Researchers have found that journaling is an effective tool in dealing with anxiety and stress. Journaling could also help people deal with traumatic events or situations, according to Dr. James W. Pennebaker, the chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas, Austin. The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that journaling helps “prioritize problems, fears, and concerns” and allows you to identify negative behaviors or thoughts.
Being in a messy, unorganized environment can make some people feel more anxious and stressed, so it makes sense why for some people, cleaning can be calming. Control comes into play here, too, which may be all too relatable with the threat of COVID-19: Cleaning can be a self-soothing technique. Cleaning also has the benefit of being a light form of exercise, which is known to relieve stress on its own.
Petting dogs and cats
Relieving your stress might be as easy as petting your dog or cat for just 10 minutes, according to a 2019 study by Washington State University. A common practice for universities across the country is to bring cats and dogs to campuses to offer a stress-reducing activity for students. A study published in a 2018 issue of Social Development, reported there is clear evidence that having a pet dog helps children respond better to stress.
Experts believe crafting can be an aid for those dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, or depression. The phenomenon of getting enthralled in a craft such as crocheting can be described as “flow,” a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who suggests flow is the secret to being happy.
Time in nature has been shown to reduce heart rates, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. While that may be difficult for the many currently in quarantine, gardening may offer a similar benefit. Gardening, or “therapeutic horticulture,” was found to decrease the severity of clinical depression in a 2009 study published by Research and Theory for Nursing Practice. If you don’t have access to outdoor space, indoor plants in pots can bring all the benefits of gardening inside.