“Looking forward to something provides calming perspective,” Dr. Elkin says. Buying concert tickets, scheduling a weekend getaway, or making an appointment for a massage are all great ways of managing stress. (Here are some things successful people do on the weekend.)
Goofing off is another great way of managing stress. It temporarily removes you from a potentially stressful situation. Esther Orioli, president of Essi Systems, a San Francisco consultant company that organizes stress-management programs, keeps a harmonica in the drawer for when she’s feeling stressed out. Bonus: Playing it promotes deep breathing. (Speaking of goofing off, here are some weird facts about laughter you never knew.)
When people are under stress, they slump over as if they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. “Slumping restricts breathing and reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, adding to muscle tension and magnifying feelings of panic and helplessness,” Dr. Cooper explains. Straightening your spine has just the opposite effect. It promotes circulation, increases oxygen levels in your blood and helps lessen muscle tension, all of which promote relaxation. The good news is, it only takes minutes to improve your posture.