15 of the Most Effective 5-Second Strategies to Shut Out Stress ASAP

Stress is not an alien term tp anyone anymore, especially now when the world is fighting against Coronavirus. You are bound to feel stressed given the challenges that you face on a daily basis. Stress is how your body reacts to any kind of challenge. It takes an ugly turn when stress starts affecting your health. It can disrupt sleep, cause headaches and digestive issues, and make you angry and irritable. None of this would happen if you take out a few seconds and follow the below-given steps.

15 ways to immediately bust that stress

1. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Feeling stressed can have many reasons like hearing some bad news, losing something, or an argument with a colleague or spouse which triggers a cascade of physical and mental symptoms which is not that easy to deal with. What would you do in such a situation? Look after your breathing pattern and try to take slow, deep breaths as stress relievers.

Breathing can change how we feel because breathing and emotions are interconnected. Breathing in itself is so powerful that you can change the way you feel at the moment. Deep breathing pumps more oxygen to your brain and may lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

woman doing yoga and deep breathing
Image courtesy: The New York Times

2. What are you thinking?

In a stressful moment, you will have no control over your thoughts and they’ll be all over your mind. That’s when you need to take a pause and reframe your thinking. For example, if you’re unable to do a project and are afraid of getting fired then just think of it as an opportunity to show your boss how capable you are.

You’d often find yourself asking ‘why’ this thing is happening, that will dump you in a pile of questions and it’ll be hard to get yourself out. Instead of asking ‘why’, try asking what can be done to fix this so that you switch to a problem-solving mode.

3. Chant a mantra

There is so much power and positive energy in words. An easy way to release stress is to repeat a phrase from which you draw power and strength. Repeating that mantra will shift you from the current stressful zone to a peaceful zone and that mantra could be anything like ‘I am at peace’, ‘All is well’, or ‘I love and believe in myself fully’.

These days all you might be hearing is “This too shall pass”, which works too. Repeating a mantra is actually a type of meditation that can make you more resilient to stress. What you can do is that you can keep reminders of your mantras near the places you tend to get stressed.

4. Two words- Thank you

Under stress you tend to feel that things are not going right and that everything is so messed up. In that moment, you need to think about all the good things in your life by counting your blessings and this gratitude-trip will prove to be a stress reliever. People who practice gratitude have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress.

Being grateful for the good things in your life will keep stress at bay. The positivity that comes with it will help you face challenges in a better way.  

5. What’s your happy place?

To divert yourself in a stressful situation you can think about the vacation spot that you might have visited or a place where you feel calm and peaceful. Dive into as much details as you can to take off your mind from whatever that put you in stress. For example, if it’s a beach imagine walking on the sand barefoot and the colour of the ocean water along with the sound of the waves.

Take a moment and visualize the place which brought you joy and made you calm. Visualisation of a memory will uplift your soul and take all the stress away.

6. Regulate your posture

Image courtesy: The Physio Company

Slouching is not only a sign of stress but also puts a lot of physical pressure on your body. Your body posture can reflect how stressed you are. If you are overly stressed you might have a poor posture or struggle with aches and pains in your body.

When you experience stress what you need to do is check your posture and sit up straight which can help you feel better. Studies show that poor posture is related to anxiety, depression, helplessness, and irritability, so remember to keep your chin up and shoulders back.

7. Choose your pose

Yoga, as we all know, is a great stress reliever. “Power posing” can improve your posture and can help you to stay away from stress. Research says that posing like Superman-arms crossed, legs apart, and chin up can bring forth feelings of strength.

Yoga poses can not only help in taking control of your stress but also makes you feel empowered and calm. Shashankasana, or moon pose, can be done with buttocks placed on the folded legs and bending forward completely, head on the ground in front of the knees. It improves blood circulation in the head region and directs the vital energy towards it.

8. Step out for fresh air

There is no denying that fresh air is a necessity, stepping out for a walk or merely opening a window can help you get more oxygen and make you feel relaxed. Staying within the four walls has become a habit but in a stressful situation it is best to get some fresh air that can immediately shift your neurochemistry.

Even if you feel like you don’t have the time to step outside, try to take a short and quick break and you’ll see that when you come back you’ll be energized and recharged.

9. Relax your muscles

When you feel stressed, what you don’t notice is that every muscle in your body tenses up. Take out some time to consciously relax each part of your body which will make you feel better. Common stress-storing places are the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, and stomach.

The Instant Relaxation Technique is a deliberate tightening of the entire body, starting from the toes to the head region, and letting it go instantly. Visualise that all the negativity and tension is leaving your body. This way you become aware of your muscles and let go of stress very quickly.

10. Self-massage to feel light

A massage can relax your body instantly and the best part is you don’t even need to go to a spa. Do it yourself. Self-massaging your foot, head, neck, or shoulders reduces the stress hormone cortisol, boosts your immune system, and increases the feel-good hormones oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

Even a tennis ball or a cold water bottle on your feet or neck can help you relieve stress. Not only that, you can try rubbing pressure points like the webbing between your thumb and index finger, or your inner wrist. Another method is EFT tapping technique, where you tap certain points on your body such as between your eyes, your temples, and the center of your collarbone. 

11. Humming is soothing

Normally while meditating, people utter the word ‘om’ but an alternative to that is using a buzzing sound which calms you down when you’re stressed. Bhramari, a humming bee sound, can be done by closing the eyes and making the humming sound like a bee. These sound vibrations calm down the thought waves and relax the entire nervous system. External sound frequency resonates with the internal rhythm of the body and mind, creating peace and tranquility within. Press your ears closed for an even stronger vibration.

12. Shake away your stress

It’s that simple. Watch your stress vanish while you shake it off. In Africa and other cultures, shaking therapy is used for emotional healing—literally shaking off your perceived emotional threat of fear, self-doubt, or worry. When you feel like stress is building up in your body, start shaking it off from your feet all the way up to the top of your head.

13. Talk to the mirror

Image Courtesy: Spirituality & Health

Talking with yourself in the mirror can actually boost your confidence, strengthen you, and also relieves stress. You can do it by looking in a mirror and vocally speaking positive affirmations to yourself with affectionate conviction, to release worry, or to improve your self-confidence.

Any mirror would do, like a restroom mirror, car’s rear-view mirror, or even a compact. Watch yourself and say encouraging affirmations like ‘I am excellent at what I do,’ ‘I’ve got this! I am amazing,’ ‘I am an asset to this company,’ or ‘I am awesome!

14. Note it down

When there is too much on your mind you’re bound to get stressed. One by one write it down on a piece of paper and create a to-do list that will help you get organized and shift the stress from the brain to the paper. Or what you can do is create two columns ‘stressor’ and ‘action’ where you can mention the things that are stressing you out and against it the actions that are to be taken to solve it. You will find as you write down thoughtful action steps to the things that are stressing you out, you regain authority over circumstance.

15. Make use of all your senses

Each of your senses can be effectively used to relax your whole body. Listening to your favourite tune uses your sense of hearing and using aromatherapy uses your sense of smell to relax you. Oils like lavender and lemon reduce stress. Your sense of smell is the most nostalgic of all your senses so if you have a scent that reminds you of comfort, keep it handy.

Your sense of touch can be employed by holding a stick or anything that makes you feel more in control. Another way is to chew gum to use your sense of taste to curb stress. In addition to that, using your mind’s eye to visualize a happy place, you can use your sense of sight to look at calming images to lower stress levels.

 Don’t you already feel relieved and calm? Believe it or not, they work wonders. Do it daily and in no time they’ll become a habit. This way, stress away!