Posted on Oct 10th, 2006

Stressed-out? Too much to do and too little time? Then, check out these five simple stress-busters and feel stress-less soon. These easy steps to instant sanity are quick and effective. And best of all, you can do at least one of them right now, right where you are, in the comfort of your own home or cubicle.

1. Breathe: Often and always, of course. But also DEEP-ly. Feel the air filling your lungs and expanding your ribcage and belly. As you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, offer thanks to the very air you take for granted. Reflect on how life-giving oxygen is given to you with every inhale and life-depleting toxins are removed with every exhale.

Expand your exhale into a long sigh. Loosen up your shoulders and exhale with your entire body in one long, unbroken outbreath. Fully feel the sigh—starting at the crown of your head and rippling down through your body to the tips of your toes, as you softly whisper "Ahhhhhh. . . ".

Yaaaaawn. When tense, you tend to take short, shallow, and sporadic breaths. Less oxygen goes the brain and body, and they can’t function at their peak. A slow, relaxing yaaaaawn brings revitalizing oxygen to where you need it most.

2. Count to 10: Forward or backwards, out loud or to yourself. Either way, the point is to count s—l—o—w—l—y. Insert a word between each number. For example, say "10. . . hippopatumus," "9 . . . hippopatumus," and so on.

By the end of your countdown, you’ll be feeling more cool, calm, and collected—ready once more to launch into your next activity.

3. Look to the East: Stretch out with a little yoga. You don’t have to get out of your chair. Desk workers typically build up strain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands—and yoga can untie those knots. No time for a yoga mini-break? No worries. Try this quickie to revive and relax your overworked eyes: Rub your palms together briskly to build up some heat, then cover your overworked eyes for a few moments with your palms (no peeking—it should be dark as night in there). This imparts energy to the eyes and also helps them rest.

4. Eat: No, this doesn’t mean gorging yourself on gobs of greasy fast food (which is often a response to stress). Treat yourself to a new kind of lunch. Think of the daily noontime ritual as a chance for you to unwind, to take a few quiet moments to de-stress and re-group. Head out on your own to refresh and recharge.

Or, if you’re at home, stay there, but remember to turn off all noise-making electronics. Wherever you lunch, sit down, get comfy, and savor the flavors, textures, and aromas of every morsel of your meal. Eat ‘mindfully’ and chew each bite at least 50 times. You’ll digest better, which in turn means your body will more easily turn that food into energy to nourish and strengthen your overall system. Mindful eating also helps avoid heartburn and indigestion. Another big plus? You’re likely to eat less—and that’s a helpful if you want to slim down.

5. Take a Hike: Just walk away. Right out the door. Don’t worry, your problems will still be there when you return. Of course, dress for the weather before you hop away, and don’t leave crying babies or boiling pots behind. You can get away from it all—at least for a few minutes—and return refreshed and rejuvenated, with a renewed outlook on life.

While you’re out and about, look around and appreciate the sights and sounds—the sun, the sky, and the clouds. Be happy for what you have, like the ability to get out and take a walk. A little gratitude goes a long way. Try picking up the pace. ‘Power-walking’ can quickly work out the kinks. Fast or slow, a spin or stroll around the block helps you feel less frazzled and will put the razzle back in your dazzle.

Each of these five stress-busters takes away your jitters by taking your mind off what’s bugging it. So, why not try one or two of these simple yet powerful de-stressors right now? And, remember, relax.

For a refreshing 7-minute video of yoga you can do at your desk, go to


P J Smith is motivated to write and writes to motivate. Her work can be seen on Public Television and at Healing She has been published in newspapers and magazines, and has written press releases for an international spiritual organization. To find out how PJ’s word wizardry will work wonders for you, visit P J

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