Stress affects everyone, and while it can serve as a motivator to get work done, it can also feel crippling and prevent you from doing anything. What's worse, long-term stress can have negative effects on your health, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Luckily, there are relatively simple ways to get yourself to calm down and fast to nip your stressors in the bud. Most of these can be completed relatively quickly and then you can get your mind and body back on track instead of swirling into an unproductive state.
Breathing slowly will slow down your heart rate and calm you down. For this exercise, close your eyes and take a deep breath in from the center of your diaphragm, counting slowly to four. Now hold it in for seven seconds and slowly exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this at least three times until you notice a change in your mental state from stressed to calm. It can help to repeat a phrase that calms you as you breathe. Even something as simple as "I feel calm" can do wonders, so long as you continue to focus on the breathing.
Lying down puts your body in a resting state and, when paired with controlled breathing, can help reduce stress greatly. When stressed, try lying down on the floor and then inhale slowly, hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale slowly. Focus your mind on letting your body fully relax right into the floor, almost as if the floor was not there.
Good posture not only helps prevent back pain, but maintaining good posture serves as a wonderful meditative exercise to help reduce stress. Begin by sitting up straight and -- imagine that you are trying to get your shoulder blades to touch. Hold in that position for a few seconds. Then, move your shoulders are far forward as you can while relaxing your neck. Hold in this position for a few seconds. Repeat this process a few times, and you should be feeling the weight off your mind and body in no time.
Lavender is an essential oil worth having around for its calming abilities -- research has shown that lavender works like a sedative by stimulating cells in the part of your brain that controls fear, and more research has shown that using lavender essential oil for aromatherapy resulted in a positive shift of blood pressure and pulse of 17 cancer patients. All of these benefits tackle key causes of stress, making lavender a great choice to help combat it. Simply pour a few drops of lavender essential oil onto a tissue, place it under your nose and breathe in and out deeply and slowly several times.
You have many specific acupuncture points on your head, your face, your chest, your neck and your hands, and putting pressure on those areas can help your nervous system relax. Some of these pressure points include the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger, the area directly between your eyebrows, right in the middle of your breast bones in the center of your chest, and the two points on the back of the neck right below the base of the skull. Putting a light amount of pressure on any of these points will help calm you down very quickly.
It might seem like an odd thing to do in the middle of a workday, but if stress is overpowering you, going for a short walk or jog outside can do wonders, as exercise has been shown to help reduce stress. Get moving and taking controlled breaths to get your blood pressure and heart rate back into normal ranges and that should help alleviate much of your stress.
Even if you don't have a rocking chair, rocking yourself back and forth while focusing on your breath can help reduce stress very quickly. Rock slowly back and forth in your seat with your eyes closed and focusing on slow, deliberate breaths. If you have headphones, put on some soothing music or ambient noises to create a calming environment.
If you find yourself dealing with stress frequently, lifestyle changes may be needed. Talk to a doctor to see if any long-term changes need to be made. A healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the intake of substances such as coffee and cigarettes and maintaining a positive attitude are all linked to dealing with stress. These methods are good for dealing with stress in the moment, but it's important to take the steps to fight off high amounts of stress in the long-term.