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Instant Stress Relief

Serenity Now! 10 Instant Stress-Busters That Make Things Better

Life can be chaotic and stressful, making taking the time to de-stress almost impossible — especially when in the moment. Instead of carrying that pressure and anxiety around all day (and night!), here are a few ways to bust that stress in seconds. From the latest and greatest apps to quick tips, click through for a collection of tension tamers that will have you breathing easier in no time.

  • Look up: When feeling overstressed, look up. Moving the head and neck upward causes an intake of breath, which instantly calms you. While looking up, stretch the neck and take three deep breaths. Slowing breathing sends a tranquil message to the brain and allows you a moment to de-stress.
  • Calming scent: Inhaling a soothing scent when feeling overwhelmed helps ground and reduce stress. Fragrances like lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot are great for changing moods. Spritz your office or room with a lavender air freshener, light a bergamot candle, or give your face a light spray of ylang ylang water.

Read on for more stress-busting tips.

  • There's an app for that: Watching something soothing instantly banishes stress. Gaze away at a sleeping cat or focus on a flickering candle flame to trick the brain into thinking about something else, helping to make things better in minutes. Check out this stress-busting application ($2) that conveniently downloads to your smartphone or tablet.
  • Drink a glass of water: A nice cold glass of water helps calm nerves and refresh the body. Water hydrates and balances body fluids, helping you to deal with stressful situations and to be the best you can be.

  • Pressure point: Located in the fleshy spot between the thumb and index finger, this Hoku Point relieves stress when you're feeling aggravated. Gently press the index finger to the thumb and then release, forming a "V" with the two fingers. Now massage, or apply pressure, with the other hand to the webbing between the two fingers for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Hug it out: That's right; getting physical releases the hormone oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone. So find a willing participant and give them a great big hug.
  • Shout about it: Find a spot where you are free of listening ears, and shout about what's bugging you. Along with releasing stress, voicing conflicts frees the mind. And it's OK to toss in a few swear words, too.
  • Pet your furry friend: If there is a cat or dog handy, then give them a big pet when you're feeling stressed. Petting your furry friend lowers blood pressure, which then reduces stress. If you're feeling overwhelmed at the office, then head outdoors, and you're sure to run into someone walking a dog that's happy to let you pet away.

  • Watch something funny: Laughing is the best way to change any mood and reduce building stress. And a quick, silly short can be discreetly watched on your phone just about anywhere. Download a cute video, excuse yourself when you're feeling stressed, and laugh it out. Need some inspiration? Here's a seriously funny dog short that will have you smiling in minutes.
  • Meditate: The moment stress starts taking over, take a minute to meditate. Meditation can mean sitting in a quiet spot with your eyes closed for a few centering moments, listening to musical-lead meditation, or chanting aloud or silently. Even doing a few minutes of self-visualization helps relieve stress. Just picture yourself happy, and you've got instant zen. At Ease ($3) is an app that helps ease anxiety and worry in minutes.

Source: Flickr user theaucitron, Etsy user Kittahroses, Flickr user stockphotosforfree, Flickr user Zemlinki!

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