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How to De-Stress: Top 10 Hacks

  • 7 min read

stressed man driving

Modern life is full of daily stressors. On your drive to work, your car starts making a strange sound. You know you should take it to the shop, but your cat has been having coughing attacks, and both your mechanic and your veterinarian charge you through the nose. You’d research more affordable options, but with the extra work on your plate, you just don’t have the time. So which should you choose? Your cat or your car? 

Beyond that, is there a better way to juggle all this pressure? 

The first thing to keep in mind when dealing with stress is that you need a calm, collected mind to stop your problems from piling up and causing further mental chaos. Below are 10 sure-fire tips on how to de-stress yourself instantly so that you can unwind and prepare to face any problems with a level head.

Hack #1 – Use CBD

CBD is known for providing a number of beneficial effects, from soothing sore spots to helping you fall asleep. Did you know that CBD can also soothe your nerves? There are a number of ways to take CBD that can help you relax and de-stress:

  • sublingually (under the tongue) with a CBD oil for near-instant effects
  • In dissolvable tablet form every day to improve certain conditions
  • As-needed in mint form

Perhaps the biggest benefit from CBD is that when you’re a little more relaxed, it’s easier to use the nine other techniques on this list. How does this work? It all comes down to the mind-body connection.

The Mind-Body Connection

In Social Work in Health Care, Jill Littrell explains that the mind-body connection is “not just a theory anymore”— negative emotions have an impact on our physical health. In turn, the way we treat our bodies impacts our emotional health.

When we’re feeling stressed, sometimes relaxing our physical bodies and changing the pattern of tension that they manifest is enough to clear our minds, too.

CBD doesn’t just relax your mind, but also your body. In turn, it can be a great first step to take before you engage in any of the other hacks below. After all, it’s a lot easier to have a moment of mindfulness when your shoulders relax and your neck unclenches; your mood improves and you feel like you have a chance to breathe.

When we’re feeling stressed, sometimes relaxing our physical bodies and changing the pattern of tension that they manifest is enough to clear our minds, too.

Speaking of breathing...

Hack #2 – Focus on Your Breathing

When you’re stressed out, you may start taking shallow breaths. As a result, you fail to sufficiently oxygenate the cells throughout your body. This leads to increased stress. But it may not be your habit to breathe deeply in your daily life. 

As explained in an article appearing in Harvard Health Publishing, “For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow 'chest breathing' seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety."

That’s all the more reason to take a few deep breaths. Try out the following technique:

  1. Breathe in deeply for a count of five
  2. Feel the air expand your belly to its fullest
  3. Without retaining the breath, breathe out for a count of five
  4. Repeat five times

    There are many deep-breathing techniques that can help you to relax your body and mind. Try out the above technique, or download a breathing app on your phone. But remember: if a breathing exercise makes you feel more jittery, stop and try another technique. 

    Hack #3 – Move Your Body

    A little bit of motion is another way to strengthen the mind-body connection. Sitting at a desk all day is a major contributor to work-related stress, so a good way to manage stress levels during your workday is to get up and move around. As you move your body, you may find that your rigid, repetitive thoughts get unstuck, too. The following stress-busters are particularly effective::

    • Walking for at least 10 minutes reduces stress hormone levels.
    • Any change of scenery can help create a change in thinking patterns.
    • Walking outside can help you connect with nature and de-stress.

    Can’t escape the office or the house right this second? Even walking to the water cooler, going up and down a few flights of stairs or rinsing off your lunch dishes in the sink can help to get your endorphins circulating, reducing stress levels.

    Hack #4 – Strike a Yoga Pose

    If you have the space, there are several simple yoga postures you can try to de-stress. You don’t have to be flexible to for the following poses: 

    • Child’s pose– Kneeling on the floor, bring your toes together and your knees apart. Keeping your hips over your heels, walk your arms forward. Forward folds connect you to the earth, providing security and rooting. In the process, the poses gently open the hips and back.
    • Standing forward bend – Standing with your feet firmly planted, slowly reach your hands toward the floor, rolling your spine down vertebra by vertebra. You don’t have to touch your toes! In fact, grabbing opposite elbows and letting your torso hang can help to release tension in the neck, shoulders and jaw.

