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6 Ways to Reduce Stress in 60 Seconds

Last updated: March 2019

I was 6 when I first remember being told by my dermatologist to reduce stress. I am not entirely sure what skills he expected me to possess to reduce my stress levels at that age, but needless to say, all of the things I did are costing me money in therapy sessions now.

Stress is a big problem. I learned one technique that made a huge difference after my recent heart rate revelation and then a few more since. I hope some of these can help you when your heart rate starts rising to astronomical levels while your seated.

1. Breathe

I know this sounds crazy boring, but it is crazy useful. Stop, breathe in a really deep breath, and then breathe out a really deep breath. Listen to the sound of the air as it goes in, feel the temperature of the air as it moves in, and feel how deeply the air moves into the lungs; then breathe out.

This stops your mind and brings you back into your body. It also changes the air that sits at the bottom of your lungs, because when you breathe out regularly, you don’t empty your lungs completely. This additional well-oxygenated air will, therefore, have the upside of making you feel a little perkier. Don't keep doing this for too long though. Otherwise, you pass out.

There is a variation on this where you breathe in white light, and breathe out black smoke- as all of the 'toxins' leave the body but I end unfeeling guilty for polluting the earth so this doesn’t work for me. Additional variations are breathing in peace and tranquillity (or whatever it is you want) and breathing out what you have in excess to share with the world, like Happiness.

2. Read a motivational quote (or the closest leaflet)

The motivational quote is excellent for brainfood but the real benefit here is reading, even just for a moment. When the body is in stress mode, it's often in fight or flight. Your body cannot be in adrenaline mode to save your body from impending death and also read. They are the opposite, and therefore reading can reset your brain into realizing that you are not going to die in the next 5 minutes and it should downgrade the high alert status.

3. Get skin to skin contact

Humans are built to be social animals and skin to skin contact can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone that makes you fat around your tummy - Cortisol.1 I am not going to lie- hugs are the best in my opinion but if your at work, a good old fashioned back slap, handshake or arm tap should do the trick.

Sometimes, it even works on yourself. There are certain points I can massage on myself, and I feel my stress levels plummet almost instantly; my shoulders and certain pressure points in my head.

4. Text a friend a lunch date request

Sometimes we get stressed because we are bogged down and/or feeling overworked. Sometimes we just need someone who "gets it." Usually, a good friend will quickly deflate any situation, and just knowing that meeting them is somewhere in the future can help. You don’t even have to arrange a time- simply send off a text that says "Fancy a coffee soon?" and then think about how you will feel when you unburden yourself at your next coffee date.

5. Think gratitude

I used to hate the concept of gratitude as too woo, but now I love it, and it helps me stave off the sad feelings when they start to creep back in. Its part of my everyday life, not in a routine, but the way it works for me is spontaneous. My trigger is anger or frustration. If I start to feel angry about something, or more commonly frustrated at technology/the combination of wax crayons and children under 5, I tune into that and find something at that moment to be grateful for. It's usually the internet for allowing me to live in the countryside and still connect to the world, or the feeling of happy cuddles from a post-tantrum toddler.

6. Open an app and book something

So this is similar to texting a friend except this is all about you. I have an app to book classes for my gym, I have an app for Creative Live, and I have an app for shopping on Amazon.

When I am getting stressed, I can book something for myself: a yoga class at the gym with two finger taps for example or onto a kickboxing class if I'm feeling angry or frustrated.

I might bookmark a class on the creative live homepage to look forward to watching later (at the time of writing you can attend one class free a day) and worst case (because if you get stressed a lot this gets expensive) I buy something from my "saved for later" or wishlist on Amazon.

Making a purchase releases feel-good chemicals too so it can get addictive quickly- definitely not one for regular use! Unless your very wealthy and need lots of stuff.

Do you use any of these in your life?

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