instant stress relief photo

It’s like you can literally feel your blood beginning to boil. Maybe your hands shake or your shoulders tense up. Stress creeps in like cement, causing you to become stuck in a negative thought pattern. When you feel tension building in your body, it’s likely time for some rapid stress relief. Here’s how:

1. Close your eyes and breathe.

Closing your eyes (except while driving) is one of the easiest ways to find stress relief. Picture a place where you’re the most at ease–for me it’s my morning beach walks as the sun rises over the horizon. Begin breathing, long and slow. Breathe in four counts and out eight counts. Having a longer exhale calms you down.

2. Find yourself in nature.

Even if it’s a city park, nature is the ultimate in stress relief. Finding water in nature is even better–a waterfall, flowing river, or the waves hitting the shore. Take a moment to be in the present moment surrounded by the natural world and you’re sure to find some stress relief.

3. Listen to soothing music.

Have some soothing music on hand for when the going gets rough. Nothing heavy, fast, or loud, but rather choose, something that slows you down.

4. Try a guided meditation.

When you’re really stressed, it can be hard to meditate, but a guided audio meditation or podcast may provide helpful holistic tips when you need them the most.

5. Don’t reach for junk food or caffeine.

Caffeine and sugary junk food make it more difficult to calm down. But the problem is, we’re more likely to reach for them when we’re amped. Resist the urge–grab a cold pressed juice or munch on a crunchy apple instead.

6. Try a DIY massage.

All you need is a tennis ball and sock for a killer DIY massage. Close your door and lay down. Roll over the tennis ball hitting areas where tension gathers in your shoulders or hips. Breathe deeply as you open up knots through acupressure.

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Image: Jeremy Choo