8 Easy Stressbusters

Sometimes daily life can get the best of us, and our stress levels can zoom off the charts. Family issues, workplace worries, and day-to-day obligations can take a toll on how we feel, both physically and emotionally.

To ease feelings of anxiety or tension, try these methods of stress reduction:

1. Take a Deep Breath

When people are stressed, they tend to take shallow breaths, which can actually increase feelings of tension. Taking several slow, deep breaths can restore a sense of calm, and can be done almost anywhere. Start by exhaling deeply while contracting your stomach, then inhale slowly as you expand your abdomen. Continue inhaling as you expand your chest and raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale in a reverse pattern. Repeat two or three times, and feel the stress melt from your body.

2. Exercise

Activity helps the body to relieve tension, and it also releases endorphins, our own feel-good chemicals. Any type of exercise is beneficial, so anything from jogging to swimming to a brisk walk around the office can help decrease stress.

3. Slow Down

When things get hectic, particularly at work, we tend to speed up in order to feel like we are getting things done in a timely manner. If you feel stressed out while doing your job, practice slowing down. Instead of breathlessly answering your phone the second it rings, take a moment to calm yourself before picking up. Slow down your speaking, too; talking at a rapid pace may make you sound tense, as well as cause you to feel flustered and out of control.

4. Visualize a Stress-Free You

During visualization, also known as guided imagery, you're in control of your own peaceful dream. Imagine a calm, relaxed setting, such as a beach, mountain peak, or your patio, and insert yourself into the scene. Stay with your vision for several minutes, until you feel your mind and body relax. Visualization can be practiced at home or in your office, with or without an audiotape to guide you.

5. Remember to Eat

Hunger and dehydration can intensify feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as cause headaches. No matter how busy you are, be sure to eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.

6. Check Your Posture

Remember to keep your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress.

7. Try Yoga

Yoga, a widely practiced mind-body exercise, can reduce stress and help you feel calm and centered. Yoga poses improve flexibility and strength, and incorporate breathing techniques that aid in relaxation and general feelings of well-being.

8. Enjoy a Massage

Treat yourself to a professional massage. Massage consists of kneading muscles and soft body tissues to relieve stress, tension, and pain. A good massage therapist can loosen and relax tight or sore muscles. Your whole body will feel relaxed, yet refreshed and invigorated.