How to reduce stress in 10 minutes

29 March 2020

Stress is inevitable and it can happen both at home and work. If one experiences perpetual stress and does not do anything about it, it may lead to serious physical symptoms such as weight gain, migraine or even depression. When you are having a bad day, where everything doesn’t seem to go right, here’s how you can relieve some stress in less than 10 minutes.

1. Take deep breaths
As long as you’re ingesting enough air to keep your body going, you’re breathing right. But taking long deep breaths will do the trick. Breathe in deeply into your stomach such that your diaphragm expands, then breathe out slowly. If the source of your stress is within close proximity to you, discreetly breathe in and out through your nose for a second, and repeat for 10 seconds. If sitting in front of your computer stresses you out, step away for a few minutes. You’ll end up feeling calmer and ready to tackle your next task more efficiently.

2. Count to 10
Anger is a form of stress too, and one of the easiest way to manage your anger, is to take advice from former US President Thomas Jefferson: “When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” By the time you’re done, you’ll probably find that your anger has somewhat lessened, due to the element of time and distraction.

3. Take some time out
If you feel like you’ve burned out (or almost there), take a quick break at work by resting your forehead on top of your folded arms that’re placed on the desk. Move your chair back until your spine is fully extended, and place your feet flat on the floor. Take between five and eight deep breaths. If required, head to the washroom and freshen yourself up.

4. Plug your headphones in

Music is known as a therapeutic tool, and listening to your favourite music can help dispel and distract you away from stress. So crank it up! Whether it’s a playlist of soothing tunes or upbeat melodies, you’ll feel more relaxed after.

5. Unplug and take proper breaks
After you’ve finished all your urgent tasks for the day, leave all your work in the office and head home. Clean up your schedule if you have to as well! When you’re home, if you’re not expecting any emergency calls or emails, turn your phone to silent, do not disturb, or switch it off. Sometimes, all you need is a break from technology, to keep your mind relaxed.

6. Go on a weekend staycation
You don’t need to give yourself a reason for a weekend staycation with your family or spend some "me" time. Pamper yourself with the hotel spa or have a great breakfast to recharge yourself before going back to the office, you’ll definitely feel rejuvenated and ready to take on a new week.

Read: Best brunch spots in Singapore

7. Soothing scents
Before bed, light up a candle with scents like lavender, mandarin and bergamot or patchouli. All of which contributes to help with anxiety, relaxation, and deal with stress-related issues. But please blow out your candle before dozing out! For on the go, get a moisturiser with similar scents to keep your nerves at bay.

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8. Social support
Seek solace in your friends or families, and have them listen to your feelings. It’s important to hear from an outsider’s perspective, as it may help you see clearer and understand the bigger picture. Do ensure you return the favour when asked for a listening ear. Always be kind to people.

9. Be healthy

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and start leading a healthier lifestyle. Do you know that exercising pumps up your endorphins, which will trigger a positive feeling in the body? After a satisfying workout, try out meditation which helps in improving concentration and reduces anxiety. Even a quick daily 10 minute meditation helps.

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10. Eat and drink right
When you need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day, switch from coffee to chamomile or another form of herbal tea, which helps you to stay calm and relaxes your senses. If you have the munchies, have some cashew nuts or almonds, instead of crackers. After a month of eating healthy, you’ll feel and look better about yourself.

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