Learn how to beat stress in the moment

Last week we looked at the fight or flight response, and I asked you to identify your own personal stress response.Which of the following best describes your normal reaction to stress?

  • Overexcited stress response –  irritable, overemotional,  agitated
  • Under excited stress response – depressed, withdrawn, shut down

Awareness of your own response to stress will help you identify the best way for you to practise quick stress relief.

If you respond by becoming irritable, overemotional, or agitated under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down, such as yoga or meditation. Whereas, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn and shut down, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are energizing, such as taking some exercise.


Whether you walk,  run, stretch, or dance, letting your body move is one of the best forms of stress relief. The ancient art of tai chi is particularly beneficial as it uses gentle flowing movements coordinated with breathing to help you achieve a sense of inner calm. The concentration required for tai chi also encourages you to live in the present moment.

How to beat stress in the moment

What if you are stressed in the moment and don’t have time to meditate or take some exercise? Then the quickest way to access instant stress relief is quite simply to engage one of your five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.

We are all different in how we respond to sensory input, so you need to determine what will work best for you.Here are some ideas to start you off.

You respond best to visual stimuli

  • I am a very visual person and I love to surround myself with beautiful objects. My best stress reliever is to go for a walk in nature, pick some wildflowers and arrange them in a pretty vase when I get home.
  • Visit an art museum and look at a favorite painting.

You respond best to auditory stimuli

  • Focussing on sound may be the best way to relief stress for you, so listen to your favourite piece of soothing or uplifting music, tune into the rustling of the trees, or the soothing sound of running water (I love to listen to the sound of the stream near my home).
  • Research shows that live music improves mood and reduces anxiety (when was the last time you went to a concert?)

You respond best to smell

  • If you are soothed by scent, then light a scented candle, sprinkle some lavender on a handkerchief, burn some incense, smell a rose, or any other favourite smell.

You respond best to touch

  • I find it very soothing to wrap myself in my a warm fleecy blanket when I am feeling down.
  • A hand or foot massage is another great stress reliever.

You respond best to taste

  • Cook a delicious healthy meal and practise eating it mindfully – eating slowly and giving your full attention on the feel of the food in your mouth and the taste on your tongue.
  • Sip a cup of your favorite tea, savoring and really experiencing the taste.

Over To You

Of  all the five senses, which do you respond best to? What is the most perfect image,  sound, smell or taste which would help calm you down? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.