Don’t you love it when you’re stressed out and ready to pull your hair out, and someone comes along and tells you to just calm down or quit worrying? How’s that work for you? Probably about as much as it helps me—it doesn’t. In fact, in all likelihood, it ramps your stress up even more. And nobody needs that! So, whether you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or worried about the state of the world, I’m sure you’ll find the anxiety and stress relief hacks below are not only helpful but practical as well.
6 Hacks For Anxiety & Stress Relief That Really Work
1. Control your breathing
You might think that breathing is involuntary. But that’s only partly true. Your breathing is automatic so much as you don’t consciously think about your breathing all the time. Also, when you feel stressed, your breathing rate and pattern change without you thinking about it as part of the ‘fight or flight response.’
However, there are times when we need to control our breathing when we do things such as talking, singing, playing musical instruments, swimming, etc.
Therefore, it shouldn’t seem such a stretch to think that you can successfully bring about anxiety and stress relief by controlling your breathing pattern. And in fact, it’s one of the easiest, fastest, and most effective ways to reduce anxiety.
2. Ask a “1-for-1” question
Unfortunately, when anxiety ramps up, your mind wants to go to the worst-case scenario and park there. So, to rebalance your perspective, try replacing every negative thought with a positive thought. For example, instead of thinking, “What if this plane crashes?” you should swap it out for the thought, “What if I arrive on time and it’s perfect weather?”
Or, “What if I don’t meet my sales quota this month and I get fired?” Flip that question upside down and ask yourself, “What if I make the most sales out of the whole department?”
It does take practice, but when you start focusing on more favorable outcomes, your mind has fewer opportunities to ruminate on negative thoughts.
3. Clench your fists
Place your hands down by your side. Ball your fists up and clench them as tight as you can. Then, take a deep breath and loosen your fists a little bit at the end of your first exhale. Continue to take deep breaths and relax your fists a little more with each exhale until your hands are completely open. Finally, stretch your fingers out as much as you can.
4. Peel an orange
You’ve probably heard about using the scent of lavender for stress relief, but it turns out citrus may bring a sense of calm also. In fact, it is believed that the smell of orange can relieve stress by over 70%. And the act of peeling gives your hands something to do, which other research shows can also help relieve stress and anxiety.
For the times when it’s not practical to peel an orange, using essential oils is a good alternative for getting that whiff of calming citrus.
5. Put your phone down
When you feel stressed and anxious, it’s probably not a good idea to scroll through all your social media apps. I’m not saying that all social media is bad. However, it often leads to feelings such as frustration, inadequacy and being left out. Or cause you to think about all the desirable things you don’t have in your life at the moment (i.e., a partner, children, travel excursions). Can you see where that can lead to increased anxiety or stress?
Really, do yourself a favor and take a time-out from the overload of misinformation, social comparisons, world problems, and politics, etc., and do something instead that will improve your mood.
6. Tapping your body
Years ago, I was introduced to this technique at my dentist when I had some work done on a tooth. I told them I was nervous, and as the dentist started to give me the numbing shot, the assistant started tapping on my arm. Now, I admit, I was puzzled and thought, “What in the world is she doing that for?” I later learned this was called the EFT technique (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is clinically proven to be a stress, anxiety, and pain reliever.
For a walk-through of this technique, click here to give it a try.
“Calmness is the cradle of power.” — Josiah Gilbert Hollan
Of course, anxiety-reducing hacks are not one-size-fits-all. So, it might take you a bit of time and effort to find your perfect hack. But if you keep at it, you’ll find the ones that work for you. However, if you want to jumpstart your learning of additional anxiety and stress relief techniques, consider working with a coach. You’ll find the support and encouragement that a coach can provide will be a huge benefit to you as you walk through this process.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you want more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call. I’d love to cheer you on as you discover you can master anxiety and stress, allowing you to live a more balanced and less anxious-filled life.
This article was originally published on My Anxiety Link