Surprising Science-Backed Ways To Beat Stress

Listen to Max and Amy's conversation about a SciTech Daily article, revealing science-based ways to deal with stress.

  • Try the diving reflex - When you’re so stressed you can feel your heart beating and your blood pounding, activating the diving reflex can help. Fill a big bowl with ice cold water and immerse your face in it for about 30 seconds, or as long as you can hold your breath. It helps slow the heart down and has been shown to strongly lower anxiety. Pressing a large ice pack to your face could also do the trick.
  • Subject yourself to strong sensations - When you’re stressed and anxious, your mind tends to focus only on the things that bother you most, so distracting yourself with sensory stimulation can help. Biting into a hot pepper or sucking on a lemon can jolt your mind away from lingering anxiety.
  • Look for fractals - Being in nature is known to help beat stress, but research also shows that seeing imagery that mimics patterns in nature can create similar relaxing effects. Images of fractals - patterns that repeat on a scale that gets smaller and smaller - can help. They’re seen in things like snowflakes and nautilus shells and they tend to soothe the mind and help people relax.
  • Get some distance - Distancing yourself from your situation can also help relieve anxiety, and researchers have found that the key to doing it is to speak to yourself about yourself in the third person. So try using he, she, or they, instead of I to mentally distance yourself from what’s making you anxious.
  • Try yawning - The brain warms up when we feel stress and anxiety and cooling it down could help lower stress. Yawning has a cooling effect on the brain, so if you’re stressed out and need a release, try to yawn. If you can’t do it on demand, head to YouTube and watch videos of people yawning since it tends to be contagious.

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