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Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety Right Now

Photo by Pedro Figueras from Pexels

Most people are feeling an extraordinary amount of stress and anxiety right now. We were already dealing with the effects of COVID and have been throughout most of 2020. 

Now we’re also in the midst of a contested presidential election. The country is on edge, to say the least. 

When you have uncontrolled stress and anxiety, however, it can lead to serious consequences in your life, some of which are direct, and others may be indirect. 

For example, if you are stressed and anxious, you may be less present and mindful. That can reduce your quality of life and even put you at risk of being in accidents. If you aren’t paying attention, you’re at a much greater risk of being in an accident that is ultimately your fault.

Stress and anxiety, when not well-managed, can lead to physical health problems such as weight gain or a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. 

You may find you’re less productive and generally just aren’t enjoying your life and family. 

The following are things you can do right now to reduce your stress and anxiety and learn to cope in more productive ways.

Grounding Exercises

Grounding exercises mean that when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you consciously bring your focus to what’s physically happening to your body or in your surroundings. The idea is that you take yourself out of your thoughts that are making you anxious. 

You can use grounding exercise to get in the present, rather than worrying about the past or future. 

There are many different grounding exercises that you can use, but they all work in a similar way. 

When you’re thinking about stressful things, your amygdala in your brain is activated. That’s the part of the brain responsible for our emotional responses, including fear. 

With grounding, you work to break that emotional fear response in your brain so you can break away from the trappings of your thoughts. 

One specific grounding exercise you might consider is sitting in a chair. You start to think about how the chair itself feels, and then you place your feet on the floor and imagine the draining moving from your mind, through your body, and into the ground. Again this is just one example of how you can practice grounding. There are many others. 

Write it Down

We tend to underestimate how powerful writing things down can be. For example, you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. 

You can also write down what is stressing you out, or you can write down what you’re grateful for when you’re feeling stress. Focusing on gratitude can help you move your thoughts away from what makes you anxious and toward what makes you feel happy or positive. 

Chew Gum

It sounds strange, but chewing gum can help you calm down quickly. People who chew gum have been shown in studies to have more of a sense of well-being and lower stress levels. It may be because chewing gum releases relaxing brain waves. It also promotes blood flow to your brain. 

Watch a Funny Movie

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back from whatever’s happening and watch a funny movie or show. 

When you laugh, it relieves your feelings of stress and also alleviates physical tension through muscle relaxation. Laugher can help improve your mood and immune system as well. 

Drink Water

It may sound silly to drink water when you’re feeling stressed, but there are reasons this is a good tip. 

Drinking water when you’re stressed or overwhelmed can help you get present quickly. 

You can take a second to slow down and breathe, and you’re also just getting a break from whatever the situation is that’s leading you to feel stressed. 

Drink 20 ounces of water slowly whenever you feel stressed. It has the benefit, along with helping you get present and refocus and helping you stay hydrated which is good for physical health. 


There are different deep breathing techniques that you can rely on when you’re experiencing stress. 

One is called combat breathing.

With combat breathing, you breathe in and count to four. Hold it for four counts, and breathe out for four counts. Repeat for three to five breaths.

It’s called combat breathing because it’s something first responders, and people in high-stress environments often do. 

These are just a few ways that when you’re experiencing inevitable stress or worry, you can take a time out and get your mind to where you need it to be.

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