Stress and anxiety are major issues that don’t just affect your mental health, but they can affect your physical health as well. Constant stress can lead to things like headaches and migraines, clenched teeth and dental issues, high blood pressure, nausea and upset stomachs, chest pain, insomnia, poor sexual performance, and more. 

If you’ve been stressed before, you likely know all of the most important tips and techniques to help reduce stress, including seeing a therapist, getting stress relieving medication, exercising regularly, and modifying your diet. You can also try things like yoga and mindfulness meditation, which have been found to improve your mental health.

On top of all those, there are a few small and weird tricks that can help you manage your stress at the moment. There may be times when you can’t get to a therapist, or exercise, or take medication. In those moments, you can try these three weird tricks to relieve your anxiety.


#1) Make Yourself Smile

You may assume that smiling is a byproduct of feeling happy. In fact, the relationship works both ways. You don’t just smile because you’re happy, you can actually make yourself feel happier by smiling. Even if you don’t feel any joy, just the physical act of smiling seems to trigger the release of chemicals in your brain that reduces stress and anxiety, and improves your mood. 


The next time you’re feeling particularly stressed, try smiling. It can be a bit easier if you do something like watch something funny or sometime that usually makes you smile so it comes more naturally.

#2) 3-3-3 Rule

Another trick that can help you when you are feeling particularly stressed or anxious is to use the “3-3-3 Rule”. This is a small mindfulness trick that helps you calm down an overactive brain that gets stuck in a loop of negative and stressed out thoughts. It’s used by people who are on the brink of a panic attack or nervous breakdown to walk them back from the edge.

The way it works is by focusing on your surroundings to name three items that you see, three sounds that you hear, and moving three different parts of your body in a repetitive manner. Repeating this a few times helps your brain shift from firing all the negative chemicals that make you feel stressed, so you can calm down. 

#3) Chew Gum

You’ve likely never heard about the therapeutic benefits of chewing gum. A study from 2008 found that people who regularly chewed gum experienced reduced anxiety and depression, as well as having higher levels of alertness and ability to mult-task. It’s not fully clear why, but one reason could be that the act of chewing keeps your brain less focused on distracted thoughts that stress and anxiety can cause.


You can combine the benefits of chewing gum with CBD products like those from Joy Organics, as some manufacturers will make gum that is infused with cannabidiol. Since CBD also has some anxiety and stress relief properties, the two used together can make for a useful source of reducing stress whenever you need it.


It’s worth remembering that the three tips mentioned above are relatively small for effectiveness, and more useful in specific moments when you are feeling stressed out and can’t immediately get to a therapist or gym for exercise. 


In the long-term, the best way to manage your stress is to make sure you regularly see a therapist, exercise and eat healthy, practice mindfulness, and take any medication (if needed). That will help your stress levels stay much lower day to day, and whenever you feel a sudden crisis in the moment, you can use the three tricks above as an emergency backup.


Published by HOLR Magazine