Quick Stress Relief

Some of these quick stress relief strategies require a little advanced planning. Most take some practice (You should definitely practice in moments when you are NOT feeling stressed). But these quick stress relief tips are not hard to prepare for or to learn. Soon I'll put some energy into writing information pages to teach you how to do this stuff. But for now this is just a quick overview ....

  • Take slow, deep belly breaths... frequently!

    Experiment with rhythms and timing to find the one that works for you, making sure that the breathing happens from your core, from your belly, not from your throat or the top half of your chest. One of the key physical symptoms of stress is the rapid, uncomfortable breathing that this practice can deal with. 
  • Count your breaths

    Count in and out count as one. Try different patterns of breathing; for example breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, or in through one nostril and out through the other.
  • Do a body scan, simply notice your tension location.

    Only notice whether that spot is tight or relaxed. Include your scalp and eyebrows, your neck and shoulders, even your fingers and toes. Once you've noticed the tension, it almost miraculously releases!
  • Stay in the present, the right here and now.
    Notice if and when your mind spinning into the land of worry. Then gently remind yourself that it isn't necessary or helpful and that you don't listen to that fear mongering inner dialogue anymore. You have better things to think about! Oh ... and remember to breath.

  • Engage your sense of humor.

    laughter may just be the magic pill for quick stress relief. For one thing laughter causes movement. It makes you shake, move and giggle which helps relax tension in your body and releases endorphins - the natural painkillers in the body and when you laugh you take in more oxygen. Just be sure laughter isn't at someone's expense or done at an inappropriate time (Seinfeld-kind-of-funny isn't helpful!). Laughing at yourself and your own mistakes (which are really "learning opportunities") makes it easy to relieve stress, especially at work. Especially if you demonstrate to yourself and others that mistakes are learning opportunities.
  • Thought stopping and conscious channel changing

    Catch yourself when you get on the hamster wheel of worry, or futurizing .... and gently notice, then conciously think differently (change the channel) even for a moment.  This is a great way quickly reduce stress in your mind, which of course helps with stress reduction of symptoms in your body and emotions as well. Make conscious choices for your self-talk by using thought-stopping skills to turn self-talk around. Some coaches and therapists recommend a very loud and firm internal "Stop!" when you notice the negative or spinning worry thoughts. I generally find it just as effective, if not more so, to be gentle with yourself and realize that you always do your best... and this habit of worry and negative self-talk is just a habit that you can break, gently.
  • Use the Power of the Pause

    Count to ten when you notice the stress! If 10 doesn't do it, count to 28 ... then maybe do it backward! Just don't let yourself get so relaxed you fall asleep (unless that's what you want to do! Gently waiting and giving yourself some time, paradoxically, is a quick stress relief strategy.

Prevent the Need for Quick Stress Relief

These next tips quick stress relief tips are actually about planning ahead to help you prevent getting all stressed out in the first place, especially when it comes to dealing with something beyond your control, prevent unnecessary stress.

  • Eat Well, Be Physically Active, Drink Water, and Get Plenty of Sleep.
    I suspect you already know first suggestion ~ the four-part mantra of healthy living and stress prevention. No need for me to go into detail about these very basic stress prevention strategies. The thing is, just having the knowledge isn't enough. We actually need to act on what we know and this is one place a life coach can come in very handy

  • Cultivate a network of friends for support
  • Develop a support system, a group of friends who can talk and laugh with you (I wonder which is more effective? talk-therapy? or laugh-therapy?) The network of friends can provide you with resources and support when you need it most. Having multiple people in your support system helps prevent any one of you from getting burned out from listening!
  • Always carry a paperback or magazine.

    A mindless novel often helps create a mini-vacation while you hang out waiting in line, or when you are on a telephone hold (and be conciously grateful for the time off). Or you can choose a great self-help or parenting book. You could actually bring your studies if you are student or work-related reading if you are a business person. Do any of those and you aren't just waiting around in line, you are accomplishing something and for many of us, accomplishment is a great stress reducer and stress preventer.
  • Plan Ahead

    Hide a key to your car, on the outside of your car and one to your house in an easy for you to remember spot, but hard for someone else to find. Never let your car get below half-tank and always check the tires while you are getting gas. Always bring along fantastic, healthy food bars and water for the kids in case you are delayed past dinner start up. Oh yeah, be sure your cell phone is charged up!
  • Do one thing at a time:

    ... or three things at the most! Don't buy into the Myth of Multi-tasking

Click here to learn more Ways to Manage Stress

Learn about Different Types of Stress here

Read about Dealing with Change

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