Highly Effective Self Therapy Techniques to Help You Deal with Stress
Just about everyone experiences stress at one point or another in their lives. Stress can help you overcome daily challenges and motivate you to reach your goals—so it’s not all bad! Too much stress, however, can often wear you out, leave you jittery, and even harm your overall health. That’s why it’s important that you find ways to manage the latter kind of stress. Different things may work for different people, but our list of 6 highly effective stress therapy techniques cover a wide range of personalities and preferences. It’s our hope that at least one of them helps settle your mind, brings clarity to your thoughts, and boosts your mood.
1. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Dr. Antoinette Foy once said, “Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs.” With the 4-7-8 breathing technique, you can do just that. To begin, take several audible exhales to open your lungs and release any shoulder tension you may be unconsciously holding. Close your mouth and gently press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Start breathing in slowly to a mental count of four then hold your breath at the top for a count of seven. Finally, audibly exhale as slowly as you can to a count of eight. Do this breathing sequence as many times as you need to until you achieve a state of relaxation, calm, and clarity.
2. Snuggle with your pet.
Your dog isn’t the only one who benefits from a snuggle or two—you do too! The act of stroking your pet has been scientifically proven to have a calming effect. It also helps you focus on the present moment, which combats anxiety. Often though, work stress, social obligations, and a never ending to-do list can put cuddling with your pet on the back burner. But when you intentionally set aside a couple of minutes a day to snuggle the dog who keeps smashing a toy at the back of your office chair or the cat who won’t get off your keyboard, it can make a huge difference in relieving stress, helping you also manage other aspects of your life a little better.
3. Do a short yoga sequence.
When you’re stressed, your body and mind can also feel tense and agitated. Taking a few minutes to breath in deeply and stretch out your muscles can go a long way in boosting your mood, making you feel calmer and more relaxed. Whenever you need a break from the demands of work or family, try doing this short yoga sequence. Most people find that even before they reach the end of their yoga practice, their breath has become more even, their mind more still, and their body more grounded.
4. Watch funny videos.
Yes, it’s great to keep up with current events. But when you find that it’s the news that’s the source of most of your stress, it’s time to turn off CNN and watch 15 minutes of Friends, or even these funny animal video compilations instead. Simply laughing out loud has the potential to decrease the levels of stress-causing hormones. And, because when you laugh, you tend to stay in the moment, a good laugh can in itself be a stress reliever… proving once again that laughter is indeed the best medicine.
5. Turn up the music and dance.
Throughout history, humans used music as a way of dealing with emotions—listening to songs when they are sad, when they’re frustrated, and when they need to get energized. So why wouldn’t you use the magic of music to help you deal with stress? It doesn’t even matter if you prefer the slow, relaxing tempos of jazz or the soaring vocals and rhythmic electric guitars of rock. The most important thing is that you make a conscious effort to listen to music in order to relax. And if the lyrics move you, go on and bust a move. Combining music and dancing may help you express emotions you may find difficult to say with words alone.
6. Call a friend.
Stress management is one of the greatest gifts of friendship. So much so that even science has a name for it: tend and befriend. This stress-response model shows how females, in particular, have a biological predisposition to care for their offspring and seek out social support during times of stress. So the next time you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, pick up your phone and call a friend. You’ll likely feel way better by the time you hang up.
Protect your oral health from the effects of stress.
Try any of the stress-relieving techniques in this article to help you effectively manage stress and reduce the risk of dental and other health problems. Make sure you also schedule regular dental appointments. Your dentist can examine your mouth and provide dental care solutions to manage the symptoms of stress, minimizing any damage to your oral health. Make the choice to protect your smile today and you’ll enjoy it for life!