Did you know that anxiety (and anxiety disorders) is the most common mental illness in the U.S.? Yep, it affects roughly 40 million adults. That’s 18.1% of the population every year! And we’re talking just in the U.S. of A.
In a world of global pandemics, rampant social problems, economic crises, and constant political turmoil—not to mention, our personal stuff—it’s hard to believe there’s really such a thing as stress relief. Isn’t that just a myth we all wish was true?
It’s not. While maintaining a state of calm is more difficult than any of us would like to admit, research and endless online reviews suggest that there are quite a few ways to enjoy stress-free moments throughout your day. Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed these “ways” down to a handful of products that we believe everyone needs to experience more peace.
Although this “bed of needles” looks anything but comfortable, people swear by its tension-relieving abilities. (Don’t believe us? Just check the reviews!) Similar to acupuncture, the practice of pinpointing areas of the body and applying pressure, known as acupressure, has been shown to reduce stress and leave your body feeling lighter, relaxed, and…a bit like jello.
But this acupressure mat takes it a step further, doing all of the above while helping to unknot tight muscles and improve blood circulation and sleep. And maybe most importantly, lying on this thing will give you a nice mental break (even before the post-mat relief sets in!) since the tingly sensation created by the points will prevent your mind from drifting to anything else.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Practice gratitude,” but it’s not just a saying people hang in their houses. Carving out time to celebrate the good things in life on the regular has some real benefits, many of which are directly related to stress level. Gratitude journals prompt you to recognize the small things in life—which are really the big things: health, friends, family, a place to stay, and so on by forcing your mind to focus on the positive.
This, mental health professionals suggest, creates emotional resilience: the ability to adapt to stressful situations and overcome setbacks with ease. Emotional resilience promotes good health—regulating metabolic functioning, controlling hormonal imbalances, and bettering the quality of our relationships. And if you think about it, it makes sense: When you have reasons to be grateful, the things causing you stress don’t feel quite as heavy or significant anymore, both to your body and mind.
Spend 20 minutes in this journal each day, and expect to see a big drop in your stress.
It’s no secret that a massage is a sure way to relax, but ever wondered why? We did too. And, it turns out, massages (actually, just physical touch in general) trigger our bodies’ parasympathetic nervous system—the system responsible for the rest and relaxation response. This causes your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate—basically everything that goes out of whack when we’re stressed out—to slow down, making you feel exactly what the name suggests: rest and relaxation.
But where you massage matters! For maximum serenity, there’s no better place to massage than your scalp. Scalp massages stimulate the nerves and blood vessels beneath your scalp and relieve muscle tension around your head. And since your head is the closest thing to your brain, your brain can feel the full range of stimuli created by this kind of massage. So, all those sensations you feel on your head? Those get sent back to the body, reproducing the relaxing goodness all over.
Our favorite scalp massager brand on the market: USAGA.
Adult Coloring Book
Need to get out some pent-up frustration? Then it’s time to get in touch with your creative side—because coloring isn’t just for kids anymore, and we’re pretty thrilled about it! In fact, adults everywhere are picking up their markers again as a way of managing negative thoughts and emotions and, quite frankly, calming the heck down.
We know what you’re thinking: This is too juvenile to work. And you’d be wrong. This pastime definitely transports your mind to a time of childhood bliss, but it’s really a number of things that psychologists say does the trick. First, coloring takes your attention off of yourself (and whatever is spiking your cortisol levels!) and onto the task at-hand. Much like meditation, the simplicity of the act gives your brain the chance to focus on one thing instead of having to process a thousand different thoughts at once. Simply stated, coloring gives your mind a break, making you less aware of the difficulties in life.
Plus, coloring is about as low stakes as it gets! While many “stress-relieving” activities can feel like another item on the to-do list, whipping out some markers and doing your thing isn't one of them. Since your “masterpiece” probably isn’t going on the fridge, it can be as neat or as messy as you want. This frees you to self-express however you choose—for you. And we’re betting you don’t get to do that often.
The coloring book you use is really up to you, but we’re big fans of this one (and its price) on Amazon!
Ever noticing yourself popping your knuckles, tapping your leg, or clicking your pen during times of stress? Ever wondered why? All those actions fall under the category of fidgeting, and it’s no coincidence that ya do them when nervousness sets in. Fidgeting is our body’s natural way of relieving tension and replacing it with the good stuff—that is, the feel-good chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine. When we fidget, these endorphins are released, and we become more attentive, focused, and at-ease as a result.
Moral of the story? If we did a little more fidgeting, we’d actually be a lot calmer, happier, and productive.
But we’re not suggesting popping your knuckles multiple times a day. (Please don’t do that!) We’re suggesting the Lowrey Magnet Fidget Slider by Bruce Charles Designs. Not only will this gadget satisfy all your fidgeting needs, but it makes fidgeting more convenient, fun, and just…cool. Small enough to store in your pocket and quiet enough not to annoy the less-fidgety folks around you, this toy will get your fingers moving and help you get out of your feelings and into a state of calm. Buy yours here.
That’s all we got! For more stress-relieving options, browse our online store.