Lets face it, there is simply no way to completely avoid stress in our lives. With deflate-gate behind us, I thought a few tips on how to deflate our own stress might be applicable. Whether it’s related to an issue at work, a fight with a friend, or problems with family, everyone feels stressed sometimes. In fact, more than 50% of us are concerned about the levels of stress in their daily lives. And while taking the time to lay back on a doctor’s couch may seem like the only remedy, most of us are only seeking ways to get a quick reboot and to get back in the game. So what kind of magical life hacks can we perform that will allow us to lift some of the stress that tends to deflate us (ok, I’ll stop now) down daily. Here are just a few hacks that I think can get you refocused, reenergized and back on track…in less than 5 minutes.
1. Contract-Relax: This is one that works like a charm for me when I can’t fall asleep at night. If you’re like me, when the lights go off, the brain turns on and the wheels begin to spin. One thing that has been shown to be effective is to contract and relax your muscles. Starting from your toes and working your way all the way up to clenching your jaw and squeezing your eyes shut, begin to contract and relax your muscles. Doing this sends a message of relaxation throughout your entire body and your mind will soon follow.
2. Breath Deep: Taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure
3. Listen to Music: One of my personal favorites. For me, turning on some Springsteen, Dave Matthews or even some Eminem will get me refocused and chill in minutes. Research points to multiple ways in which music can help relieve stress, from triggering biochemical stress reducers to assisting in treating stress associated with medical procedures
4. Laugh it Off: Laughter has been shown to reduce the physical effects of stress such as fatigue. My personal favorite is to listen to my pal Gary Gulman or some Louis CK. Whatever makes you laugh and relate is always therapeutic.
5. Hugs: Hugging has actually been shown to reduce blood pressure. Hugging is also a great way to reconnect and exchange positive energy between people. So, when in doubt, hug it out.
6. Take a Nap: A quick power nap can reduce cortisol levels. Find a quiet spot. Set the phone on airplane mode and the alarm for 20 minutes and you will wake up ready and raring to go.
7. Walk a Pet: Another personal favorite of mine is to take my dog for a long walk; at night. Its quiet, dark and the coupled with some great music or a comedic soundtrack, it can make for a perfect de-stressor.
8. Kiss Someone: Preferably someone who knows you and doesn’t mind being kissed, otherwise, this can be counterproductive in your mission to relax. Kissing has also been shown to lower blood pressure (not in all areas)
9. Exercise: You need not go to the gym. Get up from your desk and walk up and down a few flights of stairs at work or perhaps bang out a few sets of push-ups and dips at your desk. Whatever you choose, we all know that it will increase endorphins and other aspects of our body’s opioid system.
10. Massage: C’mon did you really expect me to leave this off? However, try walking over to an office mate and rubbing their shoulders for 5 minutes. You will help them to ‘feel better’ and the deed of doing this will in turn provide you with positive emotions (why do you think I love what I do).
Take a whack at incorporating a few of these easy life hacks into your daily and/or nightly routine and you will almost certainly see your levels of stress diminish and feelings of positivity rise.