78 Instant Stress-Busters

Find immediate relaxation with these easy instant de-stressing techniques.

By Cynthia Dermody from readersdigest.com | January 2008


  • 45.


     Repeat three times: “I’m doing the best I can,” and accept that you can’t control the current situation.

  • 46.

    Take a Moment

     When the phone rings, wait to answer until the third or fourth ring. Breathe deeply a few times and tell yourself to relax.

  • 47.

    Sesame Oil

     Rub warm sesame oil (found in health food stores, not the cooking aisle) on your forehead. Sesame, a calming salve, is the only oil that penetrates all seven layers of the skin.

  • 48.

    Pen to Paper

     Write down every possible solution to the problem you are facing. Then let it go. Then write down everything you are thankful for.

  • 49.


     Keep a running list of compliments and kudos on your computer or in your journal. Read the list when you’re frazzled and down.

  • 50.

    Yoga Minute

     Standing up straight, put the ball of one foot on top of the other. As you breathe in, bring arms up over your head and touch palm to palm. Bring hands down on the exhale and repeat on the other side.

  • 51.

    Relazation Exercise

     Do a free relaxation exercise at stressremedy.com.

  • 52.

    Kitty Comfort

     Pat a kitten.

  • 53.

    Have Faith

     Say a prayer.

  • 54.

    DIY Reflexology

    Tug your earlobe with your thumb and forefinger. Gently pull and let your fingers slide off the ear.

  • 55.


     Plug in a jasmine-scented air freshener (such as Glade Plug-In). Research subjects who slept in a jasmine-scented room snoozed better and were more alert the next day than those who didn’t.

  • 56.

    Active Gratitude

     Take a walk and think about five things you are thankful for. Research shows it’s physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time.

  • 57.

    Top Five

     Visit topfive.com for a funny top five list every day.

  • 58.

    Read Aloud

     Think of someone you love and read your favorite romantic poem aloud.

  • 59.

    Change Gears

     When you encounter a discourteous driver, try to shift focus to all the good drivers around you. Just five minutes of positive focus raises immune system function for six hours, while focusing on those you resent has the opposite effect.

  • 60.

    Peppermint Pep

     Spray peppermint Motor Mist Spritz in your car. Peppermint, studies show, decreases anxiety and fatigue while driving, easing frustration behind the wheel.

  • 61.

    Car Yoga

     Before you start the ignition, lay arms palms up in your lap, take a deep breath through your nose. As you exhale, stick your tongue out and try to touch the tip of your chin. Then, your eyes looking up between your brows, bring your hands up as if you were going to pounce and roar as loudly as you can.

  • 62.

    Bedtime Story

     Remember being soothed to sleep by a bedtime story? Pop in an audiobook narrated by Barbara Caruso, one of AudioFile magazine’s Golden Voices. Her newest: The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery.

  • 63.

    Cinnamon Gum

     Chew cinnamon gum, which gave study subjects more energy and alertness, cutting down on stress.

  • 64.

    Happy Place

    Visualize a “room” of your choice—winter room, floral room, forest room, water room or Zen room—for a quick pick me up.

  • 65.

    Celebrity Inspiration

     Melaniegriffith.com’s meditation room lets you pick a mantra for one of six different topics, including health, relationships and spirituality, which you repeat while watching a video of nature close-ups.

  • 66.


     Gracecathedral.org has an online “finger” version of the Labyrinth, an ancient maze on which you can walk as you reflect and meditate.

  • 67.

    Visual Stimulation

     Onegoddessway.com gives you a choice of several soothing nature scenes with audio, including a tranquil waterfall and fire in a hearth.

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