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79 Ways to Relieve Stress Right Now

relaxI’m pretty sure this is the world’s longest list of ways to relieve stress immediately.  In preparing this list, I only sought ways to relieve stress that could be implemented on the spot.  Basically, when stressed, open this page, pick a number and destress.  I’d bookmark it now.

A lot of our clients are extremely busy and though we make sure our transcription services are as painless and stress-free as possible, we’re sure some of them get stressed in other parts of their businesses from time-to-time.  With that in mind, we’re continuing our personal development series with 79 ways to relieve stress right now.

  1. Listen to nature sounds. Here’s a good place to start.
  2. Watch standup comedy online.  In particular, I like Mitch Hedberg.
  3. Take a bubble bath.
  4. Play this on your computer (it’s a YouTube Doubler combination of a fireplace, rain sounds and soothing music that’s sure to reduce stress right away).
  5. “Breathe out” negative emotions.  “Breathe in” positive emotions. Here’s a somewhat cheesy visualization exercise to reduce stress that works for some people.  Assign a negative emotion to exhaling and a positive emotion to inhaling.  Then, focus on that negative emotion (i.e. anger or resentment) leaving your body as you exhale slowly through your nose and focus on that positive emotion (i.e. happiness or contentment) entering your body as you inhale slowly and deeply through your mouth.
  6. Watch funny YouTube videos. This is one of the quickest ways to relieve stress and put a smile on your face. Try FAIL Blog, one of the funniest YouTube channels.
  7. Skip stones.
  8. Listen to calm music. Visit StereoMood.com and click on the “calm” or “relax” tags.
  9. Get a massage (from a friend, your significant other or a professional masseuse).
  10. Give yourself a scalp massage. Here’s how.
  11. Ask for help. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to simply ask someone you know, ideally a close loved one, for help.  Perhaps that person won’t be able to help you with the task that is causing you stress, but that person can certainly help eliminate other stressors in your life (i.e. that person can help reduce your stress by emptying the sink of dirty dishes, helping with laundry, etc.).
  12. Imagine your stressor(s) from a global perspective. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress and adjust your outlook. The next time you have a “major” stressor, imagine yourself floating above the Earth.  If you zoom in (and in, and in) and look very closely, you can see people rushing to work in Houston, you can see people who just missed their trains in Chicago and you can see someone who just fell and cut his knee in Tokyo.  You see billions of people as well as every fish, dolphin, tiger, monkey and insect.  All of the sudden, the report that is due tomorrow – or whatever it is that is stressing you out – is quite tiny by comparison.  The world is an extremely large place, and though we all play a part in keeping it running, any one person’s problem is generally quite small when put in global perspective.
  13. Stare at a very detailed object for 10 minutes (i.e. a tree).  Concentrate on noticing every minute detail.
  14. Have a warm cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of soup.  Not only will the warmth reduce stress and help you to calm down, but both are difficult to consume while doing other things (i.e. you can’t have a bowl of soup and type at the same time).
  15. Visit a comedy club.
  16. Sit in front of a roaring fire. Here’s a link to a “virtual fireplace,” if you don’t have access to the real thing at the moment.
  17. Use Baoding balls. These are Chinese balls you can buy cheaply online that people rotate in their hands.  They are used, in part, to reduce stress.
  18. Play with your pet. This is one of the quickest and most uplifting ways to relieve stress.
  19. Spend time with a loved one. You’ll reduce stress and strengthen your relationship.
  20. Go outside and yell.
  21. Sit in a steam room or sauna at a gym. The heat will help you reduce stress and relax.
  22. Visit a pet store. Who can be upset when petting puppies?
  23. Think of three things that make you happy. Think about each thing for at least a minute each.
  24. Get a foot massage from your significant other. This is one of the nicest ways to relieve stress and grow closer to one another.
  25. Take a bath with essential oils. Here’s a guide to relieving stress by taking a relaxing bath with essential oils.
  26. Jump on a trampoline. While exercise is covered elsewhere on this list, a trampoline is both great exercise (releasing endorphins) as well as an activity that helps inspire youthful joy.  Frankly, it’s just hard not to smile on a trampoline.
