Five Ways to De-Stress: The Quirky Edition

Sure, we’ve all read about how lux bubble baths and aromatherapy spa treatments will simply melt stress away. But what if you don’t have the time nor the money for such things because, well, you live in the modern world and make an average income? Don’t worry. We’ve got you. Read on for five quirky ways to de-stress that won’t break the bank or cost too much time.

1. Fake a Smile.

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No, really. The journal Psychological Science published an article that detailed psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman’s investigation into the potential benefits of smiling. Guess what they found? Even a disingenuous smirk managed during brief stressful situations can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response. And it takes all of, what, maybe 1.7 seconds? Next time you’re tempted to punch a co-worker in the throat, just step back and smile. Fast, easy, and effective!

2. Blow Up a Balloon.

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We know. It sounds ridiculous. Truth is, though, that blowing up a balloon  manages two important actions with one fell swoop. First, you breathe deeper–you have to use your diaphragm, after all. Second, you breathe more slowly. Both activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces heart rate and relaxes muscles. Balloon blowing for the win!

3. Let the F-Bombs Drop.

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According to the magazine Psychology Today, “The health benefits of swearing include increased circulation, elevated endorphins, and an overall sense of calm, control, and well-being.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement for letting off a little steam with a string of expletives, we  don’t know what is. Take heed, though, as the magazine is careful to underscore “the key is to do it sparingly and not to get angry at the same time, which would be very bad for you—as well as terribly vulgar.” We’d add that you should make sure to pick a private spot and clear all kiddos from within hearing range–boss’s, too.

4. Pet a Pet.

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Even if you’re not that into animals, the health benefits of interacting with one are hard to ignore. In an on-going study at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a researcher has discovered that the production of serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin–three of the “feel-good” hormones, increase when an individual interacts with a live animal, especially dogs. So, cuddle up to a friend’s cat. Pet your pooch! Hug your hamster–you get the picture. It’s good for the animals and good for you, too.

5. Get Outside of Yourself and Give.

Imagine for a moment that you’re one of the 18 million orphaned children in India, where the future is uncertain but most likely unbearably dim.  Might make your troubles look a little less overwhelming, right? Now imagine there was a way to help these children not only survive, but thrive. Luckily, you don’t have to imagine doing this good deed that will in turn lower your own stress level. You can act! Scientists postulate that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain–you know, one of the “feel-good” hormones that lowers stress and makes you feel more happy in general? Yes, that one! So step outside of your own stress and give to Baal Dan Charities.

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Formed in 2006 to support the basic needs and social welfare of impoverished children (mostly orphans and street children) in India, Baal Dan has provided aid to over 3,000 children through grants made to a coalition of grassroots partners such as orphanages and NGOs that are focused on orphans, street children, and impoverished children (including refugees).

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