    Plants have been used in traditional cultures for centuries to treat ailments and improve mood. We’ve already talked about CBD. Did you know that one reason full-spectrum hemp oil is so beneficial is because of something called the entourage effect? The different compounds in CBD are thought to work together to enhance one other’s effects.

    The support of a friend can help release feel-good hormones that combat the effects of stress.

    Another component that contributes to the potent effects of CBD and other plants are terpenes, the substances that give many plants a distinctive smell. The following terpenes are thought to promote calm:

    Hack #6 – Have a Snack

    Are you familiar with the acronym HALT? It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When we’re experiencing one of these four feelings, our basic needs aren’t being met, which can heighten our emotions. If you’re feeling stressed, check to see if you’re hungry. A small snack can help you to feel more nurtured and secure. Great choices include:

    • Bananas– Rich in B vitamins and potassium, bananas can help you find more ease.
    • A single piece of chocolate – Don’t feel guilty; it’s been found to reduce stress.
    • Yogurt – Balance your gut bacteria and feel the benefits.

    Hack #7 – Write It Out

    Writing or journaling is a great way to deal with negative emotions and boost your emotional health. Sometimes, writing down exactly what you’re stressed about can help you to just let it all out. It can also serve as a brainstorming activity, helping you figure out what to prioritize, or even showing you that your load is more manageable than you initially thought.

    However, you can also write something else to distract yourself. Writing down things you’re grateful for is another well-known technique for turning your mind to the positive things in your life.

    Hack #8 – Listen to Music

    Have you ever found yourself driving in your car feeling dejected, down or upset, and then heard a favorite song come on the radio? Before you know it, you’re singing along without a care in the world. Music has a powerful effect on mental patterns. Jane Collingwood of Psychology Today explains: “Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”

    If classical isn’t your jam, follow your intuition to find music that calms you.

    Hack #9 – Call a Friend

    You know that talking to your loved ones can make you feel better. But did you know that it’s scientifically proven to reduce stress? The support of a friend can help release feel-good hormones that combat the effects of stress.

    Hack #10 – Give Yourself Acupressure 

    Many of these techniques focus on the mind-body connection. While Western science is still learning about the ways that bodily health can affect emotions, other systems of healing have long sought to treat emotions with physical interventions. In particular, traditional Chinese medicine involves both acupuncture and acupressure to reduce stress.

    If you’re wondering how to de-stress at work, you can easily perform acupressure without special equipment and without drawing anyone’s attention. 

    Try pressing the point right between your eyebrows: 

    • Close your eyes and relax as much as possible.
    • Use your index finger or thumb to apply pressure directly in between your eyebrows.
    • Breathe deeply as you maintain comfortable pressure for at least 60 seconds.

    Zebra CBD – Helping You Hack Life

    No matter your chosen method of stress reduction, CBD products can help you to relax more deeply into the resulting feelings of calm. Zebra CBD has the widest selection of high-quality CBD products on the market, including specially formulated Mood & Calm Tablets to help with everyday stress management. With our Label Accuracy Guarantee™, you can rest easy knowing you’ve purchased a product you can trust. 

     

    Sources:

    Social Work in Health Care.The mind-body connection: not just a theory anymore.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589562

    Harvard Health Publishing. Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

    WebMD. Exercise and Depression.
    https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1

    Good Housekeeping. 11 Foods to Eat When You're Totally Stressed.
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/news/g2396/stress-reducing-food-combos/?slide=2

    Nutrients.Everyday Eating Experiences of Chocolate and Non-Chocolate Snacks Impact Postprandial Anxiety, Energy and Emotional States.
    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/4/6/554

    PsychCentral. The Power of Music To Reduce Stress.
    https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/

    HuffPost. Best Friends Can Help You Beat Stress, Study Finds.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/best-friend-stress-levels_n_981080