Stress is everywhere these days — you are stuck in traffic on the way to a job interview, your middle schooler just told you about a major school project due tomorrow, a pipe just burst and flooded your apartment — it’s caused by any number of things.
While we don’t have a choice when it comes to getting stressed, we do have a choice with how we handle stress. With that in mind, here are 10 scientifically backed ways to de-stress right now:
1. Go for a walk. Going for a walk will not only boost your endorphins (which reduce stress hormones), it will help clear your head.
2. Breathe deeply. Breathing exercises can help you relax because they make your body feel like it does when it is already relaxed. Not sure what to do? Try this.
3. Step away from the screen. Uninterrupted screen time has been associated with stress, lost sleep, and depression. Take frequent breaks from the screen and shut it down at least an hour before bedtime for peaceful sleep.
4. Turn on some tunes. Classical music is great for de-stressing, but turning on any music can help soothe anxiety!
5. Chew a piece of gum. Chewing gum can relieve anxiety, improve alertness, and reduce stress according to this study.
6. Laugh! The Mayo Clinic says, “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.”
7. Eat a banana. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress. By eating a banana You can feel improved energy and stress recovery — research shows that it can protect your body from the negative effects of stress like increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
8. Visualize. Visualization is a very powerful tool when trying to relax. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and picture a peaceful scene such as a dream vacation or accomplishing a huge goal.
9. Buy a plant. House plants can actually help you calm down. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relaxation response. A study done by Washington State University found that a group of stressed people entered a room full of plants, they experienced a four-point drop in their blood pressure on average.
10. Spend some time alone. Did you know that even just talking can raise your blood pressure? Take 5 minutes for yourself to sit in silence and let your mind relax!