Needless to say, we live in a stressful age. What with varying degrees of political chaos on both sides of the Atlantic, looming environmental disaster, and the premature passing of the Internet's favorite cat, we could all do with some pointers on how to de-stress – so here are 101, helpfully collated and shared by @lovelyyy_lina and her psychology teacher, Brett Phillips.
The list ranges from the fairly obvious (think: "look for a silver lining" and "take a bubble bath") to life advice many would benefit from taking, including "strive for excellence NOT perfection". According to a study published last year, young people's need to be perfect has risen by a third over the last three decades.
Several of the pointers are organizational tips: "prepare for the morning the night before," "always make copies of important papers," and "don’t rely on your memory… write it down," for example. While others offer up suggestions on how to unwind: "read a story curled up in bed," "watch a movie and eat popcorn," and "exercise every day." Studies have shown that exercise can protect against the mental effects of stress (particularly when you exercise with a friend).
Phillips also recommends you "get enough sleep" (a lack of which has been scientifically proven to increase levels of irritability and feelings of depression, anger, and anxiety) and "practice breathing slowly" (which might not make you a better person but may help regulate stress, right down to the cellular level).
Other themes on the list include nature ("feed the birds" and "plant a tree"), art ("listen to a symphony," "watch a ballet," and "look at a work of art"), and socialization ("ask a friend for a hug").
A recent study found that people who spend more time in nature during childhood have better mental health as adults, while taking time to watch a nature documentary may boost happiness and reduce stress and anxiety. You don't even have to be any good at art to experience the de-stressing benefit of it, while listening to this one song can reduce anxiety levels by up to 65 percent and physical contact boosts the body's levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin.
Admittedly, some of the suggestions are a bit vague ("anticipate your needs") and out there ("tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin") and if you want to take Phillips' advice and "tickle a baby" or "teach a kid to fly a kite", can we recommend you seek out parental permission first.