The Weirdest Stress Reducer Ever (That Totally Works)
We all have those days where nothing seems to go right.
You can totally picture it: You left an important report at home, spilled coffee on your keyboard, found out that your assistant completely messed up your meeting schedule (making you at least 15 minutes late to everything), and have over 200 unread emails sitting in your inbox.
It goes without saying that you’re in need of a stress reducer ASAP. But you can’t leave the office in the middle of everything to get a massage or do some meditation, so what can you do?
It’s simple: Put your thumb in your mouth and blow on it.
Yes, you heard me right. And yes, there’s science to prove this helps.
As reported by Lifehacker, blocking your air passage with your thumb then exhaling activates your vagus nerve, which is spread throughout your body. Research shows that stimulating your vagus nerve can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed. Who knew a little unconventional science could do the trick?
Of course, you may not have the privacy in your cube or a meeting to put your thumb in your mouth without drawing attention to yourself (and you definitely don’t want the CEO to think you’re sucking your thumb), so here’s an easy, related trick: Just blow cool air on your thumb.
Dr. Arun Ghosh, a doctor from Spire Liverpool Hospital, explains that cooling off your thumb can help reduce stress quickly because the thumb has its own pulse. Much like you try to calm your heart rate after exercise, calming the pulse in your thumb may be able to help you feel more relaxed overall. (Even better, just the act of taking deep breaths to blow cool air can cause you to slow your heart rate and ease your tension.)
So, take a deep breath for seven seconds, hold it for three seconds, blow on your thumb for seven seconds, and then repeat. Feeling a little better? Give us a thumbs up if so.
Lily is a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect, the world’s largest student-run college access organization. In addition to her writing with The Muse, she also serves as an editor at HelloFlo and Her Campus. Recently, she was named one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women for her work helping underserved youth get into college. You can follow Lily on Twitter.More from this Author