Tom Grill, Corbis
The simplest and most effective way to ease stress is by using your breath. Stop everything you're doing for two minutes and focus on your breathing, and you can regain awareness of what's important. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and keep breathing in until you feel your lungs are completely full. Hold there for two or three seconds (or as long as you're comfortable). Release the breath slowly through your mouth or nose, taking as long as you took to breathe in. Repeat this four or five times.
2. Change Environments
Sometimes when you're sitting at an office desk or in a coffee shop for too long, your mind can get fed up. A great way to quickly relieve stress is to switch positions and environments. Get up and take a walk around the block or simply sit in another room. Believe it or not, this will create space in your mind and give you a new perspective. Different visuals and aromas will open your thoughts and allow you to see things in a new light.
3. Get Moving
Physical exercise is one of the best, quickest and most effective stress relievers. If you have some free time, get moving. Better yet, MAKE the time. We're not telling you to run a marathon, but remember that our bodies are meant to move, so make sure you give it what it needs. Even if you make a goal to walk just 100 steps or do 50 jumping jacks, you'll feel better. If you have kids, play with them or play on your Wii Fit and you'll release endorphins, which are your body's natural pleasure hormones.
4. Get Organized
Do you know where your to-do list is? If your desk is piled high in clutter and your closet looks like a tornado hit, make a pact with yourself to get organized. It doesn't have to happen in one day; good organization takes time. However, clutter and disorganization increase stress. Having a plan and getting organized will certainly relieve deadline stress and anxiety about important responsibilities. Even arranging your desk at work so everything is in place and easy to find will be extremely effective in calming your unease.
5. Phone a Friend
Friends have many benefits -- an important one being support. If you're in a sticky situation and need some good advice, your friends are there for you. Pick someone who is reliable and clear-headed to best help you de-stress. Give her a call when you've got a couple minutes of free time. It's okay to depend on someone else besides yourself, as everyone needs a shoulder to lean on at times.
6. Listen to Music
Music is an immediate stress reducer. Whether you're in the mood for sappy love songs or Lady GaGa boogies, your favorite songs will put a smile on your face. Listen to the lyrics and what they mean to you. This will clear your head and take your mind off of things. If you've got a playlist with all your favorite songs, even better. Whether you're in your house with the music pumping or walking down the street with headphones, music can transport you to a calm, meaningful place.
7. Learn From Your Mistakes
Many people have trouble coming to terms with the fact that they are only human, and humans make mistakes. Since nobody's perfect, bumps in the road are completely normal; in fact, they're extremely common. While these road bumps may not come at the best time and may be detrimental at varying levels, they are usually inevitable and a part of all of our lives. Remember, learning from your mistakes is the best path to smooth sailing in the future. Instead of beating yourself up about something that didn't go quite right, think positive and look forward to implementing the lessons you've learned. Knowing that nothing is the end of the world can give you a sense of inner comfort.