By Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP
Stress is the body’s reaction to an event or situation. Primarily a physiological response, stress is also experienced psychologically (i.e. worry). Too much stress is associated with mental health issues and chronic health problems.
Because we often have no control over stressors in our lives, it’s important to effectively manage stress.
Here are eight fast-acting stress relievers for short-term relief. (Click here for additional mood boosters.)
8 Fast-Acting Strategies for Stress Relief
Less time sitting = Better mood. A recent study found that replacing sedentary behavior with sleep or light exercise (i.e. walking, gardening, etc.) improved mood. Substituting sleep was associated with decreased stress levels in addition to enhanced mood.
“Nature therapy” is 100% free and highly effective. Research indicates that spending as little as 10 minutes outdoors can improve mood.
Keep a plant in your office and place it where it’s easy to see. Tending for and gazing at a small indoor plant may reduce stress during the workday.
You’ll feel more relaxed and less stressed after receiving a head-and-neck or neck-and-shoulder massage. One study found that participants experienced reduced rates of both physiological and psychological stress after 10 minutes of massage.
Casual flirting and light-hearted banter at work may alleviate stress. Research indicates that engaging in flirtatious behaviors can lead to positive feelings about self while enhancing mood.
Drinking Matcha green tea may lead to feeling less stressed. Researchers found that mice who consumed Matcha powder or extract experienced reductions in anxiety.
When faced with a stressful situation, have your significant other present to ease your anxiety. If your partner is unavailable, visualize him/her; simply thinking of a significant other has comparable positive effects on blood pressure and stress reactivity.
Frequent laughter seems to be a buffer for stress; people who laugh a lot experience fewer stress-related symptoms. Researchers found that the more someone laughed, the less likely they were to feel stressed.