20 Stress Busting Tips You Haven’t Heard Before: And How to Manage Stress in the Moment
Everyone knows stress is not good for you but sometimes it is unavoidable. Have you ever been in an important meeting, sitting in traffic, watching your child’s football game or doing your taxes…
…and you slowly start feeling the overwhelming feelings of anxiety, disappointment or worry take over? Or perhaps you can even sense your blood pressure skyrocketing and you can feel your heart in your stomach within seconds of seeing, hearing, saying or realizing something?
Because we know we can’t live lives devoid of stress, we need to be equipped to handle it as quickly and as best as possible.
Obviously you can’t walk out of a stressful meeting at work, but there are things you can do in the moment to stop the stress cascade in your mind. Use the list below based on the situation and how much time you have to pause and then reconnect.
20 Tips to reduce stress in the moment
5 Initial Steps
1. Stop: The first action is to stop what you are doing to either halt the stress causing situation or to give yourself a much needed pause. Stop the situation by either removing yourself from the room temporarily, stop talking/yelling, stop engaging in the conversation, step away from your desk/computer/papers, pull the car into a parking lot…you get the idea.
2. Silence: Turn the music off, go to quiet room, excuse yourself to the restroom, put silencing headphones on so you can see the baby but not hear the crying. Reduce the brain stimulation in your surroundings as best as possible.
3. Smile: Smiling is probably the last thing you think of. However, the simple muscle mechanism of smiling triggers an emotional response that can help you relax and potentially trigger happy hormones.
4. Scale It: Rank your situation or your stress level on a scale from 0-10 to put it in perspective. Ten would be a catastrophic disaster, five would be the “waking up late for a test” feeling and zero would be playing in a field of flowers with unicorns.
5. Simplify It: Do your best to calm your mind and think about the situation in the most elemental form. What is the bad thing that happened? Why is it bad? What are the possible consequences? What can I do to stop or improve the situation? And what can I do to manage the consequences?
15 Steps to reduce the stress and minimize the physical and emotional reactions
We all know the typical stress reduction tips-take deep breaths, call a friend, go for a walk, etc. Here are a 15 tips that hopefully are unfamiliar and help jolt your body out of a stressful situation.
- Wash your face and hands
- Do 30 jumping jacks, 20 body weight squats, 10 pushups, then rest laying down for 5 minutes.
- Write on paper: the situation, how you feel, etc
- Drink water or herbal tea
- Go near to running water or listen to water/ocean music
- Borrow a dog to play with: throw a ball for fetch
- Go through a stretching routine
- Wiggle your toes in grass or rub your feet
- Pull out a coloring book and markers
- Ask someone to dance with you or dance by yourself. Pull out some serious Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers even if you don’t know how.
- Smell something nice: flowers or essential oils
- Visualize your favorite vacation spot
- Eat super duper healthy if you are hungry
- Close your eyes for 60 seconds
- Watch a funny video or read a joke online
Bonus: Say a little prayer asking for peace, even if you are not religious. You might be surprised.