The textbook definition of stress according to Therapistaid.com is a feeling of being tense, overwhelmed or exhausted. It’s true, as humans we are all under some sort of stress in our everyday lives. Whether that stress comes from small tasks at work or a major life event, we all suffer from this monster’s effects. But fortunate for us, there are quick ways to manage stress.
We are constantly seeking better ways of coping with the stressors in our lives and in this post I’ll be highlighting the most effective and quick ways to handle stress.
What is stress management?
If you’ve ever asked the question, ‘What is stress management?’ Then you’ve taken the first step in acknowledging that you are indeed stressed. There are many ways to manage stress but knowing how your body reacts to certain situations and environments is a great start.
Every human being is different, what might work for me might not necessarily work for you and visa versa, so try all my suggestions to see if they help. When you’ve found the perfect technique or the most effective combination of techniques, stick with it, and go deeper. Be gentle with yourself and remember that nothing is achieved overnight, it takes patients and dedication.
What Are Some Quick Ways To Manage Stress?
From short-term to long-term strategies, problem-focused to fast-acting coping mechanisms, the ways for dealing with stress are vast and can be overwhelming which completely defeats the purpose and locks you in an endless loop. But there is hope and the choice is entirely yours. You choose how you want to cope, what your limits are, and how far you’re willing to go.
Without further ado, here are some good stress management tools that I’ve used and continue to use to handle stress.
#5- Exercise Regularly
When I feel like my brain won’t shut up and I just want to crawl out of my skin the quickest technique that allows me to be present again is to get my heart pumping. A quick bike ride does wonders. The wind rushing past my face is an instant stress reliever. If you don’t have a bike or access to one then go for a brisk walk. If walking isn’t your thing or you’re like me and avoid the outside until it’s absolutely necessary, then set your timer for thirty or sixty seconds and hold a plank position. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose to do, just get moving.
Stress relief is a positive side effect of exercise and definitely a quick way to manage stress.
#4- Do Things You Enjoy
Do you like to write out your thoughts with a pen on paper or do you like to blast the music and dance around until you feel better?
I personally like to do both. I’ll start by putting my thoughts on the paper because the release of that energy on paper is purging it from my body and in getting my thoughts out of my head I’ll have a better understanding of why I’m stressed in the first place. Then I’ll blast some FKA Twigs and dance around the house.
Pro tip: Dancing is a form of exercise. The goal is to get the body moving, the blood pumping, and heart rate up from a relaxed state.
#3- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
As a reflex, stress causes the body to tense American Psychological Association. Repeatedly tensing and releasing targeted muscles slowly is a way of reassuring the body and giving it permission to relax.
“When we think about the body on stress, it’s really fuel for the fight-or-flight response,” Dr. Debra Kissen, co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s education committee.
We have to constantly remind the body that when it’s not in imminent danger it needs to relax. Our bodies were made with evolutionary data that react to life-threatening situations as a survival instinct to basically preserve humankind. The problem with this is that stress about missing a deadline at work will activate this fight or flight response. Doing the PMR technique will bring the body back to relax mode.
Here’s how it’s done
-Lay on the floor and close your eyes
-Pick a leg to start with and squeeze your foot with all your might and slowly release
-Move on to your calf, your thigh and continue moving up the body to your neck then switch sides
-When you get to your face, clench your jaw, and tense your entire face. You should look like you just smelled something rancid, then slowly release.
-Lastly, tense your whole body with all your might and slowly release
You’ll feel entirely different.
I learned this technique in high school and admittedly I don’t use it as often as I should but when I do utilize it, I always feel like a ton of weight has been lifted.
#2- Eat healthy meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables
What we eat greatly affects our mood. If we eat fast processed foods, we start to feel sluggish and forgetful but if we stick to an unprocessed whole food diet we begin to have more energy, and our overall mood is significantly better.
I remember the energy boost I had after I cut all meat, dairy, and fish out of my diet. It felt like I could dance to electronic music for hours without getting tired and that’s exactly what happened.
Adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals every day will boost your mood and when you feel better you’ll handle stressful situations better.
Eat up, your mood depends on it.
If you need more ideas on what to cook click here.
#1 – Meditation
The world of meditation is a vast one but one thing remains constant, it’s a great short-term stress reliever and an even better long-term solution for stress management. There are mantras that you can recite, retreats that you can escape to, and plenty of gurus to follow but the easiest and most effective way in my opinion is:
-Set a timer for 5-30 minutes
-Sit still in a quiet place with your eyes closed
-Take 5 deep breaths in and out to relax the body
-Allow your breathing to come back to its normal pace without controlling it
-Focus on the air going in and out of your nostrils
Whatever thoughts come up in your mind, don’t acknowledge them, just let them pass and focus on your breathing till the timer goes off.
This technique is my go-to technique which is why it’s number one on this list. It centers me, brings me back into my body, quiets my mind, and reassures me that everything is going to be okay. Nothing else matters because everything is temporary.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my simple and quick ways to manage stress, if there are ways you deal with stress that didn’t make it on my list please feel free to share in the comment section below.