11 Weird Things That Relieve Stress & Make You Feel More Relaxed In Seconds

by Caroline Burke

If you don't take care of it, stress can turn into an ongoing, toxic cycle. You're super stressed about work, or your friendships, or your relationship, or all of the above, and since you don't always immediately know what to do about it, you get even more stressed out, and the cycle just keeps going and going. Honestly, trying a few random, weird things that relieve stress is probably your best bet if you feel like you've already tried everything you can to help you relax, but have yet to see any real results.

Stress can be debilitating, there's no doubt about it. It doesn't matter if you're a student, or you're working a full-time job, or even if you're a traveling Instagrammer who posts beautiful pictures of beautiful places. Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. What really matters is whether or not you choose to cope with your stress in a healthy way, and how you choose to do so.

There are tons of free, easy, and quick ways to relieve stress instantly. You don't have to spend money on expensive workout classes, or talk your friends' ears off about the latest drama at work — unless you want to, in which case, go for it. But if you're looking to find new ways to relieve stress, here are 10 kind of random, but seriously effective ways you can instantly relieve your anxiety in a matter of seconds.

Fake A Smile

Fake it 'til you make it, right? Although in general, forcing emotions isn't the best idea, studies show that smiling, even when you don't mean it, can trick your brain into feeling happier.

A fake smile can reduce your stress in seconds, and who knows, it might even influence the atmosphere of whatever else is going on around you!

Put Your Thumb In Your Mouth And Blow On It

Yeah, I tried it too as soon as I read that. It's true: Blowing on your thumb (if the air passage is totally blocked) will activate something called your vagus nerve, which in turn will decrease your heart rate and blood pressure.

So if you can find some space at work to hide in a corner and suck your thumb, this is a really fast way to decrease pressure and relieve stress almost immediately.

Blow On Your Thumb

If you can't find some private space to suck on your thumb, subtly blowing cool air on it might do the trick, too. This is because your thumb has its own pulse, and blowing on it will slow the pulse and therefore decrease your stress.

Since this one's a little more low-key, it's especially great to try when you're at a stressful work event and can't find an opportunity to sneak away.

Chew Some Gum

Chewing gum while you're stressed has been shown to reduce your overall anxiety in any given situation, and it can lead to an overall more positive mood.

This one could be tough, since chewing gum isn't always professional in a lot of work environments. But if you're out with friends or on your own, chewing gum is a great way to blow off stress without going out of your way.

Find Fractals

Fractals are patterns that you find organically in nature, such as the petals of a flower or the diametric shape of a spiderweb. Taking some time to gaze out at ocean waves, or to examine some pretty snowflakes, can reduce your stress by up to 60 percent.

What's more, you can start to make a point of exposing yourself to a fractal-rich environment once you're more aware of them. For example, you can try to plan a walk to work where you pass through a garden.

Take A Deep Breath

This one seems obvious, but you have to actually think about how you're breathing in order for this to really work. Deep breathing is no joke, and neither are the health effects you can reap if you do it right.

Try to slow your breathing overall first, then inhale until your lungs are fully expanded, and slowly exhale. This type of deep breathing will slow your heart rate, and it also activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response, your body's way of relieving stress.

Stand Near A Plant

Yep, you read that correctly. Simply surrounding yourself with plant life can reduce your stress instantly. A study by Washington State University revealed that the presence of plants in an office space instantly reduces blood pressure, and even increases productivity.

If you've been looking for the perfect excuse to splurge on some succulents for your apartment or your work desk, this is your sign to do so, my friend.

Apply Pressure Between Your Second And Third Knuckles

This is a very, um, unique, way to relieve stress, but it actually works.

Apply pressure between the second and third knuckle of your finger, right where the finger meets the hand. This will activate a nerve that will help to reduce that awful fluttery feeling you get when you're feeling super stressed out.

Try An Easy Yoga Pose

Yeah, you probably don't always have time for a full hour of yoga, but that doesn't mean you can't reap the benefits of this meditative practice in a shorter amount of time.

A few simple yoga poses can easily be done at home in mere minutes, and the movements will help encourage deep breathing as well as bodily awareness, both of which will promote relaxation.

Drink Some Green Tea

Green tea contains theanine, which is an amino acid that has been found to counteract the effects of caffeine. Since caffeine can increase your heart rate and increase your overall stress response, drinking green tea is a great way to counteract the body's response to stressful situations.

Knock A Few Chores Off Of Your List

Doing repetitive motions that you're familiar with is a great way to lower your stress — and get sh*t done!

If you're feeling seriously overwhelmed with anything in your life, one great strategy is to focus on some things you can do around your apartment that require motion, like cleaning your kitchen or taking out the trash. If you're at work, use your lunch break to run some errands. Between the walking and the act of the chore itself, you'll be sure to calm down a little in no time.