TikTok is full of people claiming the latest fad in stress relief is the be-all, end-all, but how many of them actually work?
Wellness expert Mel Braham trawled through TikTok to analyse which stress-relieving tips are the most beneficial, and the winners may surprise you.
Weighted Eye Mask
We’ve all heard of weighted blankets reducing stress, but weighted eye masks?
“A weighted eye mask can help relax tension around your eyes and reduce stress,” explains Mel. “In the case of weighted eye masks, they come with the added benefit of deep pressure stimulation and deep touch pressure, which decreases the activity of your body's sympathetic nervous system.”
One TikTok user raved “Guys, this mask really improved my sleep quality!”
Another said she likes weighted masks as you can heat them up or cool them down, while another remarked that while they may look a bit funny to wear, they can even come scented.
“This one is lavender scented," she remarked on her own video.
Those videos of people talking softly into a microphone, making repetitive noises or even getting their dog or cat to munch treats close to a mike are so popular that many celebs have also gotten in on this trend.
But what is ASMR exactly?
Mel, CEO at B-Well CBD, explains: "ASMR is extremely popular on TikTok with over 234.1 billion views on the hashtag. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxing, often sedative sensation triggered by sounds such as whispers, crackles and repetitive movements. ASMR helps relieve negative mood symptoms, including feelings of depression or stress.”
One TikTok user even raved: “I have insomnia and anxiety, and these videos calm me down."
While another said: "These TikTok videos help me realise not all sounds stress me out. Thank you!"
The good ‘ol stress ball is also seeing a resurgence, with some TikTok users even going so far as to making their own giant-sized stress balls!
“When you are feeling stressed, squeezing a stress ball activates the muscles of your hand and wrist; releasing the grip allows the muscles to relax,” says Mel. "The repeated pattern of grip and release helps to alleviate tension and stress, and this improves nervous system functioning and reduces essential hormones, which control and curb stress levels.”
It seems the sensation of squishiness is key in what makes a good stress ball, with many users raving over the “squish” factor.
Colour also comes into it, with one user remarking; “This stress ball is super squishy, and crazy pink!”.
This next technique can help to relax your body and reduce stress and anxiety. The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds and exhaling for eight seconds. This will calm your body and control your breathing.
This technique is even endorsed by a Dr, so you know it must be legit!
One user stated; “This does help you fall asleep.”
Holding ice to distract yourself and suppress feelings of anxiety is another trick shared on TikTok.
“Rather than holding the ice still in your hands, we suggest wrapping the ice in a towel to avoid irritating the skin,” says Mel. “Temperature changes could help individuals experience a sense of relaxation to cool the body and reduce stress.”
Another Dr on TikTok, Dr Julie Smith, also endorses the trend, posting this video explaining the various ways people can de-stress using the humble ice cube. “Focus on the temperature and texture”, she advises.
This final viral hack is beneficial to soothe anxiety as well as stress.
When feeling anxious, the hacks suggest using this simple 5-4-3-2-1 method which focuses on the following: 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste.
“This will distract your mind and allow you to focus elsewhere and therefore reduce stress”, Mel explains.
Even Dr Oz endorses this one, saying the technique helps to re-wire your brain.
One TikTok user stated videos like this help them sleep, while another stated this technique helps them wind down after a hard day.
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