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- Under excited stress response – depressed, withdrawn, shut down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 Whereas, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn and shut down, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are energizing, such as taking some exercise.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.
i liove this idea of using our senses to beat stress – during the summer i attended a live concert in the open air and i was buzzing for days after it 🙂
i am a person who loves soothing scents like lavender so this makes sense to me 🙂
Eating food mindfully — i really like that idea and will definitely be more aware of the various tastes when i am at the dinner table
I find it interesting that sometimes I respond to stress in both ways you mention. Sometimes I do have an over excited stress response and sometimes I have an under excited stress response. I never gave this much thought before, if any. I’m going to try to tune into my feelings better next time when I feel stressed. Thanks for the great advice.
really good advice – thanks!
I love the sensation of sipping and savoring tea, but I also relax in the aroma of lavender. Maybe we can reduce stress using more than one sense. Thanks for this insightful post. xx
This is really fascinating. Taste is a biggie in terms of calming nerves. There’s little better than a cup of tea to feel like one’s self again. (in my opinion!)
Really like this idea..I must have a think about what is my favorite sense
excellent tips indeed
I also find visual stimuli very effective in lowering my stress..thanks for the reminder that sometimes it can be quite simple
very helpful to read this
This is such super advice – going to go practise some visauliaztion right now
This is just what I needed to read today x
so glad to hear that Michaela