Five Quick and Easy Ways to Handle Stress

Getting outside for a quick walk is a great way to deal with stress.

Everybody deals with stress.  Sometimes multiple stressful events converge all at once.  Other times just one thing triggers it – but it is a big one, such as a demanding work project or a family or health emergency.  Long-term problems can also cause stress.  Fortunately there are ways that you can take back control of how you feel.

Here are five quick and easy ways to handle your stress.

  • Breathe deeply. 

When we are feeling stressed our breathing is more shallow and it can feel like it’s an effort.  When we are relaxed it is deeper and easier.  When you are feeling stressed take just a minute and take some deep breaths.  Inhale slowly, hold it briefly, and then exhale slowly.  Do this a few times and you will feel yourself slowing down and relaxing.  This is a great way to deal with stress since it can be done almost anywhere and any time.

  • Tense your muscles. 

At first this doesn’t seem like it would help.  When you are stressed your muscles begin to get tensed.  Take control though and actively tense your muscles.  Hold them that way then slowly release them.  You can repeat this a couple of times if you need.  If one area of your body is tense, you can tense those muscles and release them.  This helps you feel more in control since you are in charge of how tense your muscles are.  This also can be done just about anywhere and any time.

  • Smile. 

Smile broadly and take a deep breath.  Slowly exhale and let your jaw and shoulders relax and sag.  Many people feel and hold tension in their jaw, neck, and shoulders so this helps those areas.  Many headaches are the result of muscle tension from the neck so keeping your neck relaxed can help keep those headaches away.  Usually when you smile you feel better, and if you can find something to laugh about that will help even more.  When you are smiling it makes it harder to be angry; and when you’re less angry, it’s easier to create solutions and problem solve.

  • Get active. 

Do some physical activity that you like.  It could be a workout, a sport, yoga, or just taking a walk.  Some things allow you to take out frustration safely and the effort can help you to clear your head.  You can work off some of your energy and some of the tension out of your muscles.  Many times when your body feels better your mind follows.

  • Get a Massage. 

A massage will help your muscles to relax and also give your mind a break.  You are taking time to take care of yourself.  You are allowing somebody else to help you and you don’t have any responsibilities for a while.  An hour massage is a great way to get away from your problems but if you are short of time there are other options.  A 30-minute massage will help an area or two of your body to feel better, and even a 10- or 15-minute chair massage can also be beneficial.  Even a brief massage is relaxing and helps to loosen your muscles.

Stress is a part of life.  It doesn’t have to control you though.  When you start feeling stressed and overwhelmed give one of these quick methods a try.  Use whatever works best for you or mix them up and take control of stress in your life.