WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 06, 2015
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10 Totally Unexpected Ways to Reduce Stress

It’s a fact. On a daily basis you get to experience high levels of anxiety that seems to be taking over your life. Trying to catch up with the workload and still manage to provide for your family in any way possible seems to be the most difficult task in the world. Despite the fact that you are well aware that stress on its own is useless and unproductive, you just can’t help it but worry about stuff that you can’t change.  

This, however, is your biggest mistake. When you are stressed out you get so lost in your negative thoughts that you simply can’t look at the big picture.  That’s when you stop focusing on the good things in life and you end up feeling weak and sick.  

So, what if I told you there are 10 ways you can reduce stress every time it gets to you? Yes you’ve heard right, apart from meditation and yoga there are some easier ways to get rid of stress.

See Also: Become Less Stressed in Just 60 Seconds

Check out these simple relaxation techniques that you can use while at work or at home to effectively reduce stress and enjoy your day:

1. Finger painting

Finger painting
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Expressing yourself through any kind of art is liberating. More specifically, finger painting allows you to be more creative without any restrictions or expectations so you get to experiment with finger paints in any way you want just like a kid would do which is extremely relaxing.  

2. Massage your ears

You may laugh at this, but massaging your ears is actually a very good stress reliever. This releases endorphins in your brain which make you feel better and the tiny reflexes on your ears can relax some areas of your body. The way to do it is rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger, squeezing your ears’ outer edges all the way to the top and then massaging the part behind your ears.   

3. Call your mum

If you and your mum are still on good terms, you can call her to help you reduce stress. After examining how young girls reacted under stressful situations, scientists found out that hearing the sound of their mum’s voice reduced their stress hormones and increased their feel-good hormone, oxytocin.

4. Sniff an apple

As weird as it sounds, sniffing an apple or any other citrus fruit can take away headaches and relieve you from stress. Studies have shown that people with chronic migraines who got a scent of the green apple aroma reported that they were experiencing less pain at the start of a headache.

5. Reward yourself

It doesn’t matter if you feel you haven’t done anything great today, because you definitely have. Don’t forget to reward yourself every step of the way especially when you really down and feeling too much pressure because that’s when you need it the most. No matter how big or small your accomplishment is, it was worth it so remind yourself of what an awesome job you did at work today.

6. Look at fractals

Research shows that looking at fractals – repeating similar patterns in nature and art can help you relax your mind. These could be the ocean waves, snowflakes or something that is repeated as this causes a calming effect in your brain. Do this for 20 minutes every day and you will start noticing the difference.

7. Take a beer bath

For beer lovers, this is the ultimate stress reliever. Fill up your bathtub with beer, dive in and soak in there and you will find that it is unexpectedly relaxing. This is because beer has phytoestrogens whose fragrance can be incredibly soothing for some people. If you don’t want to waste liters of beer filling your bathtub go to a beer bath spa or try having a regular warm bath which has the same de-stressing effects.

8. Blow up a balloon

When you are stressed you tend to take shorter and shallower breaths than usual. In order to help you relax, try blowing up a balloon. This should allow you to return to the normal pace of your breathing taking deeper and slower breaths. Also, it will relax your muscles and reduce your heart rate.  

9. Add plants to your desk

Plants can be your best friends at time of crisis. Adding plants to your desk space or home has scientifically proven to be beneficial to your health. Not only will it make your work area and environment more beautiful but also reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.  

10. Eat stress-relief super foods

In case you didn’t know there are some foods that act as excellent stress relievers. Try out asparagus, avocado, eggs, salmon, milk, almonds, oranges, spinach, pumpkin seeds, mangos, dark chocolate and oatmeal. Most of these foods can give you useful vitamins and proteins, omega-3, vitamin C, B2 and E and can create a relaxing effect producing calm-inducing hormones.

As you can see there are various ways in which you can relieve stress. If this happens to you regularly you can try out any of these relaxing techniques to ensure that you are enjoying life to the fullest while stress-free!  

As a final note, check out this incredibly useful video from Marie Forleo that talks about what stress essentially is and suggests some other ways on how to control it:

See Also: How to Organise Your Thoughts so You Become Less Stressed

So are you suffering from stress? Which technique(s) will you choose to cure your anxiety? Let us know in the comments section below…

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