Reduce stress in 60 seconds or less:
Sit still and take three deep, slow breaths. Try to empty your mind of any thoughts. Concentrate on the breath entering and exiting your nostrils. Feel the air going in and out. Breath deeply and count your breaths backward, starting at 15.
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, count to ten before you react. The slower you count, the better this works.
Close your eyes. Mentally place yourself in an environment that gives you peace and pleasure. Visualize your fantasy place and what you would do there.
Yikes. As if your mental stress weren't enough, your body is tensing up and making it worse. Close your eyes and do a mental scan of your body, head to toe. Notice where your body is reacting to stress, then move that area to increase blood flow. If your neck is wired, for example, do head circles. If your shoulders are tight, do shoulder shrugs.
Choose a major muscle or an area of tension. Tighten and relax it for 60 seconds.
• Thigh: Extend your leg and contract and release the quadriceps muscles.
• Abdominals: Sit up straight and inhale, lifting the rib cage. Exhale into a very slight crunch, contracting the abs.
• Chest and back: Wrap your arms around yourself as if you were giving yourself a well- deserved hug. Walk your fingers toward your shoulder blades. Pull your shoulder blades as you curl forward, tightening the chest and stretching the back. Then reverse by rolling your shoulders back, squeezing your elbows together behind you.
• Face: Open your face wide--wide eyes, wide jaw--then scrunch it tight. Caution: Only the least inhibited should do this one in public in a well-lit place!
If you've got more than a minute to spare--you're stuck on a plane or bus, for example--you can keep on tightening and releasing different muscle groups. Five minutes will make you feel like a new person.