If You’re Feeling Stressed Out, These 7 ‘Rescue Remedies’ Can Help – Expert

Do you sigh when you are stressed? You are about to regulate your emotions.

Kandi Wiens, an author and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in stress, resilience and burnout, shared her stress-busting tips with The Post.

“People think that when we distract ourselves from stress, that’s bad, but that’s not necessarily the case,” explained the director of Penn’s master’s program in medical education.

She has a series of stress distraction techniques, which she calls “rescue remedies,” designed to counteract the effects of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These strategies, which range from sighing to exercising to looking at a photo of a loved one, are described in her book, “Burnout Immunity: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Build Resilience and Heal Your Relationship with Work,” published in next.


Wiens said the breathing technique of taking two inhalations through the nose and a long exhalation through the mouth helps people reduce their stress response.

As an anxiety-relieving practice, sighing opens the air sacs in the lungs called alveoli and maximizes the amount of oxygen people take into their lungs.

When we’re stressed and when our stress response goes off, we’re building up carbon dioxide, he explained.

[Sighing] it allows us to take in some oxygen at the same time. This long exhalation then allows us to discharge this carbon dioxide, he added.

Simply sighing by taking two inhalations through the nose and a long exhalation through the mouth helps people reduce their stress response. Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com

Look at a photo of someone you love

In her research, Wiens said study participants have reported that looking at a photo of their children or someone they love calms them down.

Simply looking at a picture can produce oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, which can offset stress hormones.

In times of stress, the body is releasing a lot of cortisol and adrenaline, and it’s causing all kinds of bad things in our bodies.

Our heart rate goes up, our oxygen intake goes down, he explained.

However, looking at a photo of a loved one activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated when the body is in a state of relaxation.

physical touch

Holding someone’s hand or hugging them works just as well as looking at a photograph when it comes to reducing stress.

Looking at a photo and touching it triggers oxytocin, he explained.

Cuddling with a pet can have the same benefits. And if a loved one or animal isn’t around, massaging your temples or placing your hand on your heart can bring you into a state of balance.

You can also soothe yourself by massaging your neck at the base of your skull. This stimulates the vagus nerve which is full of oxytocin receptors.


Wiens said that exercising produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter and hormone that gives people feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

When you exercise, you get a bit of a high physique. You feel like maybe you have a little more energy afterwards, she explained.

Like other stress-relieving exercises, exercise can help tame the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

You’re training your body to make the right hormones at the right levels, he explained.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature increases the production of dopamine and also the production of endorphins.

Endorphins are chemicals released by the body in response to pain or stress and are also released during pleasurable activities such as spending time in nature, exercise, sex, laughter, meditation and eating chocolate, according to Harvard Health.

Wiens’ book said the stress-reducing effects of being in nature occur in as little as 10 minutes.

To cry

Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins and can help people calm down and regulate their mood.

ccalculate, locate, communicate, breathe and exhale (CLCBE)

Another stress-busting technique he suggested is one called Calculate, Locate, Communicate, Breathe and Exhale (CLCBE), coined by Dr. Howard Stevenson, also of the University of Pennsylvania.

For the calculation part, he said people can ask themselves their stress level on a scale of one to 10.

The localization part of the exercise has people locate where stress lives in their body. The communication part gets people to evaluate what’s going on in their head with self-talk, and the breath-in-and-out part gets people to focus on their breathing.

She said this practice helped her a lot when a CEO she worked with yelled at her in front of a group of people for about five minutes.

I did the CLCBE because my stress response shot up. I felt my blood pressure just go up and that calmed me down, almost immediately, she explained. “It’s getting you to focus on your breathing that really tames the stress response and the physiological response.”

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