home
RSS
Quick stress busters and how they work
October 5th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Quick stress busters and how they work

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

I have been examining stress from every which angle for the past six months.

And since, by now, I have sufficiently stressed out my editor and probably some readers with essays that often run well over  my assigned length, this week I'm offering up a lightning round of some of the most compelling stress-busting strategies I’ve come across.

Exercise.

Last summer, I interviewed a bunch of high achievers - Lance Armstrong, Twitter founder Biz Stone, "Kite Runner" author Khaled Hosseini, among others - about their favorite ways to relieve stress. A reader who called himself “Cliff Notes” commented: “Long story short: ‘We asked a small group of people, ‘How do you cope with stress?’ They responded, ‘We exercise.’ ”

Indeed, physical activity increases oxygen circulation and bumps up the production of endorphins rather quickly. Both of these will result in reduced stress and anxiety, and a greater sense of well-being.

Exercising represents a great deal of bang for the buck, assuming you’re willing to bang. If (like me) you’ve got 1,001 excuses for not exercising, how about beginning with something quick and relatively painless, like a brisk walk around the block or a one-minute jump-roping session? Both will get your heart rate up quickly, and you can work your way up to a longer walk or more jumps.

Take herbs.

Yeah, not that kind.

I called my favorite naturopath and clinical nutritionist, Dr. John Abdo, for his take on some of the best herbs for stress. He thinks highly of rhodiola and ashwagandha. “They both provide adrenal support, so people can handle stress and feel calmer, and neither will make you jittery or increase cortisol levels.”

Though Abdo considers both rhodiola and ashwagandha pretty safe, you have to consult your own doctor about these herbs. You can also learn more about both herbs from Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s integrative medicine database: Rhodiola and Ashwagandha.

Sniff some scents.

Research shows that inhaling essential oils can result in measurable changes in brain wave activity. According to Kathi Keville, aromatherapist and co-author of "Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art," “essential oils can exert specific effects on both body and mind.”

“Lavender and chamomile were once sewn into pillows so people could be drawn into greater relaxation when they lay down,” Keville said. She suggests placing four drops of either lavender or chamomile essential oil into a steaming pot of water or diffuser to scent your home.

The scents can also be used together. Other therapeutic oils for relaxation include rose geranium and citruses like orange and lemon.

Meditate (quickly).

Some of us sit for long periods of time and clear our minds when we meditate. And some of us use the opportunity to run through the lyrics to every ABBA song ever written.

Martin Boroson, author of "One-Moment Meditation," suggests beginning a meditation practice with a single minute.

“The idea is not to learn to meditate for a long time but quickly. You can make a meaningful change in your state of mind in a single moment,” Boroson said.

You can begin by setting a timer for just one minute and then following fairly typical meditation instructions: Close your eyes or lower your gaze; put your body in a balanced, stable position; and simply focus on your breathing for a full minute.

“I always tell people that they will face distraction and their minds will meander even in that minute. But that doesn’t mean they’re failing. It’s more important that you get your mind back to your breathing and not judge yourself. Because after a minute, you will notice a shift in your state of mind toward greater peace. My philosophy is, it doesn’t matter if you experience total enlightenment in that minute. If you can just turn the volume down a little bit on the uncontrolled thoughts in your mind or your anxiety or your sense of being rushed, that’s useful.”

Here’s Boroson’s short video on how to meditate in a moment.

Laugh.

“Laughter is a great stress reliever,” stand-up comic Tissa Hami said. “You know how I know? Friday nights at comedy clubs. That’s when we get the biggest laughs. The crowd always seems ready to unwind and let go of the stress from the work week.”

Scientific studies support Hami’s observation. Laughter causes physical changes; it activates endorphins, relaxes muscles, stimulates circulation and generally calms the stress response.

You can even go out and find a laughter yoga class (yes, there is such a thing). Or you can just laugh and skip the yoga.

Stop thinking.

This last one is my mother’s suggestion.

Me: “What does that even mean?”

My mother: “Do vatever you vant. You say you stress. I’m just telling you vat I heard from dat famous doctor at Persian radio: Stop tinking. Problem solved.”

So there you have some effective everyday stress solutions: exercise, take herbs, smell some essential oils, micro-meditate and laugh some. And, um, stop tinking.

Post by:
Filed under: Exercise • Stress

soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Jeanne

    GREAT suggestions. I do "sniff some scents" – the ones that help me relax and feel calmer are lavendar, mint and cinnamon (not together). I also have always used laughter – I'm a Mom and if I DIDN"T have a great sense of humor and use laughter for stress relief, then you'd have to put oe of those white jacket's on me that you tie in the back!! Seriously! Laughter is GREAT "medicine" – it is a natural and wonderful stress relief and it's free! I also agree with Amanda's Mom's idea of just "stop thinking". Again...with the Mom thing – if I did not "quiet my mind" at night and stop thinking about the list of things still not done, I'd never get any sleep. This "stop thinking" thing is absolutely do-able, it's smart and it works! Love your post, tghanks for sharing it.

