Stress and Anxiety Relief: A Quick and Easy Trick That Works For Me

I read this Thursday’s tiny tip for quick stress and anxiety relief in the July 2016 issue of Prevention magazine on our last road trip.   Did you know sometimes road trips cause a bit of stress and anxiety?

I decided to test the tip within a few minutes of reading the article.  We were about 3.5 hours into our 4.5 hour trip and J was getting anxious.  It’s hard being confined in the car for such a long time even with modern entertainment devices.  The restlessness and fighting with his brother was about to start.

Me:  Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip…

The rest of them:  What are you doing?

Me:  Seeing how many flavors of ice cream I can name…

They all joined in and by the time my husband suggested “fart flavored,” we were all giggling and saying “Yuck!”

The quick and easy stress and anxiety relief tip from the article:

Name as many flavors of ice cream as you can!

Obviously, we changed up the parameters a bit on our road trip.  However, I’ve used the trick since then and found it helpful.  I’m not sure if would work with ongoing anxiety but I’ve found it helpful in situations where taking a deep breath won’t quite cut it.

According to the article (I can’t seem to find a link to the actual article but it’s on page 5 of the July 2016 edition of Prevention magazine if you want to look for it in paper form.), it is a distraction technique.  It helps to clear away the overwhelming thoughts and feelings.  The reason for ice cream flavors is to add a level of comfort.

On our recent road trip, my husband decided it was my turn to drive for the second half of the journey.  He insisted the rain was behind us.

stress and anxiety relief

Rain clouds along Interstate 35 in Kansas

Guess what?  It wasn’t all behind us at all.  It was also getting dark.  Two things I’m not a big fan of doing:  driving on the highway in the dark and driving in torrential downpour, thunderstorm rain.

stress and anxiety relief

The clouds from a rest stop on the Kansas turnpike.

Deep breath time.  Oh no, this is scary and deep breaths aren’t enough.  Time think of  ice cream flavors: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip…

I had to use the trick a few times while driving in the yuck and occasionally getting interrupted by my youngest son giving me driving “hints.”  It also works for keeping your cool when your kids want to give you driving “suggestions” from the backseat.

I find this trick helpful when you need something a bit “more” than a deep breath.  Obviously, if you suffer from constant anxiety, please seek out help.  However, this trick is a good one use for a bit of extra stress and anxiety relief especially in unexpected anxiety producing situations.

If you are wondering, I didn’t find using this trick made me hungry for ice cream like I thought it might.  Of course, if reading this post made you hungry for ice cream, I do have an easy “recipe” for cheater cake batter ice cream on the blog.

What tricks do you use to keep your cool during times of high anxiety and emotional upheaval?

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