Quick Stress Relievers

I put together this list for somebody else, and then thought I might share it here as well. I am not going to go into all the details of why and how these things work. At the end I include the list in a printable form you could put in your pocket or use as a bookmark.

When stressed, or nearly into panic mode, or needing to fight off that fight or flight reaction (because your response is emotionally from within you, not because you are actually in danger), anxious, etc, try these:

1. Recite the times tables to yourself- start at the sixes if it’s not distracting enough to start at the lower numbers. If you are math whiz, then do something more complicated. It just needs to be complicated enough to require a *bit* of focus, not so hard you need pencil and paper.

2. Go over something you’ve memorized- Bible verses, poems, speeches, dialogue from a play or movie, sports stats, a speech you had to give or have coming up.

3. Sing a song. Singing songs is really a neat way to do all kinds of good things for mind and body. One of them is that singing releases oxytocin (although less so if you are a professional singer).

4. Cold water on your face, or even dunking your head and face in cold water, can do wonders. Gives new meaning to ‘go soak your head,’ right? It’s supposed to be especially beneficial to chill down the eyes and the area around the eyes, so if you can’t soak your head or splash your face with very cold water, try putting a chilled wet washcloth over your eyes, or get a chilled beverage and hold the container against first one closed eye and then the other.

5. Inhale through the nose for a count of 7, hold your breath a few seconds and then slowly exhale through the mouth. You want to be sure you are breathing deeply, through the diaphragm.

6. Exercise- if you can, do a few quick pushups or sit ups or jumping jacks. Jog in place. Run upstairs. Take a very brisk walk around the building. Do some quick stretches.

7. Get a massage. Hug somebody for 30 seconds or more.

8. If you’re an animal person, snuggle with your pet.

9. Gargle. It doesn’t really matter what- gargling your drinking water before swallowing it is fine.

10. Hum- works for some of the same reasons singing does.

11. Find a repetitive somewhat mindless activity you can do- some people use a fidget these days. Crocheting, knot tying, knitting, macrame, drawing, origami, whittling, adult colouring books also work.

12. Laugh

13. Something called Loing Kindness Meditation (LKM)- which to me looks a lot like just spending a few minutes earnestly praying for good things for other people.

14. Cold shower

15. Hold your breath, pinch your nose and try to breathe out, like clearing your ears for a dive if you scuba dive or to help with high pressure. Sit down while doing this because it can make you dizzyy.

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