Try an inversion. For centuries, Yogis have practiced bringing the head below the level of the heart, otherwise known as inversion. Whether it’s relaxing in child’s pose, bending over to touch your toes, or practicing a headstand, inverting the body has a restorative effect on the autonomic nervous system, which controls the body’s response to stress.
Do the “Downward Facing Dog” pose. Just like inversions help reset the autonomic nervous system, the yoga pose known as Downward Facing Dog in particular has the added benefit of activating several muscles in the arms, legs, and core. This stretch helps muscles begin to burn additional blood glucose that is made available by the body’s fight or flight response.
Visualize a quiet place. Close your eyes and picture a calm, peaceful place. Then, gently build up a picture of how it looks, smells, and feels to be there.
Drink water. Dehydration has been linked to a reduction in mental performance. Pour a tall glass of cold water and sip it slowly, observe the calming effect this has on your nervous system.
Sing out loud and dance around. Everyone knows the sweet relief associated with rocking out to your favourite tune. But the physical act of singing out loud, even if it is off key, has been shown to release endorphins, the “feel good” chemical in the brain.
Create a vision board. Cut out words and pictures from magazines that speak of your interests, desires, and dreams. Then glue these pictures and words onto a poster board to display in a room. Not only does the process of creation allow you to think about what you want from life, displaying things you love gives you an opportunity to focus on what is really important when you are upset.
Give or get a bear hug. Hugging allows your body to produce oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in your body necessary for immune system function. Not only does a 20 second hug reduce blood pressure, increase feelings of well-being, and reduce the harmful physical effects of stress, you really will reap the benefits!
Squish some blue tack or similar. When you play with putty, the brain’s electrical impulses begin firing away from the areas associated with stress.
Write it down. Journaling, or writing your feelings down can have a profound effect on your mood. Get a notebook to keep in a safe place, and write about how you feel.
Walk in nature. According to scientists, walking in nature has been proven to improve cognition and reduce stress.
Push against a wall. This trick is perfect for allowing the body to get rid of stress hormones without having to go outside or even leave the room. Try to push the wall over for 10 seconds, 3 times. This process allows the muscles to contract in a futile attempt to bring the wall down, then relax, releasing feel-good hormones into the body.
Roll a golf ball under your feet. Rolling a golf ball under your feet can not only improve circulation, but there are pressure points on the bottom of the feet that relieve stress and relax the muscles of the feet and legs. Roll over the entire sole of your foot using various pressures for maximum benefit.
Play music. Music has a profound effect on mood, sleep, stress, and anxiety. Use a variety of musical styles to set the tone in your home, car, or room.
Dance. Adding a physical component to your musical enjoyment gets your moving and is a fun way to be active. Crank up the tunes and have a dance party and watch your mood transform.