Unconventional (but Scientific) Tips to Stress Less
Today’s adult human experience can be quite challenging at times. Juggling to-do lists, managing relationships, taking care of our families, meeting work deadlines, and dealing with unexpected challenges can leave us frazzled, and feeling taxed and drained most of the time.
Life is too often filled with noise, bills and commuting, and other stressors. If we don’t begin to reduce accumulated stress levels, then over time it can take a toll on us, and lead to chronic health conditions. We must take action to ensure our bodies and minds do not suffer long-term detriments from worrying, stressing and reacting to environmental triggers.
The good news is, we can take a scientific approach to reducing our stress levels. Researchers have discovered some easy (and surprising) habits we can implement to mitigate feelings of overwhelm, and help stress to dissipate more quickly when it does rise.
Read on to learn a few of the top science-backed ways to quickly de-stress each day
Practice These Top Healthy Habits to Feel More Calm and Less Stressed
#1 Do This 7 Minute Exercise Daily
We all know that regular exercise is key for better physical and mental health, but exercise is often on the bottom of our priority list, especially when we’re busy. But what if it only took seven minutes per day to feel less stressed? The trick is to turn up the intensity level on your seven-minute workouts.
The seven-minute exercise program was developed by a performance coach and exercise physiologist from the Human Performance Institute in Orlando Florida. The idea was to come up with a way for busy people to get the benefits of a full-body workout in just seven minutes. Some quick exercises to try including, jumping jacks, triceps dips, and side planks. Really focus on working on all areas of your body to build strength and flexibility, while also boosting your mood and lowering stress.
#2 Jump on the Trampoline For 10 Minutes
If you ever jumped on a trampoline as a kid, then you know just how great it is to just put you in a better mood. Not only that but getting some trampoline time in can help boost your heart rate and burn calories. Don’t have a big space for a huge trampoline? No problem. Get a small one to keep in a corner of your home where you get your exercise in.
This one may sound strange, gargling with water regularly can help stimulate the vagus nerve, and thus help boost working memory performance. The vagus nerve can assist with memory and preventing inflammation, so stimulating it with regular gargling may be able to help calm inflammation related to excessive stress, and just help you feel a bit calmer.
#4 Light Therapy
Light therapy, like light therapy boxes offered at certain spas and gyms, may be able to help boost mood. Dr. Raymond Lam, a researcher from the department of physiatry at the University of British Columbia talks about how light therapy may boost the production of those feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, helping us feel our best.
#5 Happiness Maximized at 57 Degrees
Getting outside is healing for all, and spending more time outside may be exactly what you need to feel a little less stressed out. The ideal mood-boosting temperature is thought to be 57°F, so don’t be afraid to bundle up a bit and get outside for some fresh air. Aim for at least 20 minutes each day.
#6 Smile More
Have you ever tried smiling while on a phone interview or during an important phone conversation? Smiling can really make a difference not only in how you present yourself (even over the phone) but smiling more often can also help you feel better.
A Michigan State University study found customer service workers who smiled when they cultivated positive thoughts, had overall better moods. So, think about sitting on a beach on your dream vacation during work. It may help you smile, and help you feel less stressed throughout your workday.
#7 Plan A Vacation
Even if a vacation isn’t going to be in the cards for the very near future, even just planning one may help ease stress levels. An interesting study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that even just the simple act of planning a trip was able to boost happiness and excitement. So, start planning your next vacation, even if you won’t be able to take the trip until next year.
#8 Share Three Positive Things from Your Day Each Evening
When you sit down for dinner after a long day, share three positive things from your day. Or, if you can’t think of three, pick one! Talking about the good things from your day can really help boost happiness and help you feel less stressed out. Eating alone? Try writing them down.
#9 Embrace Aging
While there tends to be a negative stigma when it comes to the aging process, studies have actually found that we may get happier as we get older. This could have to do with what we put our time and energy into, or it could just be that life experience helps us find some equilibrium. No matter what the reason is, try to embrace the aging process, and appreciate what aging can do for you. Eat clean, stay active, and spend time taking care of yourself to help you age gracefully and stay healthy all at the same time.
#10 Stop to Replenish Your Sleep Debt
Have young kiddos and feel like it’s been years since you slept through the night? Or, maybe all that stress is just keeping you from getting quality sleep. No matter what may be impacting your sleep, now’s the time to start replenishing that sleep debt. Sleep deprivation may have a much bigger impact on the brain than we once thought.
Natureshock, a book written by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman, talks about how negative stimuli gets processed by the amygdala in the brain. Positive, as well as neutral emotions, are processed by the hippocampus. When we are sleep deprived, that lack of sleep really does a number on the hippocampus. This means we may be more likely to feel down in the dumps more often if we’re sleep-deprived. The takeaway here is to try to get more sleep, even if it’s just an extra hour each night. Our brains rely on a solid night’s sleep to handle stress better and improve our overall well being.
#11 Do Something to Help Someone Twice Per Week
If you have been looking for ways to get involved in your community to help others in need, it may benefit you, as well as the people you are helping. Why? Because helping others can be extremely rewarding. It brings us joy as we give back to others. Make it a goal to do something kind for someone else at least twice per week. You would be surprised at how much it can lift your mood.
The Bottom Line
While stress reduction may seem out of reach, there are so many small shifts you can make to start lowering your levels. Start by incorporating these science-backed tips and see what they do for your stress levels. You may be shocked at just how much more grounded and centered you feel with these stress-busting hacks.