1. Go out and have fun. Book yourself a vacation to the beach, or go to the mall and watch the latest feature film. Take time away from your workplace and enjoy different scenery. It doesn’t have to be somewhere far. You could have a picnic with your family or play a bit of football with your friends at the park. Find a way to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Spend some time with your pets. While you’re out in the park, why not bring your pet for a walk with you? Studies have shown that pets are beneficial to human health so engaging in playtime or simply sitting down for a cuddle with your two-year-old golden retriever and your little ragdoll kitten might just be what you need to take the stress out of your system.
3. Consume something that will calm your nerves. Do you ever wonder why you love chocolate so much? It may be due to more than just the taste. Recently, a clinical research from Swinburne University of Technology has successfully demonstrated the positive effects of polyphenols in dark chocolate on a person’s mood. Chocolate also contains a number of substances which aid in bringing a feeling of calmness to those who consume it.
Another popular source of stress-relief, especially among Asians, is green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that guard against cell damage and help prevent a number of degenerative diseases and contains other compounds that help relieve many forms of stress.
You can check out other stress-buster foods (and scents) here.
4. Immerse yourself in a book or music. Reading for pleasure is often regarded as a means to escape the real world and experience new things. Meanwhile, listening to music we love allows us to lose ourselves in the positive feelings their melodies evoke. Both activities are also backed by research as potent sources of stress relief, with music being used for psychological and physiological therapy and reading being known to reduce stress levels by 68 per cent. And the great thing about reading and listening to music is that they do not just help you to relax—they can also become very good sources of inspiration, which you can use once you get back to work.
5. Learn to say no. Whether it is because of an innate desire to help, a need to impress, or wanting to stay ahead, people have a tendency to accept work and requests without pausing to consider if they can still fit it among the list of things they already have to accomplish. This often leads to things piling up one after the other, that we often end up confusing ourselves about which task to prioritise. If worse comes to worst, we might not even be able to finish any of the work we set out to do.
So before agreeing to do a specific task or grant someone a particular favour, think about how important it is for you to take on this task yourself, and whether you would be able to give it your full effort and complete it on time. If the request is not of your direct and immediate concern, and you feel like you will not be to address it with enough attention, it is best to politely turn it down. Not only will you avoid the pressure that comes with juggling more things than you can handle, you also ensure that you are being fair to the people you have said yes to by giving your 100% to deliver them with good results.
6. Talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling. When things get tough, who can you count on for a shoulder to cry on? If you keep to yourself about your problems and bottle up your feelings inside, the negative energy might well up and it could make you feel like you are about to implode. Having someone to vent out your feelings to can be a great source of release and bring you instant relaxation. And what’s even better about going to a trusted friend for this is that they will not only listen to you with an open mind, they can also provide you, with an open heart, the emotional support (and maybe even more) that you need to help you get through your ordeal.
7. Meditate. Pray. Two more well-known ways to reduce stress are meditation and prayer. Psychologists have found that meditation affects certain regions of our brain which help decrease anxiety while increasing calmness and rationality. And the great thing about meditation is that, if it is done properly and regularly, it progresses from simply being able to relieve stress into becoming a long-term aide in keeping our stress and anxiety levels under control.
Prayer, too, has very positive effects, not only on our spiritual well-being, but our mental health as well. Whether it is praying on our own or as part of a community, or even receiving prayer from others, the very act alleviates negativity from our minds and brings us inner peace for a healthier soul.
8. Pursue a passion. Stop. Give yourself a moment to think: Are you living to work, or working to live? If all you ever do is work, work, work, there is a great chance that stress is also going to be a big part of your daily routine. People are driven to work hard for a number of reasons: for financial stability, to be able to provide for a family, to feel a sense of fulfillment in having a successful career. But one thing that people often neglect is that financial freedom means being able to do things for yourself. So when—no, before stress at work starts eating you up, recall or find an activity that you love and work towards doing something solely for yourself for a change. Have a fondness for music? Sit down in front of a piano or bring out your guitar and sing your heart out. How about a way with words? Spring out some poetry or write a short story or some essays. Do you get a different thrill when you’re pumping up for the great outdoors? Grab a bike or some hiking gear and set out on an adventure! You can also bring along your loved ones who share the same interests for additional fun. Not only will you get to de-stress by doing something you are passionate about, you also get to gain additional skills and have additional things in your life to be inspired about.