When your stress ball is nowhere around and you don’t have much time to spare, there are other ways to help you keep your cool. Believe it or not, sucking your thumb can be an effective way to handle your stress and you can even drink orange juice to lower your stress levels.
Bright Side takes a minute to introduce to you some of the quirkiest, yet easiest ways you can handle your stress.
1. Use your fingers as a “reset” button.
Putting your thumb in your mouth and blowing on it can help you to de-stress. By blocking your air passage with your thumb, then exhaling you’ll activate your vagus nerve. This in turn will decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed.
If it is too embarrassing to do this in public, you can always try applying pressure to a point between your second and third knuckles. This can work as a sort of a reset button, to make you feel less stressed-out.
2. Chew gum.
Chewing gum can reduce stress both at work and outside work, according to a study. The results of the study further showed that it can also reduce fatigue, anxiety, and depression and can lead to a more positive mood.
3. Gaze at never-ending patterns.
Known as fractals, never-ending patterns can be found in the nature around you. They can be seen in geometric shapes like shells, frost patterns on your window, spiderwebs, and flower petals. Many studies have shown that looking at them can reduce stress levels by up to 60%.
4. Keep a plant with you.
Not only can a plant be a decorative item on your work desk, it can work as a stress-reliever as well. The presence of plants in an office space instantly lowers blood pressure, and even increases productivity, according to a study.
5. Fake laughter.
Endorphins are chemicals that help you to relieve stress and when you laugh, you release these chemicals. Even if you’re faking laughter, it will create an effect on the inside that triggers the release of endorphins. When you crack up, increased oxygen goes through your organs and increases your blood flow. Just thinking about having a laugh, can lower you stress level.
6. Cry it out.
We live in a culture where adults crying might be seen as being weak. But actually, a good emotional cry is just what you need to reduce your stress. Stress “tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry, you release some of that,” says Stephen Sideroff, a clinical psychologist.
7. Strike a pose.
When you need quick relief from stress, you don’t have to do a full yoga class. You don’t even need a mat, just drop everything for a second and strike a pose. You will feel a little more calm and ready to carry on with your tasks.
8. Say a mantra.
Mantras are a form of meditation, which have been linked to the reduction of chronic stress, as well as a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. It doesn’t have to take long, and it doesn’t require any tools. All you have to do is close your eyes and repeat the calming words until you feel better.
9. Get your head below your heart.
You can get into position by simply bending and touching your feet while standing or getting on all fours. With your head below your heart, the blood rushes to your head rather than your feet. This will have the effect of calming your mind, and therefore reducing stress.
10. Drink more OJ.
Oranges are known for being rich in vitamin C and this may help people manage their stress more effectively. Vitamin C does this, in part, by lowering the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. So if drinking orange juice is already a part of your morning routine, you’re off to a great start.
11. Blow up a balloon.
When you’re stressed, you tend to take short, shallow breaths. But you need oxygen to help you relax. By blowing up a balloon, you’ll use your diaphragm to breathe more slowly and deeply. Your heart rate will also reduce and your muscles will relax.
12. Wash the dishes.
When you focus on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, the feel of the dishes, a study has shown that it could decrease your nervousness by 27%. So if you’re feeling stressed out, it’s time to ditch the dishwasher and wash the dishes yourself.
13. Massage your ears.
Just like your fingers, your ears are like “reset” buttons that can soothe you when you’re in stressful situations. A study has proven that therapy, done on the ears, can reduce your anxiety levels.
14. Hang out with your pet.
Petting your furry friends can help release feel-good brain chemicals in your body and your damaging stress hormones will be decreased. Your pet can help lower your blood pressure, make you feel less anxious, and even boost your immunity.
15. Squeeze yourself.
Physical touch releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that is linked to love and the formation of bonds. Even hugging yourself can actually release oxytocin and help soothe you when things are stressful. It provides a sense of security and calms down distressing emotions.
Which of these unconventional ways to deal with your stress have you tried? Did they work for you? Would you try all these suggestions if you’re stressed out?
Illustrated by Marat Nugumanov for Bright Side