Seven super-quick fixes for stress

By Barbara Pierce

You just got home from work, took off your shoes, sank into a chair, hoping to relax for a minute until you fix dinner. You had a really horrific day at work because two people called in sick and you had to fill in for them. Then your two kids race in, fighting with each other, crying for your help. Their older brother comes to ask what’s for dinner, he’s starving.

You’re at the breaking point. You feel totally overwhelmed. This happens to most of us from time to time.

Mental health counselor James Davis, executive director of Samaritan Counseling Center, Utica, a nonprofit organization offering counseling to individuals, couples and families, suggests these valuable tips for a quick fix to get through those moments when you’re totally stressed out:

1. 4-7-8 breathing: This is easy to do and works well, suggested Davis. You can do it at work, at home, even driving in your car:

Close your mouth and inhale for four seconds.

Hold your breath for seven seconds.

Open your mouth and exhale for eight seconds.

Do this cycle three or four times. It’s a powerful fix for stress. “When I do this, I feel more relaxed. It really does work,” he added. “Your amygdala resets.” Amygdala is the center for emotions in your brain.

Or, many people find the apps that help with your breathing to be helpful, he said. Breathe2Relax is one. It offers calming music, bars to regulate your breathing and you rate your anxiety level before you start and afterwards so you can see how it helped.

2. Take a five-minute mini-vacation: Close your door, relax in a chair, close your eyes and take a five-minute mini-vacation. Seeing yourself in your favorite place, he advised. Whether it’s on the beach, playing with your kids, on a boat, whatever brings you a good feeling. It works. Really get into it. What are your experiencing? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear?

It’s a quick break to reset your brain, he added. “I go to the beach, where I hear the sound of waves and feel the sun on my body,” he said. If you love sailing, you should definitely try this out.

3. Take a break from the news and social media, from anything negative.

4. Meditation and yoga are both good ways to reset your brain on calm, though they aren’t for everybody.

5. Talk to supportive people. This is a most effective way to relieve stress. Ask a friend or co-worker to be a sounding board as you talk out your issues. Sometimes just sharing what you’re going through can help you see things better from that perspective and the perspective of your friend.

6. List your stresses of the moment: Take a minute to jot down all the things you have going on at this moment, Davis suggested. Then prioritize them. Skip the ones on the bottom. For example, you’re totally exhausted from your day at work, your kid is crying, you’ve got a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink and you need to do the laundry. Forget the dishes and the laundry, they can wait.

Just acknowledging your stressors can really help lift the weight off your shoulders. You might find patterns that lead you to begin to think about how you can improve things for yourself. Learn about the best delta 8 gummies brands to choose which is the best to relieve your stress.

7. List the stresses that are ongoing: Make an hour or so break for yourself and list all the things that you’re facing in your life, all the things you’re juggling to keep in the air. You probably have a long list here—and it feels overwhelming. Prioritize the things on this list also. Then, cross off those that are low priority.

If it looks like you have too much on your plate, eliminate what you can. Really work at saying “no” to taking on any new responsibilities at work or at home. Try to find a healthy balance between work and other activities.

For the stressors and problems that you didn’t cross off this list, it helps to break them down into manageable pieces. Problems that seem huge and overwhelming are more manageable when they’re looked at as a series of smaller tasks.

Also look at each item on your list. Is there something you could do to change the situation? If so, do what you can to change the situation, and then step back. Or, if you can’t do anything about the situation, why let it stress you out?  Accept what you cannot change. If a problem is beyond your control, you’re better off accepting it for now than spinning your wheels.

You might consider sitting down with a mental health counselor to help you sort through your list, prioritize all that is going on in your life, and determine how to make the necessary changes.