Stress, it gets to us all. While I recommend developing some long-term strategies for living a low stress life, there are actually some quick short-term ways to deal with stress.
Attribution: Pixabay - geralt
There are lots of times when we have to face stress. It could be an exam, an important public presentation or something else along those lines. We need to face that stress without the negative consequences. Here are some simple strategies to hack your stress.
Time: Between 1 - 15 minutes.
Three deep breaths
I often teach this one to my presentation skills students. Some of them get worked up about having to talk in front of people. Take three deep breaths and you automatically calm down as it is impossible to panic while taking deep breaths.
Attribution: Pixabay - makunin
This is the best hack to bring you down from a panic attack.
Notice how many of the people who handle stress well also do exciting things with their lives, while people who avoid all excitement seem to be susceptible to stress? This is not about personality, it is about the fact that when facing something stressful we can either be excited or scared by it. While excitement is similar to stress we avoid most of the negative aspects of stress. So whenever you are facing something stressful, be excited by that fact.
Attribution: Pixabay - PublicDomainPictures
This hack takes away your stress while helping you to ride the wave of nervous tension
Do something exciting
This is similar to the previous hack, but with a small difference. When you can't get excited by what is causing you stress, find something else to be excited by. Instead of trying to calm down from stress, divert it to something else. This is why something as simple as playing an action packed video game can calm you down. It is because it is turning stress into excitement. You can also try playing a sport or attending a party.
Attribution: Pixabay - Hans
Use this hack to divert your attention away from stressful thoughts when you can't get excited by what is stressing you. This is why people say Work hard, play hard.
Change your perspective
Stress focuses our attention which means we get so caught up in our problem that we fail to see anything else. A quick change in perspective can help us return to the problem renewed. When working or studying I will usually drop the stressful problem and work on something else. An hour later I come back to the original problem feeling less stressed.
Attribution: Pixabay - Zauberin
This stress hack is great when you feel stuck and unable to solve the problem that is causing you stress.
As I said before, stress is very negative. You can deal with stress by doing something that is positive, or for which you get positive feedback. Managers or teachers who give lots of positive encouragement help you achieve your goals more quickly, as does encouraging your team mates when working on a big project.
Attribution: Pixabay - Nemo
Use this hack to deal with large problems that are not rewarding.
Scream and shout
In the Chinese city of Shenzhen, there is a hill where people go just to shout out all their frustrations. Many people take out their stress on other people. Teachers shout at students, bosses bully their staff and husbands and wives fight. Taking it out on others will usually mean more stress comes back your way, it is better to just shout from the top of mountains and when you are finished come back down.
Attribution: Edvard Munch
If you feeling it all building up in side you, use this hack to get it out and calm down.
Find a quick way to relax. Some people spend five minutes floating in a swimming pool or bath tub, others head off for a 10 minute lunch time shoulder massage and others just stretch. Find something that works for you, even if it is taking off your shoes and walking barefoot on the grass or getting a big hug.
Attribution: Pixabay - Hans
Use this hack as an alternative to the coffee break, or better yet, do it while you get your coffee.