10 proven techniques to reduce stress instantly

by Detlef Beeker
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Everybody gets stressed here and there. This is quite normal and no problem at all. It only becomes serious when the stress occurs frequently because our body is not designed for this.

In the following, I will introduce you to the 10 most effective techniques against stress. The good thing is that they can be easily integrated into everyday life without any problems.

1. Mini-Meditation

Meditating is a Swiss Army knife. It helps against almost every problem: stress is relieved, fears and panic are reduced and depressions are alleviated. Our immune system is strengthened, we are getting younger and even our brain is changing.

 If you want to learn more about the positive effects of meditation, click here: http://detlefbeeker.de/really-need-meditate/.

There are many great meditation techniques, but I would like to introduce you to one that you can use in between. It is part of the MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) program. This is one of the most scientifically researched meditation programs. This 8-week program has incredible positive effects.

3-minute meditation

It consists of three phases. Each of these phases takes 1 minute, so the meditation lasts 3 minutes in total.

  1. Observe what is there. Don't try to judge, just be. Try not to change anything for this one minute.
  2. Observe your breath for a minute. Follow the breath: Feel the air entering your nostrils, how the chest crob lifts, etc.
  3. Focus your attention on your body. The third step expands the attention back to the body as a whole and all existing sensations.

During the whole meditation you should, if possible, be as free of judgment as possible. Draw your attention away from your thoughts.

2. Abdominal breathing

When we are stressed, we breathe hectically and flatly in our breasts. If we do the opposite, our brain is signaled that everything is safe. We're not threatened, so we don't have to be stressed. This means that all breathing techniques in which we breathe deeply and slowly into the abdomen have an excellent effect against stress. The 4-7-8 breathing has been intensively studied. I am a big fan of this breathing technique and use it regularly. It works as follows:

  1. Inhale deeply through the nose into the stomach and count to four.
  2. Hold your breath, counting to seven.
  3. exhale through your mouth and count to eight. You let out the air as if you want to blow out the birthday candles on your cake.

This technique is really very powerful and works not only against stress, but against fears and even panic. It has been scientifically proven that this panic is even superior to medication for anxiety. It is best to do this technique four times in a row, twice a day.

3. Laughter

Everyone knows that laughter is healthy. However, this also applies to artificial laughter. Sometimes we just don't feel like laughing. Especially when we're under a lot of stress. But that doesn't matter. We'll just pretend. That is the principle of Laughter Yoga. Participants meet there once a week. I myself have often taken part in such meetings. I felt weird at first. The laughter was artificial and I thought, "Oh, God, I hope it'll be over soon." But after just a few minutes the artificial one turned into a real laughter. I myself have often taken part in such meetings. I felt weird at first. The laughter was artificial and I thought, "Oh, God, I hope it'll be over soon." But after just a few minutes the artificial one turned into a real smile. And that was great. I felt the positive effect of these meetings days later.

You can also set up a collection of laughs. That's a collection of YouTube videos or jokes or anything that makes you laugh. There really are a lot of very funny videos on YouTube. If you browse there, you'll find something.

4. Listen to music

Music has something magical it can influence our mood very much. When we hear a fast rock title, it can make us enthusiastic. Classical music relaxes us. After a stressful day, listening to some relaxing music can help relieve your stress. If you don't have one at hand, YouTube is a good source. There you can enter the keyword "relaxing music". For a good mood, look for "uplifting music". Café del Mar has the greatest consensus among music. I.e. most people like this music. So do I. Try it out. If the music takes you along and you dance - all the better.

5. Doing sport

Sport and exercise have been scientifically proven to be wonderful for our body and mind.

In a well-known Stanford University study on depression, the participants did 40 minutes of cycling three times a week. A peer group took anti-depressants. The astonishing result: After 16 weeks, 60% of the participants had clearly improved their depression. In a follow-up study on this 60%, it was examined how the relapse rate was. That is, how many of the participants fell back into their depression after ten months. The figure for the drug group was 38%. With the group that did sports, it was unbelievable 9%! This shows how well sport does not only for our body but also for our mind (Blumenthal, et al. (1999): "Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression", Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 2349-2356).

A round of jogging reduces our stress. After that, we feel reborn. Sports that you enjoy, such as playing tennis or football, are also very good. The body is moved, stress hormones are reduced and our thoughts no longer revolve around worries and fears.

6. Visualization

Imagine your favorite food. Maybe a kebab, a tasty steak or a delicious ice cream. If you imagine these pictures really intensely, your mouth will water. Our inner images can have a strong effect. We can use this to relax and feel good. A beautiful anti-stress technique is the dream place.

Dream place

Imagine a place where you feel particularly comfortable. It would be best if it's a place you've actually been before. A beautiful beach, maybe a mountaintop or whatever else you find pleasant. But it's totally okay if you just imagine this place. I personally have such a place on a beach on a Thai island. It's a bay, and I'm looking out to sea. It really is a beautiful place and I automatically feel relaxing alone when I think about it. Even now, as I am writing these lines, it touches my heart.

What is your dream place? Try to find your way in with all your senses. What do you see, do you hear, do you smell and taste? The more you put yourself in there, the more intense is the feeling of well-being. Put yourself in this place for a few minutes and you will lead yourself more relaxed. By the way, the more often you do this exercise, the easier and faster you can relax.

7 Meeting with friends

We are social beings. Close friends and family are an important part of our happiness. Conversely, loneliness is the most common reason for being unhappy. So, meet up with friends. Talk to them about what's on your mind or do something you just enjoy. You will relieve your stress and forget your worries.

8 Walking in nature

Every physical exercise counteracts the stress. When we do this in nature, it is doubly beneficial. There are scientific studies that prove that staying in nature is good for us and increases our well-being.

9. Massage

Allow yourself a massage. My wife is Thai. I have visited this beautiful country quite often and enjoy the massages there very much. A massage is like a little vacation. A massage automatically relaxes the whole body and we can let go of the stress-related tensions. Of course, it doesn't always have to be a professional massage, your partner can certainly give you a relaxing massage. It's good for your partnership.

You can also massage yourself, by the way. You can do it yourself. There are suggestions at Youtube as for example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolxzafzOfs.

10. Hobby

The good thing about hobbies is that we enjoy doing them. I, for example, like to play chess. I forget all stress and worries. If your hobby has something to do with sports, so much the better. If you don't have a real hobby, find one. There are countless offers in every city.

That's it. Let me know if you liked the techniques.

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