From eating avocado to hugging a loved one and looking at art, simple ways to reduce stress through the senses

Some of the simplest strategies for combating everyday stress and low-level anxiety are right within our reach.

A new infographic highlights how a sense of relaxation and calm can be achieved via the senses, whether that's the smell of lavender or the feel of the wrists being gently stretched.

With stress-related illness accounting for 40% of work absences in the UK in 2011-12 (according to government statistics), clearly we could all do with taking things down a notch and chilling out far more than we actually do. 


Eating avocado can reduce stress

Here are five simple ways of reducing stress through sensory stimulation. Find out more in the infographic, from, below, or check out our 10 ways to alleviate stress here.


Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. They're also rich in stress-relieving B vitamins such as B6 and folate.


Research shows that the smell of coconut can slow your heart rate, working effectively as a natural mood booster. A 2007 study from Columbia University found that people smelling coconut had a lower stress response, lower blood pressure and less anxiety than those who didn't.


Scientists from the University of Vienna last year identified that hugging a loved one releases the "trust hormone" hormone oxytocin which lowers blood pressure and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.


The sound of rhythmic ocean waves provides a sensation of serenity and calm - research into the area has shown that it alters wave patterns in the brain, soothing you into a deeply relaxing and restorative state.  


Art therapists believe that looking at and creating art can be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. In 2007, scientists at University College London's Institute of Neuroesthetics found that looking at art stimulates the brain in a way that makes people feel good, leading to a renewed sense of health and wellbeing.

The sensory relaxation infographic

Stress infographic

Photos: Getty Images

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