By now, you’ve probably heard all about the negative effects of stress. From high blood pressure to premature aging, it’s pretty apparent that stress is not good for you. But, these days, our everyday pace is more frenetic than ever.
Just because being stressed has become the norm doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to combat it. The negative effects of chronic stress are no joke. We’re talking taxing your immune system, greater risk of heart disease, and weight gain.
When things start to get crazy, it’s easy for your stress level to go from zero to sixty in minutes. Thankfully, there are quick and easy ways to stop that train and restore a feeling of calm and clarity. Taking some time–even five minutes–to calm down can drastically decrease your stress level, increase your productivity and improve your overall wellbeing.
Here are five tricks to help you de-stress in 5–10 minutes:
Take a walk
While it doesn’t sound groundbreaking, taking a quick walk—whether it’s around the office, outside, or, if you’re really slammed, just to the bathroom—is a great way to get some perspective and put your stress on hold. During your stroll, rid your mind of negative thoughts and focus on being present in the moment.
It would be ideal if you could take an hour-long yoga break, but it’s not exactly realistic. Instead, get up from your desk and do some quick stretches. Touch your toes, roll your shoulders back slowly and breathe. Within minutes, you’ll be feeling calm, less tense, and focused.
Clean up your desk
If post-its, crumbs, and half-full coffee mugs have taken over your space, use your quick break to reorganize. A clean, tidy desk will put your mind at ease and help you feel refreshed.
People often think this age-old practice is just for yoga instructors and hippies, but mindfulness meditation is actually a highly effective stress reliever. For as little as three minutes, bring present-moment awareness to your thoughts, your body and your breath and watch your stress level fall.
Call or text a friend
Even if it’s just a quick chat or text conversation, support from your network has been shown to decrease stress. Just make sure you pick a funny friend.
If you can’t actually leave your desk, close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere calming. Maybe it’s a remote beach or maybe it’s your couch and a bottle of wine. Whatever your happy place is, taking a few minutes to actively picture it in your mind will have a calming effect and put you in the right mindset to push through the day.
What do you do to relax throughout the day?
Ask Soledad O’Brien, CEO at Starfish Media Group, what her favorite way to relax is!