6 Unconventional Ways to Dismantle Pent-Up Stress

mindfulness Nov 22, 2023

Stress has become a trusted companion for most of us. There’s the stress that we in theory can impact, such as work, relationships, and duties. And then there is the world stress that we are exposed to constantly, if we so choose, through the news and social media. 

None of this is new, but maybe there are some ways to deal with this stress that you haven’t yet tried. 

    1. Dance. Any kind of dancing. I often dance around my apartment. Sometimes with music, sometimes without but always with a lot of fun. It for sure looks silly, but it’s a great way to let go of stress. I like dancing for and with my dog. Sometimes I’ll involve involuntary suspects. Try it out, it will for sure put a smile on your face. If you’re shy, dance alone. If you want to go to a dance club and have loud music playing and lots of people around, then go for it. If you are into any other kind of organized dance, then do that. As long as it’s fun.  
    2. Fun movements. Bouncing, crawling, hopping, wiggling and jiggling, shaking, clapping, rolling around on the ground. Anything goes. Children can be a great source of inspiration for this. As we get older we become more stiff and I don’t mean just physically. We don’t want to look stupid or silly. We are scared to be made fun of. But I’m hoping that your home or a room in your home is a safe space for you where you can goof around. Last night I did a big belly flop jump onto my bed and realized I hadn’t done that in years. It brought great joy. I also love doing the crab move: shuffling sidewards while making crab claw hand movements. Whatever you try out, make sure it is safe for you to do.   
    3. Sounds. Making sounds can be another great way to release pent-up stress. You can breathe through your lips for example (and shake your head while you're at it). You can make alarm sounds or motor sounds of a fast car. You can also try animal sounds such as chicken, cat, or cow sounds. These can be especially fun if you have a dog. Any kind of audible breathing works too. Button sounds. Music instrument sounds. Machine noises. Be creative. This exercise is probably best practiced at home or in another safe space.   
    4. Scents. Scents have the wonderful ability to get ingrained into our brains and remind us of certain people, places, or memories when we smell them again. If there is a certain perfume or essential oil that reminds you of something pleasant, use it. It can be a very powerful tool to change your mood and mental state. Furthermore, certain fragrances have specific properties. Such as lavender being linked to calmness and being able to aid in sleep. The smell of lemon has clarifying properties and can support mental focus.   
    5. Music. Listening to music that you love can help reduce stress. I enjoy watching live performances on YouTube or as part of documentaries. Recently I learnt about calming music which lies at 432 Hz. You can search for this on all the music streaming platforms and it works! Then there are of course also nature sounds. Fires crackling, waves crashing, rain, and storms. Experiencing these sounds live is of course the most powerful, but not always possible. Luckily these can also be easily found and played.  
    6. Relationships. This might not be so unconventional but it is a very important one to nurture. Spending time with people that you care about and that you have fun with will also help relieve stress. Make it uncomplicated and imperfect, but make sure to leave your digital devices off or out of the way. A quick drink after work. A lunchtime walk with a colleague. Take-out dinner or a basic pasta with tomato sauce meal. An ice cream and coffee on a Sunday. An extra hug. A too-long night out at the pub/bar. A random game of Uno or Memory. A family brunch. An extra date night. There are so many options. Make it a priority in life.


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