BY: QUENTIN STUCKEY
Between the tax forms you haven’t filled out yet, the family reunion coming up on the weekend or even finding a decent parking spot at work, daily stresses can certainly add up pretty quickly. And before you know it, we start finding unhealthy ways to cope with these negative feelings. We end up drinking too much, yelling too much, eating too much, all of which end up making us feel worse than before. Stress is an unavoidable emotion, in fact it indicates that we’re doing something worthy of our time and energy. By following these odd, unconventional tips, we can be more equipped to handle stress when it comes around.
1. Chew more gum:
Next time you feel that anxious, devastating feeling creeping up on you, pop in a stick of gum and start chewing. According to Mind The Science Gap, a study of almost three thousand chewers and non-chewers indicated that out of the two groups, chewers reported lower amounts of stress, depression and blood pressure. This reduction in stress is attributed to the rhythmic action of chewing, which exerts excess energy and can reduce stressful emotions. Any flavour, colour or brand will do, as long it gets your jaw moving!
2. Blow on your thumb:
You read it correctly, blow on your thumb lightly the next time you’re overcome with stress or anxiety. As outlined by an article published on Mind Hacks, gently blowing on your thumb stimulates what is known as the vagus nerve, which slows down the body’s heart rate, effectively reducing stress and ushering in a sense of calm to wash over the body and mind. If you don’t believe it, give it a try.
3. Play with your pets:
This one is a no brainer, who doesn’t feel overcome with joy and calmness when cuddling with their dog or playing with their cats? There are even a number of places nowadays that offer puppy or cat rooms for people looking to distress from the day. And for those of you who remain skeptical, science actually backs this up. According to Harvard Medical School, study after study has proven that playing or even merely owning a pet can reduce blood pressure, improve overall well being and reduce negative emotions including (you guessed it) stress.
4. Look at something blue:
Whether looking up at the bluest of skies or even scrolling through your social media platforms (notice how the Facebook and Twitter logos are blue), looking at the colour blue is known as an odd but effective stress reducer. According to The Huffington Post, psychology experts contrasted how red is known as a psychologically energizing colour, while blue is known as a psychologically calming colour, due to people’s association of blue with tranquility and nature. Anticipating a stressful day? Put on a blue shirt or even a pair of jeans and face the day stress free.
5. Smell coffee:
Although drinking excess coffee is known to produce stress and anxiety, smelling the actual aroma of coffee may have the opposite effect. According to Scientific American, studies were conducted on lab rats to see which brain chemicals were activated when they were exposed to the scent of coffee. Thirteen different proteins were produced by the brain which were known to protect the organ from the damaging effects of stress, indicating that the smell of coffee may alter your mood but in a more calming way.