  27. Play an instrument. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to relieve stress. Hearing your music might even improve someone else’s day too.
  28. Go cloud watching. Find a nice park on a sunny day.  Lie down and stare at the clouds, paying attention to their different shapes.  At a minimum, you’ll get a nice nap out in the sun (though the idea is to stay awake in a peaceful environment and focus on something that is entirely not stressful – the clouds).
  29. Watch the sunset. This one of the most peaceful ways to relieve stress, slow down, and appreciate beauty.
  30. Go to the spa.
  31. Play video games.
  32. Get a manicure and/or pedicure. If they’re too expensive in your area, visit Yelp.com to find a nail salon that has great reviews and is inexpensive.
  33. Plan a date night with your significant other. If having to plan the night just adds stress, either have your significant other decide where you’ll eat dinner and what you’ll do or just go to the nearest restaurant and see whatever movie is soonest after you drive to the theater.
  34. Explore nature. Go on a short hike, visit a park, etc. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress because you can get some Vitamin D and exercise in the process.
  35. Read a children’s book to your son or daughter. Doing so will allow you to escape into pure fantasy for a few minutes while spending time with your child.
  36. Meditate. Here’s a how to video.
  37. Read a book (preferably fiction – it lets your mind “escape”).
  38. Have a cup of tea. This is one of the quickest ways to relieve stress, and if you choose your tea carefully, you can also soak up some powerful antioxidants in the process.
  39. Physically distance yourself from other people. When stress seems unbearable, go to Google Maps and figure out what the most remote place is within a couple of hours from your location.  Visit that spot.
  40. Perform a random act of kindness that requires some thought (i.e. buy food for a homeless person, round up a few unwanted items in your house and give those away).  Don’t just give money away; it’s far less cathartic, as it’s quick and, like holding a door for someone, requires too little thought.  It’s the thought process that will calm you down and help you reduce stress.
  41. Take a break. Whatever you’re doing, stop.  Go outside, have a conversation, etc.  Just taking a break and coming back to the issue later is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress.
  42. Write a handwritten letter to a friend. There’s something about both the slow speed and the deliberate nature of writing a letter by hand for no other reason then to check in and say hello that is cathartic.  An email won’t work in the same way (for one thing, it’s too closely related to workplace stressors).  Find a pen and some nice stationery and start writing.
  43. Use a footbath.
  44. Play a board game.
  45. Chop wood. If this option is available to you, go for it; it’s a great way to reduce stress.
  46. Visualize what the most peaceful room possible would look like. Would you include calm music?  Rainforest sounds?  A hammock?  A fireplace?  Incense?  Puppies?  A room full of cotton balls?
  47. Light incense, turn on calm music and turn off the lights. Resting for a few minutes in this kind of atmosphere is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
  48. Feed ducks (seriously, visit a park with a loaf of old bread; it’s cathartic).
  49. Take a shower or bath.
  50. Write down your top three achievable goals for tomorrow. Then, forget about them.
  51. Practice yoga. Here’s a great video guide to introductory yoga.
  52. Carefully observe a fish tank. This is one of the more unconventional ways to relieve stress, but it is highly effective. If you have access to a fish tank, spend 10 minutes watching the fish very carefully, trying to observe every last detail of their appearance and actions.  A fish tank is interesting enough that you shouldn’t get distracted and silent so as to be calming.  After ten minutes of not thinking about your stressor, you should be much more relaxed.
  53. Sit. When you’re dealing with the type of stress that arises because of the chaos in your life (i.e. Thanksgiving when +20 of your relatives are at your house), just sit.  You’ll be surprised what just a few minutes of sitting entirely still in a quiet environment can do to reduce stress.
  54. Engage in a calm hobby like painting, drawing, knitting or woodcarving.
  55. Get coffee with a friend.
