Got the work-day blues? Worried about finals? Stressed about anything and everything? Most people have heard the typical de-stressors — go for a walk, take a nap, listen to music, exercise — but here are some quick and not-as-well-known relaxation tips to ease your mind.
- Eat an orange.
Citrus fruits contain a chemical called linalool. In 2009, scientists experimented on rats and had them inhale linalool, which lowered their stress levels. As a bonus, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C!
- Squeeze your muscles.
This method is used by actors and can also be a great way to fall asleep. Tighten the muscles in one area of the body and then release, letting go of your stress. This is great when you don’t have the room to do sun salutations or downward facing dog.
- Wash your wrists in cold water.
You read that right. Not your hands – your wrists. There are major arteries in your wrists and behind your ears, so cooling these areas will calm your blood and you.
- Do something mindless and repetitive.
Cleaning dishes, knitting, brushing your hair, showering or other activities that engage your hands and not your brain will calm you as they engage the left brain and leave the right brain free to daydream or imagine, which is another way to reduce stress.
- Find the nearest Starbucks and inhale.
Just how linalool calmed rats, so did the smell of coffee. If you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t worry – just smelling it is enough to reduce stress hormones.
- Be your own Pavlov.
You can train yourself to relax. Whenever you feel happy and carefree or visualize a happy event, pinch your earlobe. Eventually, your brain will associate the pinch with relaxation, and you will be able to induce it when stressed.
- Isolate your senses.
When you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on what each of your senses is taking in individually. This can be a good way to slow down a chaotic environment.
- Eat dark chocolate.
The same way chocolate helps people in the wizarding world recover from a Dementor attack, dark chocolate boosts serotonin levels in your brain, which makes you feel happier.
- Get a full body massage without leaving your chair.
Begin at the base of the large muscle below your thumb and rub gentle circles. Rub up to the tip of your thumb to release stress in your shoulders, neck and scalp. Plus, for computer users, your hands deserve a break.
BONUS: Another palm-related relaxant involves pressing the center of your palm. Increase the pressure as you breathe out, decrease the pressure as you breathe in, holding for three to seven seconds.
Also be sure you are eating healthy, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Stay organized and on top of your tasks with lists, post it notes, planners, or however your brain likes best to be reminded of an assignment. Remember that it is okay to ask for help and to always reach out to someone if you are overwhelmed with stress, to talk or just for a hug.