When stress hits, it becomes hard to focus and even harder to calm down again. And, you never know where you might be when that stress hits (you can't just stop and meditate in the middle of a meeting). So, we've compiled some easy-to-do exercises that will ease your nerves. Check them out below!
1. Practice Deep Breathing Simply taking a second to step back and take a deep breath can instantly ease your nerves and help your body to relax. As WebMD notes, breathing exercises helps your body emulate the same feelings as when you are relaxed. According to NPR, deep breathing actually taps into the body's parasympathetic reaction, which reduces tension and helps us calm down. Other researchers have noted that breathing exercises can also lead to overall reduced blood pressure.
2. Listen to Music Music has amazing healing powers. When you are feeling especially stressed, take a few minutes to listen to soft, slower music that will help bring your heart rate down. As your adrenalin levels decrease, your serotonin will kick in and help reduce your stress.
3. Give Yourself a Deskside Massage A lot of our stress tends to cause tension in our necks and between our shoulder blades. To help relieve some of this tension, grab a tennis ball and give yourself a five minute massage. Simply lie on the floor with the tennis ball placed between you and the floor, under a muscle. Roll the ball along your back and hold it in place for a few seconds when you feel it hit a point of pressure.
4. Heart-Opening Stretches When the day is starting to feel a bit overwhelming, take a few quiet minutes to stretch. Concentrate on your chest and shoulder area with heart-opening yoga poses. Such postures will give you an emotional release, while also helping to release some of the physical tension you hold on to during the day.
5. Call a Friend Sometimes all you need is a good rant. When you are starting to feel stressed out, pick up the phone and call a good friend. Tell them about your day, why you're overwhelmed, and you'll instantly start to feel better. A study conducted on middle school-aged kids found that talking to very close friends actually helps to reduce the production of cortisol (a hormone that is released when you're stressed) -- we suspect the same is true for adults!
Check out the infographic below. Download it, print it out and keep it somewhere handy as a reminder that de-stressing can come in the simplest of forms.