Here are two quick things you can do to dial down your stress response. They come from clinical psychologist, Dr. Jenny Taitz. To start, try jumping in a pool! It can reduce your stress almost instantly! Because when we submerge ourselves in cool water and hold our breath – whether it’s a pool, lake, ocean or even dunking in a kiddie pool – it activates our “dive reflex.”
That slows your heart rate and redirects blood away from the your extremities, and toward your heart. And that physiological change has been shown to decrease anxiety. Submerging yourself in cool water also shifts more blood to your brain, and creates a sense of clarity that can help calm overwhelming emotions.
Another trick to reduce stress: Distract yourself with strong sensations. When we’re stressed or anxious, our attention narrows and we only focus on the negatives. So, if you’re having a hard time objectively looking at a situation and making decisions, or if you feel mentally stuck, a quick distraction can allow you to reset.
So try chewing on a hot pepper, holding ice cubes in your hands or smelling a pungent cheese. That will reset your brain and attention so you can think more clearly.