Five Unusual and Fun Ways to Manage Stress

As you read this, you are probably stressed out. Read on and discover five unusual and fun ways to manage that stress. Right now, tonight, and tomorrow.

1. Touch

The perfect antidote to high stress levels is touch.

Touch can activate the relaxation response, the natural balance to the stress response. The human relaxation response centers in the Vagus nerve cluster, and once it is activated, it calms the cardiovascular system.

Relaxation hormones are released, including oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin became famous because it is released after sex and helps partners bond emotionally. But oxytocin is also produced by warm, safe, positive touch such as a hug or kiss on the cheek.

In fact, just a simple, brief human touch can counteract your elevated stress response significantly. And it is fun. Touch can heal where words don’t reach.

One of the most fun ways to manage stress is to get physical – hug your friends, kiss your dog, and, yes, get in touch with your partner in the bedroom!

Studies suggest, the longer the session, the better the outcome. (As long as it stays fun, of course. Don’t generate stress in this part of your life, too!)

Intimate touch can do wonders for your stress management – and your relationship!

2. Move

Stress originates in your mind, but it also produces a lot of physical symptoms. Your muscles stiffen, your breath becomes shallow, your gut seizes up on you.

If you can’t shake the stress from your mind, shake your body! A fun way to do this is dancing. When you get home, put on your favorite music and let rip!

Join a class and express yourself in modern jazz, salsa, or belly dance.Learn ballroom dancing and get the benefit of dressing up to enter a different world.

3. Make a Sound

When your system gears up to fight, the energy needs to go somewhere. You will feel an impulse to make a noise. To be loud. A really fun way to make a loud noise is singing.

Singing along in the car, singing as you do household chores, singing as you run.

To experience even more fun ways of making a sound, try singing lessons, join a choir, go to karaoke (a proven fun stress relief tool for Japanese office workers), and, if you get the opportunity, perform in public.

Singing on stage, in front of an audience, and getting applause is hugely satisfying and will chase your stress right out the door.

4. Swearing (yes, you heard right!) and venting

Recent studies have shown that swearing is a very effective way to manage stress, partly because it involves making a noise, and partly because it is slightly naughty and therefore puts you back in charge. Swearing at your boss (privately, of course, where he can’t hear you) also relieves your feelings because it is very targeted, and removes the necessity to act on your feelings in other ways. Try it! (But make sure the doors and windows are closed).

Talking to a friend is the relationship equivalent of touch. What you need in order to manage stress and initiate the relaxation response is a feeling of safety, and a way to release the pent up emotions.

And sometimes, the most efficient way to do that is to just let things rip.

If you have a good friend who will be there for you and listen, ‘venting’ your frustrations will produce a noticeable reduction of stress and yes, although we are not supposed to admit it, venting can be fun.

Why not combine venting and swearing for an extra fun adventure. If you feel you are not allowed to do that, it may be even more beneficial to try it. Just for a few moments, when the stress gets to you.

And the most fun is when venting and swearing result in a big old laugh, together with your friend.

5. Play

Most of your stress comes from goal oriented activities. Most of your fun comes from play.And the more open and ‘aimless’ your play is, the more it helps you relax.

Just a quick round of ‘Jewel Quest’ on your phone can help you breathe more calmly, but there is a lot more fun to be had in imaginative play, and in create activities. Board games, online worlds, and even amateur theatre can help you reconnect to enjoying your life.

Put your ‘inner child’ in charge – he or she’s been neglected and made to sit still at that desk for far too long.

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