5 Quick Tips to reduce stress IMMEDIATELY!Rick Selover
I know I don’t need to tell you, but we are all currently living one of the most stressful times in the past 20 years!
Sometimes there are so many thoughts, events, emotions and situations that are creating stress in our everyday lives… and it seems to be at an increasingly faster rate than ever before, that most of us feel helpless to stop it… or to even slow it down, am I right?
Did you realize over 75% of adults feel massive stress & anxiety every single day?… actually, I was thinking that number seemed a little light… but I deal with a little different crowd than most other people!
Need some proof?… take a nice leisurely drive on one of our metro-area freeways most anytime during the day, everyone riding right on each other’s bumpers at 10-15 miles over the speed limit, jamming on their brakes at the last minute and causing everyone else for 15 cars back to do the same, switching lanes at 85 miles an hour or diving over to the right 3 lanes to catch that exit they almost missed… and hopefully your reaction time is good?… you’re not looking at your phone, are you?… WOW, narrowly missed my 3rd pileup of the morning & it’s not even 8am yet!… how’s your stress level right now?… or…
Try standing in line ANYWHERE, whether it’s a grocery, retail store or restaurant… everybody is impatient, on-edge, irritable with an “all about me” attitude… it’s like everybody forgot how to wait & take turns, or even realize that nobody in line is “more important” than anybody else… we all have to wait… don’t be a jerk!
How about talking to ANYONE that had their work effected by the last 18 months (that’s just about everyone) … anybody singing the praises of all the wonderful improvements their company made, how much better it is for the employees there, how their so satisfied & fulfilled in their employment?… HELL NO!… it’s nothing but a bitch-fest with everyone you talk to, regardless if they were furloughed for months or didn’t miss a single day at all last year… NOBODY seems to be overly enthused with their jobs…. It’s just SOOO stressful… right?
It’s no wonder we are going through something labeled as “the great resignation” right now!… no shit!… it’s a thing!
Believe me, I could go on and on with many other scenarios to support my point, but I think you understand what I’m saying here, but the big question is…. WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Glad you asked!
Today I want to share with all of you, 5 quick tips to immediately reduce your stress…. right where you are… in a matter of minutes… that are absolutely FREE… and available to everyone… right now!
Sure… I get it… I understand…. This sounds too good to be true, right?… a bunch of hooky-poo, woo-woo bullshit that doesn’t work?… you’re probably a little skeptical, right?… but STOP for a second, open your mind for a few minutes, listen to what I suggest… and here’s the trick-part… TRY these tips, honestly… with some intention… and with a positive attitude and see how they work for you…. At the very worst, they don’t help & you’re still just as stressed as you were before trying and all you wasted was a minute or two, but the best-case scenario is… they WORK… and your stress level drops, and life is a little better!
The main culprit in stress is a neurochemical called cortisol, this is also the neurochemical responsible for the “fight or flight’ response humans have to fear or danger. Cortisol is released in your system anytime someone around you is yelling, dogs are barking, kids are crying or screaming, sudden loud noises are heard, cars are zooming around you or you are forced to do something you don’t want to do. Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Cortisol’s real purpose is baked into our old Neanderthal brain, it’s designed to help protect us from danger or being killed or injured (fight or flight) and is not intended to be a constantly re-occurring thing, in fact sustained levels of cortisol in our system can have ill effects on our health. The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Muscle tension and pain
- Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors.
So here are 5 quick tips to reduce, relieve or release your stress in very short order, and allow you to flush the cortisol from your system and get back to feeling normal and moving on with your day.
- STOP & BREATHE:
Your breathing pattern is something you can control and change INSTANTLY and this is probably the most effective way to lower stress very quickly, and should always be the first thing you do when your stress levels start maxing-out! It can be done anywhere at any time, regardless of what you are doing.
This is super simple, just take at a minimum 6 measured breaths, that means take a long, full breath in through your nose for a count of 4 or 5 (this should fill your lungs), hold for a second, and then breath out through your mouth, but close your lips like you were blowing out through a straw, for a count of 4 or 5 (whatever count you used on breath in)
… the key is, do this a MINIMUM of 6 times…. You should immediately feel more calm, relaxed and de-stressed!
- RE-THINK YOUR THINKING:
Your thoughts will proceed your emotions and your actions, so usually when we are starting to feel stress, we end up focusing our thoughts on what’s going wrong, the bad circumstances that may be coming, worst-case scenarios, how we are going to be negatively affected, being late for an appointment or missing an event or a million other situations… we focus on the negative… the anticipated pain…. The loss or the hurt…You see what I’m saying here, right?
