6 unexpected ways to beat stress

Written by Danielle Owen Whitford

When it comes to reducing stress, I’m sure, you’ve heard it all. Meditate, exercise, deep breathing. Sure, they work, but sometimes you want something new. Today, we’re going to show you a few ideas you may not have heard of to help you reduce stress. All will help you ease and manage stress for a happier, more productive day - today and tomorrow.

Let’s go!

1. Chew, chew, chew


Chewing is an effective technique for reducing stress. In fact, studies have shown that chewing can help reduce anxiety, and prevent stress-induced stomach ulcers.

So, what do you chew? Well, cards on the table here, sugar free gum is quite effective, but can be annoying to those around you if chewed all day. Why not eat a raw carrot or celery stick with lunch?

Furthermore, chewing can actually reduce the impact of stress on the central nervous system, reducing the physical toll of stress on the body. Time to get chewing!

2. Look at fractals


Aesthetically-pleasing art and nature can have a radical effect on stress reduction. From ferns to rock formations, cave paintings to ancient Egyptian art, da Vinci to Pollock, research has shown that the crucial common factor, that makes images so effective for stress reduction is the presence of repetitive patterns called fractals.

Take a walk through a park, stare at the clouds, visit a gallery, or look through art books. Immersing yourself in a fractal-rich environment for 20min a day can help bring a sense of calm to your day, reducing your stress levels.

3. Fake a smile


Studies show there are physiological and psychological benefits from smiling when experiencing stress. Dr Phillip Muskin from Columbia Medical Centre explains that, “When you smile, you are engaging your face, and that is wired to the rest of your brain. If your face is forcing your brain to think it’s happy, then you feel somewhat better.”

So why not fake it till you make it? Next time you’re feeling stressed, try on a smile. Chances are, you’ll help your brain think you’re ok, improving your response to stress.

4. Drink orange juice


Vitamin C, well known for fighting the common cold, is also a powerful tool in fighting stress. People with a diet rich in vitamin C have a healthier response when experiencing acute psychological challenges, and can bounce back from stress faster.

One glass of fresh orange juice provides around 90-100mg of vitamin C, the recommended daily dose for adults. Of course, if oranges aren’t your thing, try strawberries, grapefruit, red peppers/capsicum, or broccoli. And look for the low sugar or freshly squeezed juices!

5. Pat a dog


Hanging out with a canine companion can help beat stress. In fact, studies show that animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce depression, anxiety and pain.

It is thought that the domestication of dogs began with our prehistoric ancestors befriending wolves. During WW2, animals were present in convalescent hospitals to lift spirits to help aid recovery of wounded soldiers.

Plus, walking the dog is great for exercise - another fantastic, proven method to beat stress.

6. Laugh it up


Laughing does some pretty great things to your body that can help you reduce stress. You see, when you laugh, cortisol levels in your brain decrease, endorphins are released, and blood flow increases, making you feel happier - even after you’ve stopped laughing.

So, what are you waiting for?
Go laugh in the face of stress!

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