An increase in heart rate, heavy breathing, constricted blood vessels—all of these things are byproducts of stress. Your fight or flight response kicks in and rather than escaping from a large animal like our ancestors once had to do, we are dealing with an upset spouse, a traffic jam, or trouble at work. Chronic stress can lead to larger issues like chronic headaches, hypertension, and depression or anxiety disorders, and can make existing conditions worse.
1. Express Gratitude for What You Have Learned
Every bad experience leaves something to be gained. It is likely that when all is said and done, you will have discovered something valuable about yourself or someone else that will help you later on in life. Be mindful of what it is that you have learned, and be thankful for it—for all you know you’ll be in the same situation later on in life and will proceed with this new perspective.
2. Get a Plant
Simply being in a room that is full of plants can lower your blood pressure and help you calm down, as well as purify the air. Aloe plants, English ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies, snake plants, bamboo palms, philodendron, spider plants, red edged dracaena, and golden pothos are all great choices.
3. Pay Someone a Compliment, Genuinely
Though it might seem counteractive to compliment someone else when you’re feeling stressed out or down, but it has been found that when we take the time to give others encouragement, it will release the hormones in our brain that make us feel good. It takes the focus off of ourselves and point out the positive in others. The real trick to this is that the compliment has to be genuine—so mean what you say!
4. Put Yourself in the Present
Dwelling on past mistakes or being anxious about the future are huge sources of stress. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment to take away the anxiety and focus on what is really happening right here and now.
5. Read Inspirational Quotes
No matter what your situation is, there is no doubt that someone else has been there and has graced the internet with great quotes about it. Find words from poets, great leaders, and philosophers to see what they have to say to help you get rid of stress.
6. Drinking Coffee Elevates Positive Moods
Coffee provides stimulation of pheromones, causing a feeling of euphoria, relaxation, happiness, and excitement. Combined, these feelings work to fight anxiety, stress, and depression. Because of this, it is advised to have a few servings of coffee on days that you may be feeling especially stressed.
7. Take a 10 Minute Walk
Step outside and take a walk through any green space. This will put the body into meditation due to the phenomenon known as ‘involuntary attention’—this is when something holds our attention (walking) but allows for reflection.
Smiling will release chemicals in the brain called serotonin and dopamine, and will change your mood, even if you are faking it. It would be a good practice to smile at strangers in public—not only will this boost your mood, but it will hopefully make them smile back at you, having the same effect.
9. Get a Dog
Having the company of a dog can aid in becoming more mindful and may help you to have gratitude for the present. This companionship offers comfort, builds confidence, and eases anxiety for those who are anxious about venturing out into the world alone. Dogs are the perfect example of how we should live in the moment, not dwelling on yesterday or the future.
Stress, lack of sleep, and depression can be associated with uninterrupted computer use as well as computer use late at night. It is important to take regular breaks when using the computer for an extended amount of time and go offline at least one hour before your bedtime.