Feeling stress is a pretty common part of life, but that doesn’t make it OK. Your body needs to relax. Whether you’re at work or at home, there are things you can do to get rid of anxiety naturally. These eight tips have made a huge difference for me:
1. Take an Exercise Break
Whether you play basketball, go for a brisk walk, dance or do aerobics, physical activity helps your muscles release built-up tension. Meanwhile, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, the same feel-good hormones responsible for the euphoria you get from eating triple-chocolate ice cream (I won’t tell if you don’t).
2. Help Someone
Instead of focusing on stressful situations, take a few minutes to do something nice for another person:
Text your mom you appreciate how she raised you
Treat your child to a cookie just because
Buy a cup of coffee for a friendly coworker
Open the door for someone
You’ll be amazed the effect these little acts of kindness have on your own emotions. Doing something nice for other people feels good. It lets you stay in control of your life.
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3. Make Yourself Laugh
The next time you have a lot of anxiety, look for a new joke. Google “adorable animal videos” or “epic animal fails” online. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better after something tickles your funny bone. Afterward, send the link to a friend and share the love.
4. Listen to Music
Personally, I like to psych myself up with peppy songs from my golden age of music, the 90s. If you’re working at home, don’t be shy! Sing along, get up and dance, or break out your air guitar for a bit. Music makes everything look brighter.
5. Write Down How You Feel
It’s no secret that having a girls’ night out is one of the best ways for letting go of stress. Being able to talk to someone else about your problems can put things in perspective. In fact, after talking it out, the things causing your anxiety may not feel as big or important anymore.
If one-on-one time with a friend isn’t possible, the next best thing is your trusty journal. The act of writing can produce the same comforting feeling of “getting things off your chest.”
6. Get Hugged
Hugs are amazing for your body. They lower stress levels, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. Deep-down, most people love to be touched. Did you know this tactile sensation is the same reason that wrapping yourself up in a heavy blanket is so soothing? When you’re feeling stressed, ask your kid, partner or pet for a hug.
7. Eat Some Yogurt
Recent studies suggest that probiotics may help to reduce stress and improve mood. That means that reaching for a cup of tasty yogurt isn’t just good for your physical heart, it’s also great for your emotions. Add fresh fruit and pumpkin seeds for an extra-nutritious stress-fighting boost.
8. Light a Candle
Aromatherapy can have an excellent effect on stress, but it’s something that most people don’t associate with work. Why not bring your own diffuser for your desk? Soothing scents such as vanilla, apple-cinnamon, lavender and orange can ease anxiety naturally.
These eight “anxiety breaks” give you a chance to clear your head. For 15 or 20 minutes, you don’t have to think about whatever problem has you stressed. Instead, focus on the sound of your tennis shoes hitting the pavement or look at beautiful scenery.