10 Ways to Relax Right Now

Stress can easily get the best of you. But these stress-busters can help.

Feeling stressed at work? Hectic schedule making you frazzled? Have too many commitments around the holidays? It’s natural to feel tension, stress and even anger as you go about your day. But that doesn’t mean you should let it get the best of you.

When you’re stressed, it triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response. While this can be helpful if your body needs to react in an emergency, it can put your health at risk when stress hormones fire day after day. Unchecked stress can contribute to a number of health problems, from high blood pressure and heart disease to obesity, headaches and diabetes.

You don’t need a lot of time to keep stress at bay. You just need a stress-relieving “bag of tricks” that works for you.

Here are 10 stress-busters to try:

  1. Take a walk. Any type of exercise can help relieve stress. Taking a quick walk when tensions rise can get your blood flowing and gives you time to gather your thoughts.
  2. Stretch. Stress and tension wreak havoc on your muscles, so spend a few minutes stretching your shoulders, neck and back throughout the day.
  3. Count to 10 and back. When you feel tense, slowly count to 10. Then count backwards.
  4. Squeeze a stress ball. They’re not called stress balls for nothing! Squeezing one helps relieve tension and stress.
  5. Have a cup of tea. Green tea contains L-theanine, a compound shown to reduce levels of chemicals in the brain linked to stress and anxiety.
  6. Do some organizing. Sometimes all it takes to help you relax is to feel like you have things under control. So spend a few minutes organizing the space you’re in to regain order and a sense of control.
  7. Breathe deeply. Slow, deep breaths can help you relax. Deep breathing also lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  8. Meditate. Take a few minutes in a quiet place to concentrate on your breathing and clear your mind. Studies indicate that meditating twice a day may help relieve stress and depression.
  9. Practice progressive relaxation. Tense and then relax one part of your body at a time. Start with the lower extremities (feet and legs) and work your way up your body.
  10. Find “me” time. It’s healthy to spend at least 15 minutes a day just to focus on you. When stress feels like it’s rearing its ugly head, even 5 minutes can help.

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Date Last Reviewed: September 20, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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