As college students, we’re pretty well rehearsed in what to do to reduce stress. Exercise, watch a movie, talk to a friend, eat healthy food, and get plenty of sleep. While these are all valid ways to mentally take a break, there are some unusual and scientifically backed up methods that don’t typically make the list. Here are a few:
1. Clean Mindfully
We almost always have something that could use a little tidying up. Whether it is dishes that have piled up, a messy drawer, your bathroom, or closet, enjoy the experience of cleaning. Focus on the music in the background, the smell of soap, the feel of your clothes, and the warmth of the water. People who are mindful while doing mundane tasks are less nervous and have more mental motivation. Completing a chore in itself also reduces stress.
2. Do a Good Deed
Doing something nice for someone else really isn’t as selfless as you may think. Supporting someone in their endeavors, striking up a conversation with a stranger, or holding the door open for someone promotes well being and makes you feel good about yourself.
3. Touch Others
Hugging, kissing, holding hands all increase the flow of endorphins and can slow the release of the stress chemical cortisol. Chemicals aside, connecting with the ones you love puts makes your stressors smaller and less important.
4. Improve Your Posture
Sitting up straight improves your memory, assertiveness, and self-esteem. When you sit up straight you are showing the world and yourself that you can conquer anything.
5. Drink Water
Drinking water has significant effects on energy and brain function. When your brain is fueled, the stress that is thrown your way isn’t all that stressful.
6. Find a Tree
Being in nature lowers blood pressure and stress chemicals. You are guaranteed to feel more of a piece of mind after enjoying time in natural beauty. Taking the more scenic route, sitting beneath a tree, or listening to birds chirp gives your brain the dose of happiness it needs to refuel.
Don’t forget we often take care of ourselves in our daily lives without realizing its stress-reducing effects. Petting an animal, playing with a baby, taking care of a plant, putting on comfy sweat pants or a sweater, drinking tea, calling a friend, watching a funny YouTube video are all common things we already do. Being more mindful of those interaction will further help you defeat your stress.