Coming from a massage therapist, here are a few was to decrease stress:
Stress reduction idea 1 – humor:
Humor is one of the greatest and quickest devices for reducing stress, it works because laughter produces helpful chemicals in the brain.
Humor also gets your brain thinking and working in a different way – it distracts you from having a stressed mindset. Distraction is a simple effective de-stressor – it takes your thoughts away from the stress, and thereby diffuses the stressful feelings.
Therefore most people will feel quite different and notice a change in mindset after laughing and being distracted by something humorous.
Stress reduction idea 2 – brisk walk:
Go for a short quick really brisk walk outside.
Yes, actually leave the building.
Change your environment.
Breathe in some fresh air and smell the atmosphere…
Trees, rain, flowers, coffee beans – doesn’t matter – stimulate your senses with new things.
Stress reduction idea 3 – rehydrate:
Go get a big cup or a bottle of water.
Most of us fail to drink enough water – that’s water – not tea, coffee, coke, ‘sports’ drinks, Red Bull or fruit juice…
All of your organs, including your brain, are strongly dependent on water to function properly. It’s how we are built.
If you starve your body of water you will function below your best – and you will get stressed. Physically and mentally.
Offices and workplaces commonly have a very dry atmosphere due to air conditioning, etc., which increases people’s susceptibility to de-hydration.
This is why you must keep your body properly hydrated by regularly drinking water (most people need 4-8 glasses of water a day).
You will drink more water if you keep some on your desk at all times – it’s human nature to drink it if it’s there – so go get some now.
When you drink water you need to pee. This gives you a bit of a break and a bit of exercise now and then, which also reduces stress.
When you pee you can see if your body is properly hydrated (your pee will be clear or near clear – if it’s yellow you are not taking enough water).
This will also prompt some amusing discussion and chuckling with your colleagues (“Nature calls – I’m off to the bog again…”) which is also good for reducing stress.
You do not need to buy expensive mineral water. Tap water is fine.
If you do not like the taste of tap water it’s probably because of the chlorine (aquarium fish don’t like it either), however the chlorine dissipates quite naturally after a few hours – even through a plastic bottle – so keep some ordinary tap water in the fridge for 2-3 hours and try it then.
If you want to be really exotic add a slice of lemon or lime, cucumber or even mint. Kiwi and stone fruit are nice too…
Stress reduction technique 5 – make a cuppa:
Any tea will do, but a flavoured cup of tea is even better.
Experiment with different natural flavouring’s using herbs and spices and fruit.
Fresh mint is wonderful, and excellent for the digestive system. Nettles are fantastic and contain natural relaxants. Orange zest is super (use one of those nifty little zester gadgets). Ginger root is brilliant. Many herbs, spices, fruits and edible plants make great flavoured tea, and many herbs and spices have real therapeutic properties.
Use a ‘base’ of green tea leaves – about half a spoonful per serving – plus the natural flavouring(s) of your choice, and freshly boiled water. Be bold – use lots of leaves – experiment until you find a blend that you really enjoy. Sugar or honey bring out the taste. Best without milk, but milk is fine if you prefer it.
Making the tea and preparing the ingredients take your mind off your problems, and then smelling and drinking the tea also relaxes you. There is something wonderful about natural plants and fruits which you can’t buy in a packet. Use a tea-pot or cafetiere, or if you are happy with a bit of foliage in your drink actually brew it in a big mug or heatproof tumbler.
Fresh mint and ginger tea recipe:
Put all this into a teapot or cafetiere and add boiling water for 2-3 cups. Allow to brew for a minute or two, stir and serve. (This is enough for 2-3 mug-sized servings):
1-1½ heaped teaspoons of green tea leaves
2-4 sprigs of fresh mint (a very generous handful of leaves with or without the stems – more than you might imagine)
3-6 zest scrapes of an orange
half a teaspoon of chopped ginger root
2-4 teaspoons of sugar or 1-2 teaspoons of honey – more or less to taste
Alter the amounts to your own taste. The recipe also works very well without the orange and ginger, which is effectively the mint tea drink that is hugely popular in Morocco and other parts of North Africa. Dried mint can be substituted for fresh mint. Experiment. The Moroccan tradition is to use small glass tumblers, and somehow seeing the fine color of the tea adds to the experience.
XOXO – Korbel