You are actually making it worst for yourself… you are adding additional stress to your initial stress with just your thinking!… so, STOP… actively change your thinking… start thinking positive, like it’s ok if you’re running late, or miss an appointment, you won’t be killed for it…the world won’t come to an end… you can lose the argument with the unrealistic other side and you’ll still be ok… at the end of the day, your life isn’t going to be turned on it’s head… it’s not as big of a deal as your letting your mind make of it.
Remember, this situation is only temporary… you have complete control over your thoughts & you can decide to NOT focus on the negative… you can think of the positive results you want to see… let that be the image in your mind.
I must make a disclaimer here: if you’re facing a sword, knife or gun fight or a serious do or die situation, forget everything I just said and go with your best “fight or flight” option!… be sure to accurately assess your skill levels first when making your decision!!
- EASE YOUR MIND WITH MUSIC
Like the old saying goes… music soothes the soul. Listening to music has a very quick & very calming effect on your nervous system… now playing some death metal or gangsta rap will probably NOT bring down that stress, but some easy listening, classical, soft rock or even sounds of nature (rain falling, waterfall, ocean surf) can drastically reduce stress in a minute or so…. Here’s a PRO TIP: I will go to YouTube and search” ocean sounds” and just play a video of ocean waves crashing on shore (you can just listen if driving, no need to actually watch, the sounds are the only input you need for the soothing effect
They say “laughing is the best medicine’, right?… there is nothing as natural for reducing stress than a good laugh, and something to make you laugh is easily available on your phone or even within your own memories, but I know sometimes stress can be so intense that you may not be able to recall a funny joke or situation from the past, but you can search for comedy routines, jokes or funny clips very quickly on Google or YouTube. Ther are many streaming services too that have comedy channels, or you can even create a “make me laugh” playlist of some of your favorite bits through Spotify (and also save mp3 on your phone) or like I do, I have “comedy” stations or playlists on a few streaming services like iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora that are saved as favorites, so I have quick access.
A minute or two of comedy can eliminate your high-stress situation & get you back to your old self right away!
- RELEASE THE CORTISOL BUILD-UP WITH EXERCISE
As little as 15 min of exercise can make a massive difference in your stress levels, and allows for the release of cortisol from your system. Now it may not be practical or possible to accomplish while driving, but otherwise, a quick fast walk, some time on a treadmill or elliptical, lifting some weights (at home or the gym) or pulling off in a park area, near some woods, where you can enjoy the beauty of nature, as you find a nice sturdy stick and whack the hell outa a tree trunk or beat it into the ground repeatedly until your exhausted, that will do the trick as well!… your choice!
Now here’s a few extra “bonus” tips that may not work as fast, but will most certainly help reduce the stress levels you may have on a daily basis:
- Get outside in the sun, sun of your face for a short period can do wonders for your mood while reducing stress.
- Eat a piece of (darker the better) chocolate… cocoa has a tremendous calming effect, releases endorphins and works like dopamine for elevating mood.
- Hug someone you love (spouse, kids, family member… not some stranger, don’t be a creep!) – the simple touch of another human, like when being hugged, releases another neurochemical called oxytocin, which is the opposite of cortisol and reduces blood pressure. PRO TIP: hugging spouse can lead to other stress-reducing activities as well!!
- Meditation or yoga practices can help eliminate stress in your life as well, best if made a regular part of your daily routines.
While were on the subject, I’m also going to suggest some life-practices, that if incorporated into your day-to-day routines, can help you live in a less-stressful, more healthy life and leave you better equipped to deal with the un-avoidable high-stress situations everybody has to get through.
- Get a proper amount of sleep each night (6-8 hrs for most people)
- Eat a well-balanced diet, at consistent times of the day, that have reduced amounts of carbs, sugars & fats
- Find time for some leisure activities in life, all work and no play = stressful environment
- Start a mediation or yoga practice to help balance your body & mind
- Practice self-talk… speak more positivity into your only life on a daily basis, and cut way back on verbally kicking your own ass… there are plenty of others in our world that already do that for us!
And lastly… try to enjoy your life while you’re still above ground! This world has so much to offer, and none of us have an expiration or “use by” date stamped on our ass, so we never know how many more days we have… so make the most of your days, spend as little time as humanly possible stressed-out, angry & frustrated!
As Bobby McFerrin sang… “Don’t worry, be happy!”