing about, just remember the sensation and try to duplicate that. You may not get to that level of laughter, but you at the very least genuinely smile and probably even giggle a little.

6. Hum.

Hum a tune, say the word hum and hold the “mmm” sound, whatever.

7. Sing.

Sometimes this one is best done when you’re alone, and if you are then sing at the top of your lungs! Aim for an upbeat song.

8. Dance.

It’s okay if the music is only in your head. Just move, shake, and bop around for a few minutes. Take a bow.

9. Daydream.

Take one minute to imagine yourself doing your favorite activity, or relaxing, or winning the lottery. See it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it. (Set a timer if you’re afraid you’ll get sucked in too deep to your daydream to come back to reality).

10. Rub your hands together vigorously.

As if you are trying to warm your hands, rub your palms together for about 15 seconds. When you stop, feel not only the heat, but the energy force between your hands as you slowly separate them.

11. Doodle.

Scrap of paper and a pencil. Draw something: a line, circles, a picture, anything. There’s a lot to be said about the power of doodling.

12. Yawn.

Open your mouth really wide and it will come. It may even happen a few times, and that’s okay.

13. Make a paper airplane.

Flying it is optional. It’s the process of making that will help lower your stress level. I like to make tiny ones out of sticky notes.

Keep this list handy for anytime you need a quick dose of stress reduction. You can Pin the graphic from here, or visit our Pinterest site for this and more great stuff: http://www.pinterest.com/ITakeSuccess/quotes/

What do you do to relieve or reduce stress?