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September 5, 2011

7 Tips for Instant Stress Relief

Author: JenniferMaster1

7 Tips for Instant Stress Relief

Author: Brian White

Here are 7 tips for effective stress relief that can be used right now. Bonus stress tip: you only need to pick one from the list help relieve stress – even though I’ve created some methods here to easily combine some of them for even more potent stress relief.

1. Breath deeply. Part of our body’s response to stress is for adrenaline production to increase, which leads to more rapid and shallower breathing. Relieve stress by reversing the stress response: take a slow, deep breath, hold it briefly, and gently exhale. Now repeat a few times, and to deal with stress even more effectively…

2. Use the compound principle, which I previously discussed here by focusing your attention on each breath. Pay attention to how it feels as the air comes in through nostrils. Feel your lungs slowly expand with each breath, and be aware of the feeling in your chest as you momentarily hold the breath, and then notice the sensation of the breath leaving your chest and mouth as you slowly exhale. You can even take this a step further, by visualizing something pleasant with each breath coming in (think of one of those silly commercials that sell soap based on how fresh it smells, and visualize it as “fresh smelling air” – and no it doesn’t matter if that sounds corny, the only thing important with stress relief is that what you’re doing works).

3. Apply the power of positive thinking. Although we are not our thoughts, our thoughts do play a big role in how we feel and what we do. When we think negatively, those negative thoughts influence our body language, what we say and how we say it, and this can also affect the choices we make, and therefore our actions as well. The latter may take the form of becoming so captive to those thoughts that we do nothing (inaction is itself a form of action, because it substitutes for taking action), and we basically allow ourselves to become held hostage to these negative thoughts. This does nothing to help us deal with stress, so to attain stress relief we need to reverse the cycle and think instead about positive things, and when we do this our bodies tend to respond in turn; consider this: when you pay someone a compliment, you’ll notice how their eyes light up, because that compliment creates within them a positive thought, which in turn produces a positive physical response (the way their eyes light up, a smile on their face, etc.).

Even though this is an easy form of positive action, it still tends to compel the person receiving the compliment to reciprocate with some form of genuine thank you. And that “thank you” response we receive makes us feel good, and  through doing positive actions like this like this which create in us positive thoughts and feelings, we attain stress relief through displacement: the negative thoughts, feelings, and actions that are typical during times of stress are replaced – or forced out – by positive thoughts, feelings, and actions. Therefore, positive thoughts are an effective tool for stress relief because they produce positive actions that lead to more positive thoughts and feelings.

4. Smiling won’t actually harm your health. In fact, smiling helps you in how to deal with stress because it makes use of the same principle of positive thinking that I discussed above, only in reverse. Even if you have to force it so hard you’re afraid it might be life threatening, smiling produces a positive stimulus: it tells your mind there is something to smile about. And thanks to the mind-body connection illustrated above, this simple positive action creates positive thoughts and feelings. Its the exact same principle as in stress tip #3 above, only here we reverse it, and both methods are effective ways to relieve stress.

5. Do something physical. It can be jog, a long walk, or using a simple squeeze ball (something I believe everyone should own). If you’re creative or adventurous, you can probably think of even more imagine physical methods to relieve stress through something more adventurous and enjoyable – but I’ll leave that element of your chosen stress relief activity to your imagination.

6. Take a long hot bath. What better way to unwind after doing one of the physical stress relief activities suggested above? Taking your squeeze ball with you is optional.

7. Take Control. How we think influences how we behave, which in turn influences our thoughts and can lead to a circular maze of “going nowhere fast,” which only amplifies and further perpetuates this cycle. Break the cycle by focusing on a solution to the problem at hand, instead of the problem itself, and choose a solution that leads you toward taking action toward dealing with the problem. It doesn’t have to be solved with one sweeping action, and in fact the nature of stressful problems is that they often need to be broken down into manageable steps that can be done, and which ultimately lead to their resolution.

Even when the problem itself is so big it feels overwhelming, it can often be acted on by reducing it to more manageable steps, and then acting on it one step at a time; and in cases like this, we obtain real stress relief when we begin overcoming that feeling of being overwhelmed by taking action toward dealing with the problem itself, one step at a time.

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About the Author

I studied my B.A. program at Memorial University, where I majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology. While there I completed a Certificate in Criminology in 2001. I’ve since worked in the field of addictions and substance abuse treatment, at an inpatient treatment facility. My current project is my website Stress Tips where I focus on tackling the problem of stress with effective solutions that provide real stress relief to my readers.

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