    November 2, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Charmaine

    Thanks for the good article. I've found meditating upon nature to be extremely relaxing. When you focus your attention on the beauty of nature, and breathe slowly and deeply your heart rate slows down and you relax naturally. When I can't get outdoors to meditate, I like to watch scenic relaxation dvds on my TV, such as the ones by Serenity Moments (you can see their videos at http://www.serenitymoments.com) they are quite beautiful and very relaxing.

    January 24, 2012 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. home remedies for stress

    Hi there, You have performed a great job. I'll certainly digg it and in my view suggest to my friends. I am sure they'll be benefited from this website.

    April 22, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ria Dorio

    Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb which can really help reduce the stress on the body. ;,,,;

    Our web portal
    http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/dust-mite-bites/

    October 7, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Malena Loske

    Rhodiola rosea, also known as Golden Root or Arctic Root, derives from Siberia and Northwestern China. I have studied the herb in both places, have seen it harvested in the wild, and have also taken an extract of this herb regularly for years, to ward off fatigue from a heavy travel schedule. Found on the training tables of athletes across northern Asia, Rhodiola rosea is considered an adaptogen – an agent that allows a person to adapt to both physical and mental stress, while improving energy, endurance and stamina.^:;..

    Most up to date posting provided by our new online site <http://www.picturesofherpes.co/index.php/

    July 2, 2013 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. theempathyqueen

    Reblogged this on theempathyqueen and commented:
    People put so much stress on themselves all year long, but between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the internal perfectionist kvetches very loudly. "Everything has to be just perfect" is a tough taskmaster; parties, menus, gifts, clothes, music - so many choices, and the pressure to recreate mystical unicorns of holidays past, can add to already mounting anxiety. With long term unemployment, fear in the economy and crushing debt, not to mention dysfunctional families and jobs, there is more than enough stress to go around. Here are some ideas to help you navigate through some of it now and the whole year through. All the Best!!

    November 29, 2014 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. seoguide tutorial

    bookmarked!!, I like your web site!

    February 1, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. frolep rotrem

    Hi! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 7, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    You have mentioned very interesting details! ps decent internet site.

    https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    February 9, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cardiff House Clearance

    Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What a perfect web-site.

    http://www.dumpawaste.co.uk

    February 9, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mike Wislocki

    You must participate in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I will suggest this site!

    https://Proxyti.com/buy/500-private-proxies

    March 14, 2021 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Tory Trammell

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some great visuals or videos to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this site could definitely be one of the greatest in its field. Superb blog!

    https://extraproxies.com/tag/simpleminded/

    March 19, 2021 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Buy Proxy Server

    Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I'm impressed! Very useful information specially the last section 🙂 I take care of such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

    https://Dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/2000-private-proxies

    April 9, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sheron Konkol

    Can I simply say what a aid to find somebody who truly knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You positively know the right way to deliver an issue to light and make it important. Extra folks must learn this and understand this side of the story. I cant consider youre not more standard because you definitely have the gift.

    https://extraproxies.com/cual-es-la-locacion-nativa-que-debo-poner-en-eclipse-para-el-opengl/

    April 12, 2021 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. storno brzinol

    My spouse and i got very peaceful Michael managed to finish off his homework from the ideas he received in your web page. It is now and again perplexing just to happen to be making a gift of instructions which some others might have been trying to sell. And we all grasp we need the website owner to thank for that. These illustrations you made, the simple blog navigation, the friendships you assist to create – it's many great, and it's letting our son and our family know that this theme is awesome, and that is rather pressing. Thanks for the whole thing!

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. bang xep hang bong da asiad 2019

    Coi Trực Tiếp Soccerxem trực tiếp bóng đá trên k cộngTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania trong ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới cho futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon tuy nhiên sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch tranh tài, bạn có thể chuẩn bị xếp công việc

    https://virandoamor.com/detail/the-thao-tv-hd-xem-online-98936.html

    June 18, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. đăng ký học tlu

    Thông Tin, Sự Khiếu Nại Liên Quan Tiền Đến Trực Tiếp Bóng Đá Nữ Giới tv4k k+Đội tuyển futsal Việt Nam đã có một trận đấu chấp nhận được trước đối thủ cạnh tranh đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết trái Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước thời điểm hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước Việt Nam.

    https://arubaeducation.info/detail/kq-ltd-tbn-29572.html

    June 28, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

Recent Comments
Archive
October 2011
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.