What's your favorite go-to trick when you are stressed? Is it breathing? Counting backwards from ten? Heading outdoors for a walk?
If you said the last, you'd be on to something. (Though the others work well, too!) Studies have shown that being outside surrounded by green--grass, trees--calms people down big-time.
But here's some good news for the majority of us who can't head outdoors after a stressful encounter. Just LOOKING at a picture of a natural setting for a minute can be soothing and bring your heart rate down. It doesn't have to be a majestic wilderness photo, either. A path with some trees, a lawn, flowers--any of these simple shots will do just fine.
This was totally unexpected. One of the researchers told the New York Times she was surprised that such boring photos--"no spectacular green views, no sound, no smells"--worked so effectively, but they did.
So whip out your phone and find a photo of a garden the next time you're overwhelmed. You'll be happier in a flash.