Looking for the best stress relieving activities?
We all need a bit of time to relax, but how can you do it fast?
Keep reading to discover the best way to reduce stress and relieve anxiety fast…
Table of Contents
Best Stress Relieving Activities To Keep You Cool
1. Talk to someone
This is one of the most tried and tested stress relieving activities:
Humans are inherently social beings. We strongly depend on the support of our loved ones. It gives us a profound sense of belonging and acceptance.
You don’t necessarily have to meet them in person. Merely starting a short conversation over and internet messenger will allow you to briefly disconnect from the source of your anxiety and relax.
Similarly, if you feel that a person is starting a conversation with you, in order to distract themselves from an anxiety-inducing event, consider showing genuine interest, express affection, and validate their emotions.
You can also consider drawing as a great way to distract your mind from your source of anxiety.
More importantly, it helps you express emotions in a quick way, while not needing to abide by a certain framework or set of principles.
It’s essential to underline that drawing can be taken to different extents. There’s no need to use watercolor, just doodling will do just fine.
Drawing is one of those stress relieving activities that never gets old!
However, if you feel like you have the time and the resources to work on a painting — please do, by any means.
Drawing isn’t just a way to get distracted; Art Therapy has been around for quite a while.
A 2016 study you can find in the Journal of the American Art Therapy indicates that just 40 minutes of drawing or painting can have a beneficial effect on your stress levels.
More importantly, the same study underlines that artistic talent is not a central factor. So we can all reap the benefits of drawing for relaxation.
3. Listen to some great music
Music has been a vital part of human civilization for centuries. While it can invoke a vast spectrum of emotions from fear and anxiety to bliss and awe, one thing we know for sure — music has a very potent effect on our psyche.
There is also a large body of research that indicates the powerful effects music has on a variety of illnesses:
- Listening to certain types of music has shown to have a significant impact on stress and anxiety levels in patients before and after surgery.
- Other studies suggest that music can reduce chronic pain associated with certain illnesses like cancer.
- Music helps seniors with combatting depression and growing their self-esteem.
Consider using music to help you in stressful situations. You can either listen to the songs you love or choose some calm music instead.
It’s is a fantastic tool for stress reduction specifically because it allows us to distract from whatever’s happening in the present moment while being very mindful of our emotions.
4. Cats and dogs
Scientific reports indicate that playing with animals has a very multifaceted effect on the human body.
First off, it decreases stress-related hormones like cortisol, which is known to make people nervous and anxious.
Second, it increases our oxytocin levels, which is a feel-good hormone that our bodies secrete during pleasant social interactions like handshakes and pats on the back.
Other studies have shown that short interaction with pets has increased endorphin and dopamine levels in subjects — also hormones associated with happiness.
Interestingly, you don’t really need to touch an animal to experience stress relief.
Simply staring at a fish tank for half an hour will considerably decrease your blood pressure and induce a state of calm.
This is one of our favourite stress relieving activities!
5. Hugging and kissing will definitely help
This is one of the best stress relieving activities to do with your partner:
You’ve surely noticed before that when a person is crying or profoundly unhappy, our first instinct is to hug them. Why do we do that?
Scientists believe that physical interactions like holding one’s hand, giving them a hug, or kissing them have a profoundly comforting effect on the human mind. It helps us reduce stress.
A recently published academic research that has studied the behavior of 20 couples by giving them painful electric shocks. There are two groups.
The control group comprises partners that sit close to each other but aren’t holding hands. The other group consists of people that do hold hands.
The study concluded that the couples that held hands experience less pain than their counterparts.
Therefore, when stressed, have a loved one give you a long and comforting hug. This will significantly decrease your stress levels in just a few minutes.
6. Eat something nice
Food is a potent tool to combat stress. However, it’s essential to differentiate between having a diet that helps you decrease stress levels and emotional eating. The two are radically different.
There are many foods that can help you alleviate stress, here are a few of them:
- Warm, soothing foods and drinks — just the food profile of the food itself can have a beneficial effect on your stress levels.
If you’re not in a position to have some warm vegetable soup, consider having some herbal tea. Warm foods are known to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin.
- Dark chocolate — this coveted food is very rich in antioxidants, and is also famous for combatting your stress levels by decreasing the hormones associated with anxiety.
- Whole-grain carbs — foods rich in complex carbs take much longer to digest and, as a result, keep your energy levels high. We’re often irritated when we’re hungry. Foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa will keep you full for a long time.
