How to Relieve Stress Quickly

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Stress relief doesn’t have to come in the form of an expensive 90-minute massage. When you’re feeling overwhelmed there are plenty of ways you can help relieve stress quickly, and easily.

I don’t know a single person out there who couldn’t benefit from a little stress relief, everyday honestly. Between emails, squeezing in workouts, and keeping up all of your relationships—just to name a few things—the stress can build up fast.

But the good news is that stress relief doesn’t have to be a big ordeal that you have to do in one way or another to achieve XYZ amount of stress relief. There are plenty of techniques out there designed to calm your nerves and relieve stress in a quick, easy, and usually cheap way. Read on for tips on how to relieve stress quickly.

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Tea

If you’re always on the go, your go to pick-me-up might be a cup of coffee. But did you know drinking a cup of tea is a simple way to quickly relieve stress? Brewing a nice mug of tea can take under 10 minutes (depending on your tea of choice) and has multiple benefits.

Drinking black tea (up to four cups a day) helps people de-stress faster and can keep their cortisol levels low, even after a stressful event. If you want to take it a step further away from caffeine, opt for a cup of chamomile tea. This tea works as a sleeping aid, a relaxant, and a nerve tonic, making it a viable option for quick stress relief after a long day.

DIY Massage

Massages, at least the good ones that aren’t in the middle of the mall, can be time consuming, expensive, and hard to fit into your busy schedule. Massages help lower stress by calming the sympathetic nervous system, so learning techniques to use on yourself at home might not be a bad idea in between Groupon massage appointments.

There are different techniques for tired eyes (staring at a computer all day?), headaches, hand pain, neck tension, tense shoulders, etc, etc. If your stress in manifesting in a painful way, there’s probably a self massage technique for it.

One of my favorite go-to DIY massages is to roll a tennis ball over aching shoulders, as that’s one of my body’s favorite spots for stress tension. Try them all, and find one that works for you to relieve stress quickly.

Journal​

Journaling isn’t just for the happy times in your life like a promotion or an engagement. It’s also a great way to relieve stress quickly, by creating a healthy and safe outlet for emotions related to our perceived stressors.

Studies have found that journaling at least 20 minutes on different days can help lower perceived stress. Journaling enables writers to organize thoughts in a way that accepts, processes, and releases negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, or sadness. If you are new to journaling, there are dozens of helpful prompts out there to help you get started, and it can be as easy as making a list of all the things bothering you before you go to bed each night.

leather journal

SHOP JOURNALS

Dance Party!​

When has a mini dance party not helped any situation be less stressful? The Journal of Advanced Nursing published an article asserting that patients who listened to their favorite songs were less anxious before surgery. But you didn’t need academia to tell you the positive benefits of popping on your favorite music.

Songs we love, and dancing to them, boost positive emotions and endorphins, which work together to quickly relieve stress quickly. Even if you choose nature sounds over music, focusing on sounds that calm you will be sure to change your mood for the better.

Unplug From Tech​

Are you checking your email first thing after you wake up in the morning? Do you stay refreshing your email all day long? If you are, it might be contributing to your stress. Research has found that constantly checking emails keeps you at a consistently high alert, with higher than normal heart rates.

The world isn’t going to end if you unplug from your technology for a little bit each day. Start with periods of 15 minutes to relieve stress quickly, and build up to whatever you can tolerate really. In today’s day and age it can be so easy to become addicted to our technology, and staying connected all the time might not be great for our long term well-being.

Practice Gratitude​

This tip can be very similar to journaling, but is just as important to deserve it’s own shoutout. Gratitude is an important and easy tool we can all use in order to center ourselves in the moment, and build our emotional wellness homes in the positives of our present.

A large portion of stress, at least for me, are scenarios that I’ve built up in my mind worrying about the future, or focusing on the negatives of my current situation while neglecting my blessings.

Gratitude can help relieve stress quickly be re-centering your focus back to those who love you, the things you take for granted, and the small pleasures in everyday life. A great way to practice gratitude is, of course, gratitude journaling, but it can definitely be as easy as naming three things you are grateful for while you wait for your car to warm up in the morning.

Meditate​

Meditation isn’t just for the Dalai Lama, anyone can do it. And it’s great for relieving stress quickly. Meditating can be as easy as sitting up straight with both feet on the floor, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing or repeating a positive mantra for a few minutes a day.

These days, there are different apps available that can guide you in different meditations if you want to get creative, or even if you just need a little help staying focused on simply meditating. Daily meditation has been shown to alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you less susceptible to everyday stress.

Benefits of Meditation

Take a Walk​

If you’ve seen Legally Blonde, or even if you’ve sat through a high school Biology course, you know that endorphins are amazing things. Endorphins are hormones secreted in the brain that make you feel great and build up your tolerance to stress.

Exercise activates endorphins, but you don’t need to take an hour long Zumba class in order to get the benefits. Taking a brisk walk around the block, or parking lot if you’re at work, is a great way to relieve stress quickly and naturally. The key is simply to get your blood pumping a bit, and your mood to boost a bit.

Deep Breath

When is the last time you really focused on your breathing? As one of the functions our body naturally takes care of without needing our minds to carry out the action, we often take breathing for granted.

During an especially stressful moment, taking a strong deep breath is a way to relieve stress quickly. We all remember having crying fits that would take the breath out of us as children, a very stressful situation, and how satisfying it felt to slow down and finally be able to take deep breaths again. The same situation applies as adults.

If you’re really trying to be intentional about breathing deeply, place your hand on your belly, sit up straight, close your eyes, and slowly inhale deeply, hold it for a moment, and exhale your stress out as you finish the breath.

As you may have noticed, all of these tips for relieving stress quickly are relatively easy and cheap (unless you buy very expensive tea leaves or journals) meaning that all of these mechanisms are accessible to you. All the time. Any time the stress creeps in. It goes without saying that stress, especially chronic stress, wreaks all kinds of havoc on our internal bodies and mental wellness in the long term.

Use these strategies to relieve stress quickly—or find a few you like even more—and live well.

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About the author

Emily Strickler
Emily is a public health nerd with a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and Health Policy from Stanford. As a writer Emily focuses on ways to make health more approachable in order to give readers a sense of agency in their own lives. She loves talking about easy ways to live a healthy life, pinterest hacks, and fuzzy socks from Target. For tweets about what’s going on in the public health world, follow her on Twitter, @healthyemily16

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