Stress is a part of life for most of us, but being able to manage it well makes all the difference. Not only is stress uncomfortable to experience, it can have negative effects on your health, so finding ways to calm down quickly in the face of anxiety and stress is a valuable skill. These science-backed techniques can help you in a hurry.
- Tap your fingers - The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) uses “tapping” on acupressure points to move stagnant energy in the body. You use your fingertips to “tap” on specific areas of the body while repeating calming phrases to shift anxious feelings to relaxing thoughts. The tapping activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which certified Integrative Health Practitioner Bridget Botelho says “is key to relaxation.”
- Fake it til you make it - This method can be done anywhere and all you have to do is plaster on a fake smile, which sends a calming message to the brain. When you do, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress, according to SCL Health. That activates other feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which can actually help you feel better.
- Listen to “binaural beats” - It’s a kind of sound therapy where the listener hears two slightly different audio frequencies, creating an “auditory illusion” that can have a relaxing effect, Botelho explains. The idea is that binaural beats can induce the same mental state as meditation, but much more quickly, and may help decrease stress and anxiety.
- Create a routine - This one takes a little more time than forcing yourself to smile when you’re stressed, but having a solid daily routine may help you feel stable and less overwhelmed long-term. Not sure where to start? Botelho recommends beginning with having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time and adding a 10 to 20 minute morning walk outside.