  56. Practice 7/11 breathing. This is when you breathe in slowly and deeply for seven seconds and you then breathe out for 11 seconds.  Repeating this process until you feel calm is one of the most best ways to relieve stress.
  57. Think about the things you can do. When you doubt yourself, the tendency is to think about the reasons you cannot do something.  Instead, think about what you can do about the issue.
  58. Visualize your stress floating away with the “hot air balloon method.” This is one of the more cheesy ways to relieve stress, but give it a try (especially because you can do so at your desk).  All you have to do is imagine a hot air balloon tethered to the ground.  Put the cause of your stress into the balloon’s basket (it’s common to imagine placing the word or phrase itself into the basket).  Then, imagine slowly walking from each of the four ropes that are tethering the balloon to the ground and untying them.  Spend the next minute imagining the balloon floating away with your stressor.
  59. Squeeze a stress ball.
  60. Hug a loved one. This is one of the nicest ways to relieve stress for both of you.
  61. Call a friend just to talk for a bit.
  62. Spend time with a baby. If you are an aunt or uncle, visit your niece or nephew.  That way, you get the positive parts of parenting (i.e. a baby’s infectious happiness) without the more undesirable parts (i.e. crying and changing diapers).
  63. Think about your significant other (unless that person is the cause of your stress, of course).  In particular, think for an entire minute about the last fun thing you both did together. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress and bring a smile to your face.
  64. Play a computer game.
  65. Hire professional help when you’re struggling with a task that is causing you stress (i.e. if you’re stressed out because you can’t fix the toilet, call a plumber).  You can hire professional help for frustrating tasks by visiting YellowPages.com.
  66. Stand up and stretch. Here’s a list of eight simple stretches that help reduce stress.
  67. Watch YouTube videos of cute animals. Here’s a link to the U-Zoo YouTube page, one of the cutest pages on YouTube.
  68. Read jokes.
  69. Sit in a hot tub.
  70. Eat something. This is one of the quickest (and most delicious) ways to relieve stress and increase your energy.
  71. Do a mundane chore. Don’t do something complex and frustrating like hanging Christmas lights.  Instead, do something entirely mundane like folding laundry (you can zone out in front of the TV while you’re at it) or washing dishes.  Both of these examples occupy your mind and your hands, meaning you’ll have to stop what was stressing you out (and largely – if not entirely – stop thinking about it for a little while).
  72. Visualize the world’s most peaceful nature scene. Are you looking at a sunny beach in Hawaii with palm trees?  Are you looking at a beautiful winter scene with snow-capped mountains in the background?
  73. Go for a run or exercise in another way. The resulting rush of endorphins will reduce stress and help you think better.
  74. Watch a TV show. Here’s a link to Hulu.com, which offers plenty of free, legal shows without having to register.
  75. Take a nap.
  76. Ask a close friend to list a few positive things about you.
  77. Go for a walk. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress, clear your mind, and enjoy nature.
  78. Punch a punching bag. Release your frustrations.
  79. Rub your temples. Here’s the proper method.

Feeling better?  I hope so.  I’m sure I missed some ways to relieve stress.  Please share your favorite tips for dealing with stress in the comments below.

4 Comments to 79 Ways to Relieve Stress Right Now

  1. Ali's Gravatar Ali
    July 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    WOW, it is great, you actually came up with 79 ways, great points to reduce stress. for me meditation also works as a stress reliever.


  2. ALEXANDRA's Gravatar ALEXANDRA
    January 10, 2013 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Wow thanks for this, best ever reliever for stress! some websites only provide 20 but you came up with 79!! great tips.
    You could add one more possibly?..by adding inhale essential oils such as lavender and geranium which are excellent stress relievers. But I understand that your tips are more practical without the use of any product and still effective.
    Thanks again. :)


  3. Savannah's Gravatar Savannah
    January 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Drink some tea, peppermint or chamomile works best something without caffeine


  4. Rodney Hoskins's Gravatar Rodney Hoskins
    February 17, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    What a great list.


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