We all know the usual ways to reduce stress:
- Focus on those things which are most important to you, instead of trying to do it all;
- Learn to say “no” to requests from others which are not aligned with your goals;
- Avoid people who push your buttons; and so on.
How about trying some unusual ways to reduce stress? After all, the more stress management techniques you have at your disposal, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with stress. You’ll find four unusual ways to reduce stress, below.
Drink Orange Juice
Eating oranges–or drinking orange juice–helps reduce stress. This is because of their wealth of vitamin C. Studies show that this vitamin can reduce levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, while strengthening the immune system.
In a German study, researchers subjected 120 people to a stressing event: a public speaking task combined with math problems. That’s right: public speaking and math (I know I’d be stressed).
Half of those studied were given vitamin C, and the other half were not. Signs of stress–such as elevated levels of cortisol and high blood pressure–were significantly greater in those who did not get the vitamin supplement.
The stress-reducing effects of vitamin C are two-fold:
- People with high levels of vitamin C in their system don’t show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to stressful situations.
- In addition, they bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood.
Researchers indicate that–since vitamin C works rapidly, and is short acting–, it should be taken at regular intervals throughout the day. Of course, drinking orange juice isn’t the only way to get vitamin C. This vitamin is found in many fruits and vegetables, and can also be taken as a supplement.
Switch Brain Hemispheres
Switching brain hemispheres is a technique for reducing stress which is recommended by Michael Kerr. As you know, for different activities we rely more heavily on either our left or right brain hemispheres. At any given moment you can reduce stress by switching to an activity that uses the hemisphere of your brain that is not causing you stress.
For example, if the source of your stress is centered in the creative and emotional right hemisphere–you’re feeling depressed, anxious, worried or otherwise emotionally distraught–, then change to a task that requires more of your left hemisphere to kick in, such as any of the following:
- Filling out a Sudoku puzzle;
- Organizing; or
- Performing some other task that requires linear, sequential thinking.
If the stress is a result of being time pressured or overworked, chances are your left brain hemisphere is stressed. In this case, do a right-brain activity, like engaging in play, playing a musical instrument, drawing, or engaging in some other creative pursuit.
Have a Handful of Pistachios
When you experience stress, a very common side effect is an elevation of blood pressure. In a Penn State University study, researchers found that eating pistachios resulted in study participants experiencing a substantial reduction of the negative effects of stress on blood pressure.
The researchers found positive results with as little as 1.5 oz of pistachio added daily to the diet. Consuming 3 oz of pistachios daily showed even greater relaxation of the arteries, thereby easing the workload on the heart even more. In a nutshell, pistachios protect your heart from stress.
The One Minute Miracle – Yoga for the Hands Ritual
Mudras can be described as yoga for the hands. Daniel Millstein wrote a book called “The Mudra of Light”, which describes a one-minute yoga-for-the-hands-ritual that uses 12 simple hand gestures. Each hand gesture is coupled with an affirmation. (Millstein later changed the title of the book to “The One Minute Miracle”.)
When you’re feeling stressed, take a mini-retreat by setting aside a minute to go through the ritual created by Millstein. You can find photos of each of the 12 positions, along with the affirmation that you need to say with each position, here.
In addition, you can follow along with Millstein as he takes a minute to go through the 12 positions in the video below. (I tried it and it’s very easy to do, and very calming. Best of all, it just takes one minute!)
Stress can wreak havoc with both your physical and your mental health. It can definitely be a barrier to living your best life. What unusual ways do you have for reducing stress? Please share in the comments section.
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I didn’t know that orange juice and pistachio can help reduce stress. Now I know what to indulge in whenever I feel stressed with my daily activities.
Stress can have such a debilitating effect on people and its great to see you giving suggestions of different ways to deal with it. One of the more unusual techniques i’ve learned is called the oak tree technique. Close your eyes and imagine that you are a solid, well rooted ancient oak tree. Picture your skin as the hard trunk and imagine the feeling of things sliding off causing you no harm. Picture yourself as that tree anytime you start feeling pressurised or overwhelmed, and feel the strength of the oak tree run through you.