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Three Things You Can Do Now To Reduce Stress

Do any of these situations look familiar to you?

As usual, the children slept in late this morning. You’ll be 20 minutes late for the meeting you’re supposed to lead by the time you get them to school and navigate rush-hour traffic.

Having landed the customer service position that you had been after, you initially considered yourself quite fortunate. However, you are beginning to question whether or not this was a good idea. The phones never stop ringing and all you hear are people complaining. You faked illness last week so you could take a day off…

Your presentation time is quickly approaching. Your boss is counting on you to help her look good in front of the visiting upper management. You obviously stayed up late to finish that Powerpoint. To what extent have you considered every conceivable query…

All of us deal with stress daily, but it intensifies when we’re at work. Stress in the workplace is an issue for over two-thirds of American workers.

We spend far too much time in the “fight or flight” state. Weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, and heart disease are just some of the ways our bodies are paying the price. In addition to decreasing our lifespan, these conditions also diminish its quality.

Though there are many methods for dealing with stress, none of them are useful when we are caught off guard. Quick, easy, and effective measures that can be taken anytime, anywhere are desperately needed. Try one of these techniques the next time stress sneaks up on you: deep breathing, mental imagery, or progressive relaxation.

Breathe Deeply

Deep breathing might be the best thing you can do to stay calm. We all breathe, but many of us do it wrong by breathing shallowly, quickly, and high in the chest. This way of breathing is tight, makes us feel more anxious, and feeds our body’s negative responses to stress.

Slow, deep breathing sets off a relaxation response that calms the body and brings the mind back into focus. It boosts the amount of oxygen in our blood, which helps us do better.

Do you have proper breathing techniques? Consider placing one hand on your chest and the other on the area of your stomach below your rib cage. Now, relax. Whose hand is moving? If the hand is on your chest, you’re not getting enough air.

The key is to move your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and count slowly to five. Instead of letting your chest grow, try to make your stomach grow. If you can’t get it to work, try doing it on your back. With some practice and time, you’ll be able to move into a deep breathing pattern without thinking about it.

Once you know how to deep breathe, you can do it whenever you want.