How to Manage Stress

Depending on where you are and what you’re doing, managing stress can take many forms. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise can all be very restorative. However, if you’re in the heat of the moment…a deadline at work, or a disagreement with a spouse, you may need a quicker result.

One of the quickest and most reliable ways to manage stress is to engage one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. As everyone is different, what works for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa. Take some time to determine which technique works best for you.


Examples of sensory-based stress relievers include:


Sight

  • Look at a favorite photo or inspirational saying.

  • Live plants can bring beauty and peacefulness to your surroundings.

  • Get outside and enjoy nature!

  • Surround yourself with colors that lift your spirits.

  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating gently on a cloud, swaying softly in the breeze. The air is warm and softly caresses your skin.


Smell


Touch

  • Wrap yourself in a soft, warm blanket.

  • Pet your dog or cat.

  • Hold a comforting object (stuffed animal or favorite memento).

  • Massage your neck.

  • Put on your favorite robe or sweatshirt, that is soft against your skin.


Taste

  • Chew on a piece of sugarless gum.

  • Indulge in a piece of dark chocolate.

  • Sip your favorite tea or coffee.

  • Enjoy your favorite crunchy snack (carrots, cucumbers, celery).

  • The key is to savor what you’re tasting as opposed to mindlessly eating or drinking.

Movement

  • Dance to your favorite song.

  • Do jumping jacks.

  • Stretch.

  • Go for a short walk.

  • Squeeze a stress ball.

Sound


Calling a friend or family member can do wonders. Whether you’re discussing the source of your stress, or are catching up with a loved one, engaging socially is your body’s best way of regulating the nervous system.



Disconnect from technology. Read your favorite book.


Sit quietly in a comfy chair, close your eyes, and breathe in deeply through your nose, exhaling slowly through your mouth. Do this for 5 minutes, if possible. Focus on the breath. If your mind wanders, redirect it to the breath.


Take a spirituality break. Read your favorite devotional or pray.


Get active. Walk, run, cycle, yoga, pilates, your favorite exercise class.


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©2020 by Lisa Hammett