Weird or Unconventional Stress Relief
These free stress relief techniques are your ticket to feeling more peaceful and light inside. Seriously, if you don’t laugh or feel lighter after trying any of these techniques (especially watching the videos below), message me to make an appointment right away. Alright, let’s get count ’em down!
#1 Laughter Yoga
Laugh for no reason at all and keep on going (fake it ’til you make it!). Check out this video that describes the practice. You can definitely do this on your own but if you have a friend or family member willing to be silly with you, that would be ideal. Want to combine laughter with the physical and meditative practice of yoga? Check out yoga with goats! It’s really a thing, I kid you not.
Why does it work? Laughter releases endorphins to relieve stress and bring calm to the system. Does our body know or care if we’re really amused or faking it? Nope!
#2 Silly Dancing / Singing
Gangnam style anyone? Macarena? The Robot? You get the idea… getting your body moving is very powerful in lowering stress. If you’re like me and awful at dancing, just go for the silliest dance and have a good laugh. We’ve established those are good for you too 🙂 And if you really can’t summon the motivation to dance yourself, just watch this funny dance parody put together by UC Davis students, faculty and staff. Tell me they’re not having fun!
#3 Random Acts of Kindness
Maybe you’re wondering, how is doing something for someone else going to help ME calm down? Well, for starters, this gets you out of your head and beyond the negative storyline on repeat in your mind. The additional benefit is witnessing the joy emanating from your unsuspecting beneficiary. Need some ideas? The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has you covered!
#4 Alternate Nostril Breathing
Pranayam-a-what?? Don’t worry about reading the Sanskrit name and just call it “alternate nostril breathing.” This excellent instructional video will show you how it’s done but I’ll give you this fast overview of the benefits of slow breathing. And trust me, this practice will s-l-o-w you down!
We all know breathing is good for us, right? It’s one of the involuntary behaviors we have to do to stay alive. But often we do it wrong by filling our upper lungs (up high in our chests). We don’t get as much oxygen this way, leaving ourselves short of breath (even if not aware of it) and more anxious.
You’ll get maximum oxygen into your system by taking in slow deep breaths through your nose and into your diaphragm (rather than shallow chest breathing). This is a scientifically proven method for stress relief! Babies have this mastered but we adults must re-learn. This may take some patience but don’t give up on it!
If this technique is a bit too weird for you, an alternate way is to blow bubbles as big as you can. This will force you to breathe deeply and exhale slowly and evenly, allowing your heart rate to come down.
#5 Smash or Destroy Stuff! (safely)
Is your stress coming out as anger and irritability? Then give these cathartic tricks a try! On a strong surface that you don’t mind if it gets a little scuffed/dented, use your hands or a rubber mallet to smash modeling clay (careful with your hands so you don’t get hurt). No artistic talents required! Now that’s my kind of clay modeling.
Popping bubble wrap or tearing cardboard to shreds are additional safe choices if you feel the urge to destroy something. The exercise alone involved in any of these activities can lower your stress hormones.
#6 Pulling Weeds
Oh so zen. This may be my favorite technique for stress relief as I feel very calm in nature. At my place we have a LOT of weeds. It’s meticulous work to pull them all. And it takes focus and patience to gently pull out as much of the roots as possible.
If you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden, you can volunteer to weed a neighbor’s place or keep a bonsai plant indoors to keep trim.
OK, not that ‘weird’ but also not what most people think to do to relieve stress. Yet often we are stuck in thought patterns that dwell on the negatives and causes our body to release more stress hormones.
Gratitude – whether written in a list or long-form – not only balances our perspective about life, it also calms the brain down in the process. Grateful for what we have, we are less stressed about all the ways we feel we don’t measure up or what we lack. So, make this one a daily habit!
#8 Look Up Funny Pictures / Videos Online
Did I mention that laughter lowers cortisol (the stress hormone)? The internet is full with material to make you laugh and smile. Some of my favorites are videos of baby goats. How can you not feel lighter inside watching them run and hop around? Even better with western hats 😉
#9 Be Creative with Your Stress Relief
The best stress relief technique out there is the one you actually use. So, here’s your chance to use your creativity and experiment with what works for you. If you come up with something magical you think others would enjoy, please share in the comments below or drop me a line. Happy stress relieving!
When Simple Stress Relief Methods Aren’t Enough
As satisfying as the above methods are to help you feel better for a moment or two, I fully appreciate that you might still feel stuck. Professional therapy can help you address the underlying causes. Don’t let chronic stress and anxiety shorten your lifespan and rob you of today’s joy.
Send me a message if you need a boost. Know that I’m here to help build up your resilience against stress and tackle the tough stuff that’s stressing you out.