Stress has become a worldwide epidemic. From fear of the current political climate to worries about money and work, there are a number of reasons why people are feeling stressed and anxious today. However, rather than giving into these feelings, it’s time to take control.
According to recent research, 73 percent of Americans admit to feeling regularly stressed and of these, 33 percent say they are living with extreme stress. So, if you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are a number of simple and easy things you can do to lower these stress levels.
To learn how, check out these 5-minute fixes for reducing stress levels fast.
1. Take a walk.
If you need a quick de-stressor, get up and take a walk. Whether that’s around the block or around the office, research reveals that walking can be just as effective as taking medicine. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “A brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.”
2. Laugh out loud.
Feeling stressed? Let laughter be your medicine. In fact, science proves that laughter has a direct relationship with stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing has a plethora of health benefits including the ability to activate and relieve your stress response. A good laugh can increase and then decrease a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, resulting in a relaxed, de-stressed feeling.
3. Listen to music.
To reduce stress levels, turn up the tunes. Research shows that listening to music decreases tension and anxiety, relieves depression, boosts self-esteem and reduces the likelihood of burnout.
If you need to relax, try listening to nature sounds or white noise, however, you can also blow off some steam by jamming out to your favorite band.
If you’re feeling stressed, grab a pen and paper and start writing. Writing down the things you are grateful for or happy memories of the past are two great writing exercising for reducing stress.
Wellness coach Joni Emmerling tells WebMD, “Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries.”
5. Breathe deeply to reduce your stress levels.
The minute you feel stress coming on, it’s time start inhaling and exhaling. Previous research has found that breathing has a direct relationship with emotions. That’s because deep breathing releases more oxygen to the brain, which lowers levels of a stress hormone called cortisol.
Stanford University psychologist Emma Seppala tells Reader’s Digest: “Breathing can change how we feel because emotions and breathing are closely connected… A revealing research study showed that different emotional states are associated with distinct respiration patterns.”
6. Repeat a mantra.
Repeating an uplifting mantra is one simple way to get rid of your stress. A study published in Brain and Behavior shows that silently repeating a single word to yourself quiets the system responsible for your mind wandering, thinking about your past, or planning your future.
7. Get inspired.
Thanks to today’s technology, reducing stress has never been easier. In fact, reducing stress levels is only a Google search away.
Psychology professor and best-selling author Deborah Serani explains that reading inspirational quotes is a sure-fire way to calm your mind. “I actually keep a file on my computer of great quotes and inspiring sayings. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life’s struggles, I clip them to my screensaver, post them on my social media, and even print them out to put on my refrigerator or desk,” she shares.
8. Practice power poses.
Simply changing the way your body is positioned will change your mood and stress levels. According to research, “power poses” like “Superman” ignites feelings of power and strength. Social psychologist and Ted speaker, Amy Cuddy is an advocate for power poses as well.
Not convinced? Just have a listen to her famous Ted Talk, “Your body language may shape who you are.”
Rose is a writer and artist living in New York City. She writes for magazines, startups and websites, including Entrepreneur Magazine, Frontrunner Magazine, Homepolish and more.