- Bananas — this fruit is known to elevate dopamine levels, which can help you perk up in a very stressful situation
- Oranges — a study conducted at the University of Trier in Germany has shown that giving people a regular dose of Vitamin C will keep the subjects’ cortisol levels low.
Longer-term stress relief
Now that we’ve covered a list of things we can do to relieve stress immediately, we need to talk about the things you can do in advance to combat stress.
Meditation is an insanely powerful stress relieving activity. Scientists are now confident that just two months of regular practice will have a massive effect on decreasing stress levels in the long run.
Meditation is a fairly multifaceted tool. There are many types of meditation that can be used both for immediate and prolonged effects.
Meditators can reprogram their emotional response so that they’re more mindful of their reactions.
Very often, what ends up being a stressful situation is just a frustration we’ve been unaware of what has been left unattended.
A daily practice has shown to improve a person’s resistance to stress.
Your mind no longer reacts as aggressively to stress, and even if it does, you’re aware of your reaction before you manage to act on it.
Being able to control your stress is a vital skill in all areas of life — personal, academic, and professional.
Here are a few simple and fun ways you can meditate to have better control over your stress:
This exercise is designed to distinguish between the different thoughts a person experiences and how they make us feel.
Sit down in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Every time a thought comes to mind — label it. When it comes to labeling, opportunities are endless, but let’s stick to two basic types of reflection: feeling or planning.
Feeling is the type of thought that triggers an emotional response in us. Planning, on the other hand, is us thinking about the future.
Once you’ve established the type of thought, label it, let it go, and return to the breath.
B: Body scan
This approach demands a strong focus. Start by concentrating on your breath for a few minutes.
Once your mind has settled gently and slowly scan sections of your body and observe the subtle sensations you experience in that particular part of the body.
Start with the top of your head, move on to your face, neck, shoulders, one hand at a time, torso, hips, legs feet.
Repeat the scan in reverse. Continue for 10 minutes.
There is a very high probability that you’ll become distracted at some point, and your mind will wander. Focus on the thought itself and observe how it dissipates. Return to the body scan.
Meditation is a very broad field. These are just two basic techniques you can use at home in a chair or before a stressful interview.
More importantly, meditation is fairly entertaining too. It allows you to learn more about your body and how it reacts to external stimuli.
Yoga is one of the most popular stress relieving activities you can try at home:
In a national survey conducted in the US, nearly 90% of respondents stated that practicing yoga helped them relieve stress.
Exercise, in general, is a great way to lower your stress levels, but this age-old practice is especially powerful in this regard.
The great part about it is the diversity of exercises you encounter in a yoga class. There’s everything from stretching and balancing to strength and endurance positions.
There’s also something profoundly spiritual about yoga. It instigates a state of compassion for all beings and makes you less judgmental towards your peers.
Yoga stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system. A regular practice will decrease cortisol levels and increase our resilience towards stress.
3. Get enough sleep
Stress and sleep have a very complicated relationship. Each affects the other. The less you sleep, the more stressed you are. The more stressed you are, the less you sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.
“Make no mistake; this isn’t just a coincidence. In reality, the neurotransmitters associated with deep sleep are the ones the regulate our body’s release of stress hormones.This is why poor sleeping habits make us more stressed and make it even harder to fall asleep the next day.”Neightan White, a blogger and science writer at Supreme Dissertations and Studicus.
Therefore, it’s essential to make enough time in your schedule to sleep for at least 8 hours every day.
4. Journaling is a great tool
Journaling is a stress management tool that millions of people adore. While it’s not necessarily the most entertaining thing in the world at the very beginning, once you get a taste of it — nobody can stop you.
“Writing your raw ideas on a piece of paper is an excellent way to get an emotional release. Similarly, it allows you to really analyze how you feel about a certain situation and find out what you really want in life.“Diana Adjadj, a writer and blogger at Trust My Paper and Best Essay Education.
Journaling also allows you to clear your mind. After a short session of writing, you’ll feel relieved and relaxed.
More importantly, you’ll be able to gather a sense of clarity and understanding of the factors that cause you to be stressed in the first place.
Finding the best stress-relieving activity takes time. However, we’re confident that the ones you’ll find above will most certainly point you in the right direction.
Once you’ve found your preferred way of dealing with stress, don’t hesitate to continually adapt it to your needs and your personality. We hope you found this article helpful. Good luck!
About the Author
Kristin Savage is a seasoned writer and editor passionate about ethical software development, mental health, and wellbeing.
She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields.