Anxiety got you down? Snap out of it with these easy stress-relievers.
No matter what time of the year it is, stress always finds us. The National Stress Institute reports that 80% of workers feel stress at work and nearly half say they need help learning how to manage stress. In honor of National Stress Awareness Month in April, we’re sharing simple ways to reduce on-the-job anxiety and help you have happier work days. Give these a try anytime, whether you’re under a tight deadline or just want to practice having more of a work-life balance.
Download a relaxing app
These days, we have access to almost everything at the tip of our fingers. Check out your smartphone’s app store to find a variety of relaxation apps. For iPhone users, some of the best are Equanimity – Meditation Timer and Tracker and iZen Garden. Android users can try Qi Gong Meditation Relaxation and Worry Box – Anxiety Self-Help. Or, check out Breathe2Relax on your iPhone or Android phone, which guides you through diaphragmatic breathing exercises known to interrupt stress receptors in the body.
Perform a self-hand massage
Giving your hands some love can work wonders for you, especially when you rely on them so much. Take 5 minutes to complete the exercises below. You won’t regret it!
- Pinch the tips of each finger and thumb on your right hand for a few seconds. Repeat on your left hand. The pressure applied to your fingers should be firm, but not painful.
- Go back to each tip and pinch them again, this time squeezing from side to side.
- Grasp each finger at its base and tug firmly. Allow your grip to loosen slightly, from the base to the fingertip, until your finger slips out of your grasp.
- Using your thumb and index fingers, grasp the webbed area between your thumb and index on the other hand. Keeping a firm hold, tug at the skin gently until the fleshy web snaps away from your grasp. Repeat on all fingers.
- Rest the palm of your hand inside the palm of your free hand. Use your thumb to massage the back of your hand. Continue thumb massaging each area on the back of each hand.
- Cradle your wrist inside your free hand. Use your thumb to massage the inner wrist. Repeat on other hand.
- Massage the palm of each hand with your thumb.
- Press your thumb firmly in the center of your palm. Take a few deep breaths and center yourself.
Watch a funny video
How can you not crack a smile or have a chuckle when watching a dog perform tricks or a little kid learning how to ride a bike? Research suggests that laughter has both long- and short-term health benefits, including an improved immune system, better sense of self and enhanced mood. Even if you can’t access YouTube at work, read a cartoon, share a joke with a co-worker or Google funny images. Whatever floats your boat!
Practice deep breathing
It’s no secret that breathing exercises help reduce stress and calm an anxious mind. The ancient practices of yoga and tai chi, for example, use breathing as the central force to find balance between the body and mind. Perform the technique below once or twice a day, or whenever you start to feel your stress levels reaching maximum capacity. Throughout the exercise, breathe from the abdominals so that more oxygen reaches your lungs.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
- Exhale through the mouth, taking a slow, deep breath through your nose. Hold for a count of 7, if possible.
- Slowly exhale through the mouth for 8 counts. As you’re doing this, contract your abdominal muscles.
- Repeat the cycle 4 more times for a grand total of 5 deep breaths.
Read inspiring quotes
When you’re running low on positive vibes, there’s no better way to give yourself a boost than peeking into the minds of great people. It helps to know that even the more privileged among us have experienced similar struggles. Start with these well-organized sites: ThinkExist, BrainyQuote, GoodQuotes.
It’s easy to overlook the impact that stress has on our well-being when deadlines and personal stressors get in the way. (There are just not enough hours in the day!) But making time to relax and regroup can only help your efforts to get the job done, and get it done in a way that won’t harm your health.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.