Did you know that 79% of people frequently feel stressed at work, and 1 in 14 adults feel stressed every day.
With Google searches for “how to reduce stress” up by a large percentage in the last two months, we discuss five unique ways to manage stress – and the science behind why they work – from “blue therapy,” to learning a new language, to eating spicy food.
1. Write it down.
A stress journal can help you identify exactly what triggers the stress in your life and keep check of how you manage it. Keeping a note of what caused you to feel stressed, how you responded mentally and physically, such as feeling angry or having a panic attack, and if/how you were able to calm down. You might notice patterns and themes, in both causes of stress, and possibly unhealthy coping mechanisms, so you can work on them.
2. Learn a new language.
Studies have shown that active learning is more effective at managing stress than passive relaxation. Concentrating on something, like learning a language, helps take your mind off unwanted and stressful thoughts, more than trying to force yourself to relax with candles and a bubble bath.
A Harvard study showed that picking up a new skill can reduce the detrimental effects of stress, including burnout, negative emotions, and unethical behaviour. The study had half of the people taking part engage in learning activities, and the other half engaged in relaxation; the people who did the learning activities experienced fewer negative emotions.
3. Kick your shoes off.
Grounding, or earthing, is the act of making physical contact with the earth, allowing you to absorb beneficial energy from the ground. Walking barefoot on grass, soil, and sand can increase feelings of calm and well-being, and reduce stress hormones.
Studies have shown that taking your shoes off and feeling the ground beneath your feet can reduce stress, improve your sleep, and regulate circadian rhythms, and can reduce cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, by up to 31%.
4. Get some vitamin sea.
In a similar way to grounding, being by the sea – known as ‘blue therapy’ – can be extremely calming. The sound of crashing waves has been shown to relax the mind by activating the parasympathetic nervous system which slows heart and breathing rates and lowers blood pressure.
A study by the University of Exeter showed that living close to the sea can support better mental health, and spending time by the water consistently linked with a positive mood, and lower negative mood and stress.
5. Make it spicy.
Chilis contain a chemical called capsaicin, which is what causes the spicy burn you feel when eating them. Studies have shown that capsaicin encourages endorphins and serotonin which decreases the risk of stress and depression. But if can’t handle the heat, there are other ways to trigger a similar effect. Submerging your face in a bowl of ice water triggers your mammalian dive reflex, decreasing your heart rate and reducing the effects of panic attacks and stress.
This article was written by Tatiana Rehmova and was originally appeared on Your Coffee Break.