Feeling stressed? Take a time out to practice easy stress soothers. You’ll find you can alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety in simple ways that take five minutes or less.
Inhale for four slow seconds (one Mississippi… two Mississippi…), hold for three seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Try to inhale and exhale so deeply that your belly expands out and in (sometimes called yogic breathing). Repeat twice more.
Why it works: Slow, deep inhales and exhales activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers blood pressure, decreases the stress hormone cortisol and eases your “fight or flight” response.
Take a brisk walk outside, preferably with a coworker or friend who can make you laugh.
Why it works: It’s a stress-relief trifecta: Exercise, nature and laughter all relieve stress by triggering the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones, from your brain. Spending time outside, especially in a forested park or other green area instead of a city street, is linked to better blood pressure.
Place a few drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser to imbue your office with calming scents. Work in a cubicle? Try using an aromatherapy necklace (such as one from Drops of Joy Jewelry) so you alone can smell it.
Why it works: Research suggests that inhaling certain essential oils such as lavender can quell anxiety, possibly by igniting the smell receptors in your nose to send soothing signals to your brain.