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5 Simple Techniques to Help Combat Stress in Minutes

music-791631_640Our lives are hectic … and with Christmas right around the corner, they’re about to get a whole load more hectic!

Work, play, exercise, appointments, staying healthy, looking after the kids, running a home … all contribute to feeling stressed.

So it’s important to find ways that work for you, to help combat the negative effects of stress.

With that in mind, let’s forget about the usual ways we’d suggest de-stressing i.e. through fitness. We know for some that doesn’t work. And even if it does, it may not completely alleviate the stress in the longer term. It simply masks it until your mind is brought back to that reality.

Instead, try any one (or all five) of these techniques to combat stress and help you feel great over the coming weeks.

1. Smile

Smiling lowers your heart rate automatically. That’s right – do it now and see how much better you feel instantly.

And by lowering your heart rate you’ll focus more clearly and be able to function with all faculties working.

Smiling also releases endorphins – those fab little chemicals that make you feel happier, reducing stress in a matter of seconds.

2. Breathe

Yes, I know you’re doing it right now, but you’re just breathing without thinking.

In. Out. In. Out. In. Out…

Our bodies truly are remarkable machines that are able to do this without thinking.

So in times of stress, stop breathing unconsciously. Instead, consciously think about each breath.

Ideally, sit down, close your eyes, and breath in for 4 counts. Hold your breath for 7 counts. Then exhale for 8 counts.

This slows your heart rate and helps you regain focus and clarity.

3. Listen to music

One of our personal favourites … but it has to be classical. For you it may be jazz, the blues or something else. Just as long as it’s not heavy metal!

Find a quiet space, or put your headphones on, close your eyes and turn on the music, and listen. Really listen.

When other thoughts enter your head, return your focus to the music. Each and every time.

The soothing tones will help relax you. You’ll notice your heart rate reducing and positive feelings arising.

4. Stretch

With so many of us hunched over a computer screen for much of the day, stretching is a great way to relief the tensions that build.

Any time you start to feel stress-levels rise, stand up, take a breath and stretch. Loosen the neck muscles by doing a few shoulder rolls.

Breathe in extending your arms to the ceiling, then exhale shaking it all out.

5. Walk

And last but not least, walk it out. Ideally outside to breathe in the fresh air. But if it has to be indoors, take a stroll.

Go see a colleague on another floor. Talk, smile, laugh.

Doing the above will remove any tension that’s build up and allow you to regain concentration and see the bigger picture.

Reducing your stress. Recovering your sense of self.

So any time you feel your stress levels on the rise, stop. Take some time out – just 5 minutes – to do any one of these exercises.

Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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