10 tips for relaxation
1. Go tropical
Take a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango. Weird fact: Mangos contain a compound called linalool, the main ingredient in lavender essential oil. And you know what lavender does — ahhhhh. It may reduce stress and anxiety Trusted Source.
2. Chomp some chewing gum
Maybe you’re stuck in annoying traffic, frantically cleaning the house before your in-laws show, or hammering out that final term paper. Chewing gum is an easy way to keep the stress monster at bay while potentially boosting your mood and productivity Trusted Source.
3. Crunch and munch
Instead of clenching your jaw, may as well put it to work. Trail mix, an apple, or some celery sticks provide a satisfying crunch to curb your spiral.
No need to go on a week-long silent retreat with zen-looking yogis to snag some serenity. It doesn’t require completely clearing your mind, either. You can meditate in as little as one minute with visualization techniques. Give it a go before that meeting where you know Gretchen’s going to get on your nerves.
5. Get your head below your heart
Put your head between your knees, or stand and hang your head and arms toward your toes. Getting your noggin below your heart has restorative effects on the autonomic nervous system (ANS), lessening your reactivity to the fight-or-flight response Trusted Source.
6. Connect with your breath
You’re probably already breathing — unless you’re holding your breath. We tend do that when we’re in a tizzy. Whether you’re holding in your air, taking shallow sips of it, or hyperventilating, you might be adding to the stress response in your body.
7. Give yourself a squeeze
You know how your cat will go all rigid for a second, tensing all those kitty muscles and then relaxing them? That looks kind of good, right? Well, you can try it too — or a version of it anyway.
8. Say your ABC’s backward
Nope, it’s not an IQ test, but it is a strangely reliable way to chill. Saying the alphabet in reverse temporarily shifts your focus from worrying about your upcoming date or pending performance review. It’s fine to play tricks on yourself once in a while. Counting backward can also do the trick.
9. Visualize what you want or need
Creative visualization is a mindfulness exercise developed by Shakti Gawain in her book Creative Visualization. The technique involves mentally imagining what you want to happen in your life, or how you want to feel. It can slay stress fast.
10. Close your peepers
A little darkness behind your lids can help shut out the external factors causing you trouble. Stressors may look a little different when you open your eyes, ready to face the world again.