When you're stressed in the moment, use an instant reminder to give you better alternatives: "What To Do When" Instant Reference Page. When you notice stress and then ask "what should I do?", you reengage your Higher Brain and then have the ability to choose, based on perspective and seeing the alternatives to coping ineffectively with stress, access the
The most effective stress relief strategies generate mood-enhancing brain chemicals (such as serotonin, GABA, the feel-good hormone oxytocin.) They also counteract the brain's stress response, stress hormones, and toxic effects and allow for the body's healing mechnisms to work. Melatonin is a critical chemical to facilitate sleep and healing and the immune system.
Of course, when we're bored or down, we will seek the more exciting: dopamine generators - but we overestimate how good they will make us feel - and often we will find we end up with more "feel bad" effects, especially over the long term.
When we are stressed our brains are more shut down and less capable, which results in their consistently mispredicting what will make us happy. (See the list of Happiness Producers and read what produces unhappiness.) We need to make clear to ourselves what works and what doesn't work, as it will help guide us toward what works and toward the effective self-control that is necessary to produce what we want in life.
Exercising, stretching, etc. [Use this for sure, as soon as you can; highest, best,
and quickest effect!]
Getting a massage
Going outside for a walk [Pop up and do this quickly when notice stress.]
Physical relaxation, recovery
Deep, slow breathing [A practice to always, always have on hand and do.]
Complete relaxation [At least once a day, completely.]
Nap, rest [Very effective in the moment]
Praying or attending a religious service
Being in nature
Listening to music
Spending time on a creative hobby
Meditating or doing yoga [Basic meditation offsets the stress response quickly] -
Reprograms left brain happiness center and automatic thought screening
Spending time with friends or family
Least effective and/or harmful:
Gambling, playing video games, surfing the internet
Watch tv or movies for more than one hour.
Shopping, catalog browsing
Substance use: Drinking, eating, smoking, drugs