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10 Refreshing Ways To Clear Your Mind Of Stress

10 Refreshing Ways To Clear Your Mind Of Stress

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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8. Smile

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.

10. Unplug

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.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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