Feeling stressed? Here are five ways to de-stress in five minutes.
1.Breathe deeply – often when we’re stressed we hold our breath. Even worse, you may not notice yourself doing this. Our minds and our bodies are integrally linked and when you hold your breath or take shallow breaths for long periods of time your body starts to panic which causes your mind to panic. Release stress with this quick breathing exercise that you can do at your desk:
Sit in a comfortable position, breath in as deeply as you can counting slowly as you do 1-2-3. Breath all of the air out slowly counting 1-2-3. Sometimes it can help to do this audibly (if you’re not in a crowded office!) so you can really feel the air leaving your body. It can also help to put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise and fall with the air. Repeat this at least 5 times.
2.Muscle relaxation – another symptoms of stress is tense muscles. If you are in the middle of a stressful task take a moment to notice your body. Do you feel how your shoulder muscles are clenched tight? Are your legs pushing tight against your seat chair and the floor? Try this quick exercise to relax your body and release stress tension:
Start with your toes. Bring all of your attention into your toes and clench them as tight as you can for 5 seconds. Count 1-2-3-4-5. Then release. Move on up to your calves, tighten the muscles and count to 5. Then release. Move all the way up your body in sequences like this working one muscle at a time until you get to your forehead. Often our facial muscles are tight when we are stressed. Clench your forehead into a frown for 5 seconds. And then release. Your body should feel relaxed and better able to face the task at hand.
3.Take a walk – another common sin when we are stressed, particularly at work, is to stay sitting for long periods of time without break. This is bad not only for our muscles which become tight but also our eyes which likely haven’t had a break and our minds. Taking five minutes to walk away from the situation is a great way to physically and mentally remove yourself from a stressful situation. Plus exercise increases endorphins so your mood will be improved when you return as well .
4.Laugh – laughing and interaction with others is one of the most important facets of human communication. Loneliness and isolation are key predictors of not only mental but also physical ill health . When you are stressed it can be easy to isolate yourself thinking that only you can solve the problem. While it may be true that someone else can’t help with the actual problem they can help to lift your mood and make you feel that you’re not alone. Seek out a colleague, a family member or a friend who you enjoy spending time with and take a five minute break to talk to them. If you’re on your own look up a funny clip online that you know will make you laugh. This will release the tension and remind you that most problems are not the end of the world.
5.Take out your Pip – your Pip is a useful tool to help you relax and destress for five minutes. Sometimes it can be hard not only to know how to relax but to know if you really are relaxing when you are used to being stressed. Let the Pip apps guide you and teach you how to manage your stress and feel a sense of calm in five minutes.
Whether you’re staring at a problem on a computer screen, facing a tense interaction with colleagues or just feeling overwhelmed take a five minute break and try one of these five destressing tips.
- Sakuragi, S., & Sugiyama, Y. (2006). Effects of daily walking on subjective symptoms, mood and autonomic nervous function. Journal of physiological anthropology, 25(4), 281-289.
- Steptoe, A., Owen, N., Kunz-Ebrecht, S. R., & Brydon, L. (2004). Loneliness and neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and inflammatory stress responses in middle-aged men and women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 29(5), 593-611.