Everyone feels stressed from time to time, and it's rarely a pleasant experience. But before you grab that pint of ice cream, pop a Xanax or hit the mall, take a few deep breaths and try one of the options below.
The following options are free or low-cost techniques you can start applying immediately:
1. Take a walk and feel the sun on your face.
2. Practice yoga.
3. Run, bike, swim, dance — anything that makes you sweat. "Runner's high" can come from a release of endorphins, which can improve your mood and act as a pain reliever.
4. Burn an aromatherapy candle.
5. Dab lavender or chamomile essential oils on your wrists.
6. Drink soothing tea like chamomile.
7. Chew sugar-free gum.
8. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate.
9. Sip a nutrition-filled green smoothie. The sweetness will be comforting while the nutrients will help keep your body on track.
10. Take a bath with Epsom salt (Epsom salt with chamomile essential oil is my favorite).
11. Meditate, even if it's as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on a few deep breaths.
12. Take a time out with a warm shower.
13. Close your eyes and focus on relaxing one muscle group at a time.
14. Take a short break from technology, especially your smartphone.
15. Call an old friend or family member. Talking to someone else can help you put things in perspective, laugh, reminisce about the past, or relieve stress just through venting.
16. Pet an animal.
17. Smile, even if it's forced.
18. Snuggle, kiss or simply hug a loved one to relieve stress hormones and increase positive feelings.
19. Write out your feelings. Burn them later if it'll help you let go.
20. For ongoing relief, start a gratitude journal. Writing just a few things every day that you're thankful for can have lasting positive effects on the writer's happiness.
21. Put it in perspective. Make a list of immediate actions you can take and the things you can't change.
22. Find video clips on YouTube that make you laugh.
23. Sing loudly to your favorite tunes.
What's your favorite way to immediately reduce stress? Share it in the comments below to help others!