You probably hear a lot about how diet and lifestyle, like getting exercise and better sleep, can help relieve stress and anxiety. But you can’t exactly go for a run or take a power nap at a moment’s notice. When stress hits, sometimes you need to calm your nerves fast. Here are a few things that you can do to take the edge off in about five minutes.
Focused Breathing: Taking a moment to step back from what’s causing you stress and recalibrate is an important part of quick stress relief. Remove yourself from the situation, go somewhere quiet, and start to breathe. Put all of your focus on taking long, deep breaths and allow nothing to break your concentration. If it helps, look at your stomach as it expands and deflates with each inhalation and exhalation.
Guided Imagery: Closing your eyes and daydreaming for five-minutes can also be an effective stress relief tool. Visualize yourself being somewhere or doing something you enjoy and the feelings and experiences that come along with it. It can be a fantasy or memory–just lock into it and transport yourself. Putting on headphones or earplugs may enhance the experience.
Movement: Getting up and doing a quick five-minute walk or even just pacing around your house can help. But if you find the exercise makes you feel anxious, you can follow up with a yoga move called tree-pose. Stand up straight, then breathe and focus on bending one knee to lift your foot off the ground. Rest the heel of that foot against the inner thigh of your other leg. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute before switching legs.
Repeat a Mantra: If the guided breathing isn’t helping, try reciting a mantra while you do it. This could be one word, a sound like a hum, a phrase, or something affirming that makes you feel good.
Look Out The Window or Get Outside: Stepping outside to sit on a quiet bench or somewhere else that provides solace can help knock stress down a notch. If you can’t get outside, take a look through the window and take in the view. Even the sight of smiling people, a blue sky, or some leaves glistening in the sun can produce calm.
Taking five minutes to de-stress can help you refocus or save you from doing something you may regret. It can also provide a quick reminder that you can control your emotions. When time is of the essence, try these, or a combination of them, to regulate and refocus.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.