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Five Simple Stress Reducers to Try Now


Updated February 22, 2012

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Stress Reducer #1: Calm Your Physiology With Breathing
Five Simple Stress Reducers to Try Now

Your breathing can be your best stress reducer!

Photo from iStockPhoto.com
I'm often asked this question: "If I were to only do one thing to relieve stress, what's the best thing to do?" This is a great question, because not everyone has the time or energy for an attitude and lifestyle overhaul in a short amount of time, especially when they're at their most stressed (which is usually when they start looking for answers with stress management). The "best stress reducer" question cuts to the heart of stress management: "Is it possible to effectively relieve stress by just changing one thing?"

You'll be happy to know that it is possible. There are a few simple, stand-alone stress reducers you can try that could have a significant impact on your overall stress levels. The following five strategies can help you cut down on stress—especially chronic stress, the really damaging kind—in several ways at once, and bring lasting results. I invite you to adopt one of these stress reducers into your stress-relief repertoire today, and see what changes you experience. (You can even keep adding stress reducer strategies until you’re doing all five at once, but don’t feel you have to do it all now—one stress reducer is enough.)

Stress Reducer #1: Calm Your Physiology With Breathing

Learning stress relief breathing may just be my number-one stress reducer recommendation, because it can be used quickly and easily by just about anyone, at any time and in any place. You can use stress-relief breathing when you’re still in the middle of a stressful situation, and in doing so you can reverse your stress response and change your whole experience of a stressful situation. You can also do breathing exercises at any time during the day when you realize that you’re stressed, and calm your body right then and there. Breathing exercises are a great overall stress reducer for the following additional reasons:
  • Chronic Stress Relief: Breathing exercises can mitigate the effects of chronic stress. The danger of chronic stress comes from a body that’s always under fire and a stress response that’s constantly triggered. Breathing exercises can put your body back into equilibrium with the relaxation response.
  • Clearer Thinking: When your stress response is triggered, some of your body’s stress response-driven changes make it more difficult to think clearly. When you’re not thinking clearly, there’s a cascade of additional stress that can be created because you may make mistakes that cause more stress, or fail to see creative solutions that could relieve stress.
  • Lower Overall Stress: When you’re already stressed, you may feel more emotionally reactive to additional stressors. Using breathing exercises as a stress reducer can help you to feel less stressed overall, and therefore less reactive to future stressors.

Here's how to get started with breathing exercises.

Read on for more highly effective stress reducers, and if you find this resource helpful, feel free to share this.

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