18 instant stress busters

Linda Smith shows you how to let go and recharge, leaving you refreshed and ready for Monday.

After a stressful week at work it can be hard to switch off when the weekend rolls around. Here are 18 instant stress busters to help you unwind.

1. Stare at the sky or gaze at the ocean. Seeing the colour blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals.

2. Hold your loved one’s hand. Brain scans show the contact provides immediate relief from stress.

3. Turn off your computer. Think of a fantasy place, like a tropical island, for five minutes before restarting.

4. Take a shower with a luxurious gel and when you get out lather your body with rich body butter.

5. Buy yourself fresh flowers or pick some from the garden to brighten your day.

6. Call a close friend or family member, with whom you have a relaxed relationship, for a chat.

7. Embrace aromatherapy. The top stress-relieving scents to keep around the house include orange, grapefruit, lemon, peppermint and lavender.

8. Drink green tea, which is great for aiding relaxation.

9. Eat berries. They taste great and are packed with antioxidants.

10. Pat your pets. Studies show patting cats and dogs can reduce stress.

11. Go for a walk – the fresh air will invigorate and de-stress you.

12. Put slow songs on your iPod. Studies show people who listen to slow-paced tunes have a lower heart rate and blood pressure than people who hear faster songs.

13. Keep a list of compliments on your computer. Read the list when you’re feeling down.

14. Subscribe to a website that makes you smile.

15. Indulge in dark chocolate, which contains loads of feel-good chemicals.

16. Donate your loose change to charity. You will feel good and help someone at the same time.

17. Wear yellow, which is associated with laughter, happiness and good times. A person surrounded by yellow feels optimistic because the brain releases more serotonin (feel good chemical in the brain).

18. Smile. The world will seem better and you might make others smile as well.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.