Additional tips to reducing stress

I waste a lot of money on magazines, so I happen to be an expert on experts’ recommendations for reducing stress. Proven methods include working out, keeping a journal and taking deep breaths. But here’s the thing: this stuff doesn’t do it for me. I’ve never taken a deep breath in my life and the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling stressed is try to find a parking spot at the gym. 

So consider this the anti stress reliever list list. I don’t have a Cosmopolitan-approved expert title like “life coach,” but here’s what works for me.

1. Make time for the people you care about. I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re all busy. But few people are really as busy as they think they are. Unless you’re a doctor, a single parent or an international business tycoon, you can carve out some time to take your family on a picnic or meet your friends for happy hour — or at least a happy half-hour. Your rinse-and-repeat cycle of school, work and homework isn’t going to calm your nerves. Watching your nephew in his latest scheme to achieve Internet stardom will.

2. Have a movie marathon. I’m not talking a seminar in Italian Neorealism here. Think comedy. Think cheese. Think John Hughes. Whatever your guilty pleasure is, round up your roommates and some snacks and indulge.

3. Clean your house. Roll up your sleeves, put on some music and tackle the laundry mountain that’s growing in your closet. Letting your mind disappear into the dull is a surefire way to shed some stress. And few things are more soothing than a flawless flat. 

4. Take a walk by the river. There’s a reason easy listening records feature babbling brooks and gently rolling waves. Humans love water. The Arkansas River may burn your skin off if you fall in, but the view sure beats the man-made lake at the Waterfront and the cinderblock walls of your dorm. And those deep breaths I mentioned earlier? If you want you can take some outside.

5. Get your shit done. Is it OK that I just used that word? I think we’re all homies here, so I’m going to tell it like it is: you’re stressed because you have a lot to do and that stress isn’t going to disappear until you do some of it. So, yes, make time for your family. Procrastinate by tidying and strolling. But we all know that the greatest stress reliever of all is buckling down, biting the bullet and writing that 10-page paper. Just do it. You’ll feel better when it’s done.