Stress can hit us at any time, for any reason, and having a quick way of dealing with it to get you past those next few moments can really help. At those times, it’s important to clear your head and give yourself time to gather your thoughts together so that you can deal with whatever was causing the stress in the first place.
Here I’d like to suggest a few things you can do to help deal with stress in the short term, giving you time and energy to work on the bigger picture. At the bottom you can download a guide to print and keep in your pocket or wallet to help you when you might need it.
Phone a friend
It’s not just something potential Millionaires get to do when they’re stuck on a question. It’s good to talk, so talk! Call a friend and vent. Get it all out. Make sure it’s someone you trust. Maybe they’ll help you see things from a different point of view. Whatever happens it’ll make things calmer.
Use your imagination
Sit down for a few minutes, close your eyes and picture yourself in a place you love. A place that’s peaceful. It could be somewhere from your past, it could be a place you wish to visit. Sit quiet, picture this place and allow a calmness to come over you. Head back there if you need to!
Aromatherapy is big business and there are hundreds of products available on the market at low prices that can help you relax. Find one you that you like and that works for you. Pine and jasmine are great stress relievers and lavender is a relaxant. Vanilla will elevate your mood and citrus helps you feel energised.
You’ll be amazed at just how much smiling through stress can help. For a start, if you’re stressed you’re potentially clenching your jaw. Smiling will relax those muscles and generally help you relax all over.
You’re breathing now, right? And when you’re stressed you’re still breathing, obviously. Are you aware of it though? Sit down and breathe in through your nose as you mentally count to four. Hold that breath for two counts then release it through your mouth, again as you count to four. Become aware of your breathing and eventually you’ll stop counting and relax.
Did you do the breathing exercise? That can be classed as meditation. Did you do the Imagination exercise? That too can be classed as meditation. You do not have to attend meditation classes if you don’t want to, just sit down, close your eyes, relax and picture calming places and thoughts.
Tension in your neck and shoulders can cause pain. You’ve probably seen people with headaches rub their temples, so why not rub your shoulders or neck when you’ve got tight muscles from stress. Maybe do some stretches when you’ve finished.
There is a multitude of music available that is made purely for relaxation. Find some that helps you relax and try listening to it while doing some of the other exercises above.
A slow walk can help clear your thoughts. If you have a portable music device, use it to listen the relaxing music you chose. The place where you walk could also be the place you picture during the imagination exercise!
Try one or all of the methods above to alleviate your stress, but remember there could also be external factors you need to deal with, so once you’re calm think about what brought that stress on and what you can do about it. Download and print out this pocket guide to carry with you to remind yourself how to deal with short-term stress.