General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How do you relieve extreme stress in the short term?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25563 points ) July 9th, 2012

Stressors have been pounding at me one after the other today from all quarters: family, work, and life.

I have been able to very briefly meditate. That has helped some. I have also used some breathing exercises my therapist taught me.

I have many tasks, and I have a very short amount of time to complete them in.

What specific steps do you take to get you through stressful days?

Please, note I’m not interested in idle chit-chat in this thread. I’m interested in hearing specifically what has worked for you.

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32 Answers

chyna's avatar

I go to the gym and hit the treadmill hard.

gailcalled's avatar

I too use the treadmill (which I have conveniently in my basement0 and then a short nap.

Can you postpone the family tsouris until tomorrow?

jrpowell's avatar

I do the easiest task first so I feel like I am at least getting somewhere.

For me the huge hurdle is getting over the feeling of being so overwhelmed I can’t dig myself out. I tend to give up when it is to much.

So banging out something easy is like poking a hole in the mound of dirt above me so I can see that there is sunlight above. I just need to keep fighting to be free.

Cruiser's avatar

I am fortunate in that despite all that I have had to deal with in my many years…it all pales in comparison to what many other are dealing with at this very moment and have for more time than I can comprehend.

I just appreciate the opportunity to face challenges and ask myself is this really THAT bad? It may feel bad at that moment but it is all a matter of perspective and my mantra is “this too shall pass”.

Count your blessings is how I do it.

marinelife's avatar

Take the time from your busy schedule to take a walk. Especially by water. That is very calming.

Listen to relaxing music.

Eat comfort foods.

Drink chamomile tea.

Feel better. Know that we at Fluther have your back!

Pandora's avatar

This may seem a strange approach but I recently learned that if I don’t think about what I have to do and simply do them, that they don’t seem like too much and I’m done before I know it. I also reward myself by sitting and watching a show, or eating something delicious, or take a short 20 minute nap, in between the tasks. So as I’m doing the task I’m thinking about what pleasant thing I’m going to do when it is over instead of how horrible is the task.

bkcunningham's avatar

Candles, soft music, very hot bath.

If I am overwhelmed with stressed and in the middle of finishing tasks or chores, I make a physical list and force myself to stay on task until I complete the list. I tell myself I can’t have a break until I complete three things on the list. When I am ready for the break, I take a short break and do some deep breathing exercises and/or sit outside for a few minutes. I then get back to the list and complete three (or whatever number seems appropriate at the time) more chores before another break.

josie's avatar

My favorite P90X routine, which is currently KenpoX

janbb's avatar

For me, it is also getting started and getting at least one of the tasks accomplished. Then I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Sunny2's avatar

Go to the movies or take a nap to get away from being aware of the reason for the stress, if only temporarily.

YARNLADY's avatar

I take a nice long walk. It works for me.

janbb's avatar

Yes – if it is more of a jumble of things in my mind than tasks to do a long walk helps me too.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Deep breathing and sex.

filmfann's avatar

I put on this video and dance with it.

Trillian's avatar

I have guided meditations that are 30 and 15 minutes. I used them to great effect to counter stress and anxiety. I rarely get anxiety anymore, and when I feel myself with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach I listen and feel better by the end of a session.
I can’t recommend these highly enough. The 15 minute sessions are perfect, and I have a silk padded eye mask that I wear to block out all visual input. Along with the headphones, I create a quiet world for long enough to get me back on track. I have the meditations on an mp3 player which I keep in a lunch bag along with the mask.

WestRiverrat's avatar

This always works for me.

Ponderer983's avatar

I do something enjoyable (like treat myself to a favorite restaurant dinner), go to the gym/workout, meditate (which I see you already do), get a massage.

bookish1's avatar

I agree with above comments about 1) nailing out the small things first so that you feel some momentum building and 2) rewarding yourself incrementally every time you get something done (an episode of your favorite TV show, a small candy or other treat, a short nap, etc.)

Although it might be tempting to overeat or only eat junk food when you’re stressed out, eating nutritiously (and also getting enough sleep, if possible!) help keep you stable more than you would think!

And if you already meditate, you can do it anywhere, it doesn’t have to be sitting. You can do it on the bus or metro (I was doing that myself yesterday), you can do it at red lights if you’re driving, you can do it while walking. There have been times I have been so overwhelmed with anxiety and depression that it made me feel worse to sit and meditate, but I could always slip in some mindfulness meditation on the way to class/work, etc.

Edit: I forgot one that’s worked well for me at least… Video games where you can make things blow up. I consider that a brief reward for getting some good work done.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Thank you, all. I have knocked a few things off the list today, and tomorrow looks not as bad. I appreciate all the input.

bookish1's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: Huzzah. Fight Win! Best of luck.

linguaphile's avatar

I find someone to talk it out with. Often just talking about it helps me prioritize and minimize tasks—and they become more manageable.

Good luck and many hugs!!!

cheebdragon's avatar

Chucking a cell phone at someone’s 52” television is oddly calming.

bookish1's avatar

One other thing I thought of.
If you are a caffeine drinker, BE CAREFUL. I’ve given myself heart palpitations drinking too much coffee and black tea during times of extreme stress.
I recommend herbal speed balls. That is, every other time you would normally reach for a caffeinated drink, have a soothing non-caf drink, like chamomile or valerian tea. It will help you stay lucid and calm rather than speeding up too much.

augustlan's avatar

If you’ve got someone to hug, go get a big one. Just the act of physically leaning into my husband for a few moments, his arms around me, helps calm my heart and mind. Sending you virtual hugs, @Hawaii_Jake. <3

Bellatrix's avatar

I talk to people, even if only for a short while. It can help defuse the stress for me (especially if it is someone who makes me laugh).

I sometimes vent to someone I trust.

I go and have a cuppa with the admin staff who are all lovely and usually laughing and joyful.

I see if a friend is available to have a cup of coffee with me. Dual benefit, gets me away from my building and desk and gives me some fresh air and a different setting. It helps energise me and allows me to see things more rationally.

flutherother's avatar

Talking it through with a good friend.
Running hard along a beach in the fresh air.
Turning the stress to your advantage to get things done.

9doomedtodie's avatar

When I feel I am alone, a retrospective view makes me happy and feel good.

downtide's avatar

I used to go for a run; I found the combination of physical exercise and a rhythmical action very helpful. Unfortunately I’m no longer able to do that, but walking with an mp3 player works almost as well.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Try shooting. Buy a .22 pistol and join a gun range. For a target use a picture of someone you hate. Works like a charm!

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