RobbieMindfulness is all about living attentively in the moment, and it leads to relaxation. Heighten your awareness of the moment by focusing intently on an object. Notice a pencil's shape, color, weight, and feel. Slowly savor a piece of fruit or chocolate. To start your day mindfully, practice these simple morning mindfulness exercises.
Call a friend
kupicooSharing your troubles can give you perspective, help in managing stress, help you feel cared for, and relieve your burden. If your friend is comforting and offers advice, that’s a sign you have a true friend. (Here are some things you can do to be a great friend.)
jacoblundMuscles tighten during the course of the day, and when we feel stressed out, the process accelerates. Stretching loosens muscles and encourages deep breathing. Molly Fox, creative fitness director at the Equinox Fitness Center in New York City, says one of the greatest stress-relieving stretches is a yoga position called the child pose, which stretches the back muscles. On a rug or mat, kneel, sit back on your heels, then lean forward and put your forehead on the floor and your arms alongside your legs, palms up. Hold for one to three minutes. If you have a little more time to stretch, try our 10-minute yoga workout.
Say a little prayer
francescochOrganized religion may be losing members, but prayer is more popular than ever. Studies show that compared with those who profess no faith, religious and spiritual people are calmer and healthier.
Mikolette"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.)
pixelfitGoofing 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.)
PeopleImagesWhen 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.
Tiptoe through the tulips
AleksandarNakicTending your garden helps get you out of your head and lets you commune with nature, a known way of managing stress. If you're not a gardener, tend to a houseplant (or check out these beginner gardening tips to help you change that). Plants = growth = cycle of life, a nice reminder that stress, too, will pass.