Do TikTok’s most popular stress-reducing hacks actually work?

From ASMR to holding ice, there are many viral stress-relieving hacks on TikTok, but which ones actually work? And which ones are just gimmicks?

To help you differentiate between the techniques that are worth trying and those best left to influencers hoping to build a following, Mel Braham, CEO and wellness expert at B-Well CBD has trawled through TikTok to reveal top tips to reduce stress. Here are six stress-reducing hacks she’s looked into.

1) Weighted eye mask

Many people who suffer from insomnia turn to use a weighted blanket, but did you know you can also use weighted eye masks to reduce stress?

A weighted eye mask can help relax tension around your eyes and reduce stress. 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.


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.

3) 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. The repeated pattern of grip and release helps to alleviate tension and stress, this improves nervous system functioning and reduces essential hormones, which control and curb stress levels.

4) The 4-7-8 breathing technique

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. 

5) Holding ice 

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. Temperature changes could help individuals experience a sense of relaxation to cool the body and reduce stress.

6) The 5-4-3-2-1 method 

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.

More stress-relieving tips that work

Do you struggle with stress and anxiety? You can read more advice in these articles:

Photo by Keenan Constance