7 Ways to Instantly De-Stress

7 Ways to Instantly De-Stress

Calm yourself down instantly with these easy tricks.

Stress can manifest itself in some strange ways like frequent headaches and colds, tiredness and back pain. Nurses are at particular risk for stress and its effects. Results from the American Nurses Association’s 2014 health risk appraisal found that stress effects and overwork were a top concern.

When you’re in the middle of a shift, it might be hard to find the time to de-stress.

These instant tips can help.

  1. Smell this scent. Lavender oil is a traditional remedy for symptoms like nervousness and anxiety. Next time you’re stressed, take a minute to dab some oil on your wrists, collarbone or chest, and inhale deeply.
  2. Focus on your breath. Deep breathing, also called belly breathing, helps you disengage from bothersome thoughts. It’s simple to do, just breathe in deeply through your nose, letting your chest and belly rise up. Slowly exhale through your mouth or nose. Practice once or twice a day for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Eat chocolate. Some research shows that eating dark chocolate lowers stress levels. Snack on an ounce and a half per day for two weeks to reap the benefits.
  4. Get back to nature. Listening to nature-based sounds like running waterfalls or rainstorms can help reduce stress and anxiety. You can download some nature sounds, or follow a few Spotify or Pandora stations. When you need to decompress, just switch on your music and unwind during your break.
  5. Reach out to a friend. Quickly catch up with a friend to change your frame of mind. Just be sure to pick a friend that doesn’t irritate or stress you out already.
  6. Look at baby animal pictures. Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness and reduced productivity are all stress side effects. Luckily, there’s an adorable (and research-backed) way to deal with that lost productivity: look at cute baby animal pictures. Some sites to visit or follow on Instagram:, @BlackJaguarWhiteTiger, @positive.puppy and @kittensofinstagram.
  7. Laugh it up. Laughing triggers endorphins, also known as the feel good hormones, to be released. Share a giggle with co-workers. Before or after work, listen to a comedy station on Pandora or Spotify, or follow these funny Instagram accounts to boost your mood: @ curbyourlarrydavid, @NursingLOL or @NursingProblems.

Stress can have troublesome health effects, including increased heart attack risk, breathing problems and stomach issues like diarrhea or constipation. Aim to get your stress under control to reduce your risk of developing these related conditions.

Medically reviewed in November 2018.

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