Stress Hack: Clench Your Right Fist

Clench and unclench your right fist a few times. 

Clenching your right hand activates the left side of the brain, which is more verbal and logical. The right brain is more global and emotional. So, if you feel flooded by fear and anxiety (a right brain function), activating your left brain can prime you to think through the situation in a logical way instead.

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Stress Hack: Stand Tall

Stand up straight.

Standing upright not only makes you feel more confident, but it actually decreases stress hormones. A recent study in the journal Health Psychology found that people who had a slouchy posture while performing high-pressure tasks reported having more negative thoughts and feelings than those who sat upright. Other studies by researcher Amy Cuddy show that standing with an upright posture increases testosterone and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This seems to cause people to feel less anxious and more assertive and confident.

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Stress Hack: #4 of 4 Strategies to Stop Panic Attacks

Visualize a Peaceful and Happy Place

What’s the most relaxing place in the world that you can think of? A sunny beach with gently rolling waves? A cabin in the mountains? Picture yourself there, and try to focus on the details as much as possible. Imagine digging your toes into the warm sand, or smelling the sharp scent of pine trees. This place should be quiet, calm, and relaxing — no streets of New York or Hong Kong, no matter how much you love the cities in real life.

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Writer’s Wisdom: Writing from the Heart

Others may write from the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart will always understand him.” ~ Washington Irving

Stress Hack: #3 of 4 Strategies to Stop a Panic Attack

Close Your Eyes, Reduce Stimuli, & Focus on Breathing

Some panic attacks come from triggers that overwhelm you. If you’re in a fast-paced environment with a lot of stimuli, this can feed your panic attack. To reduce the stimuli, close your eyes during your panic attack. This can block out any extra stimuli and make it easier to focus on your breathing.

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Stress Hack: #2 of 4 Strategies to Stop a Panic Attack

Recognize You Are Having a Panic Attack

By recognizing that you’re having a panic attack instead of a heart attack, you can remind yourself that this is temporary, it will pass, and that you’re OK. Take away the fear that you may be dying or that impending doom is looming, both symptoms of panic attacks. This can allow you to focus on other techniques to reduce your symptoms.

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Stress Hack: #1 of 4 Strategies to Stop a Panic Attack

Did You Know Deep Breathing Can Help During a Panic Attack?

While hyperventilating is a symptom of panic attacks that can increase fear, deep breathing can reduce symptoms of panic during an attack. If you’re able to control your breathing, you’re less likely to experience the hyperventilating that can make other symptoms — and the panic attack itself — worse. Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly leave them again. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four.

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