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Spend 5 Minutes With These Stress-Reduction Techniques

By Vonnie Kennedy
 
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try 5 minutes of stress reduction techniques
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Do you get stressed about the simplest things and wonder how other people handle it when you can’t? It doesn’t matter how they handle it, it matters the way you handle it.

Try these simple 5-minute techniques and let the stress go.

1. Meditate by Square Breathing
Sometimes people avoid meditation because they think it should be done on a mat for at least an hour. Try square breathing for 5 minutes -- in the car, at work, in bed -- anywhere.

Focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and slowly count to 4 (to yourself). Hold your breath for 4 counts. Exhale through mouth for 4 counts. Rest for 4 and repeat. When your attention starts to wander, bring your mind back to your breathing.

2. Reframe your Thoughts
Do you often let your mind wander to negative thoughts? For instance, you see an ad on TV about Alzheimer’s disease and it reminds you that your mother had Alzheimer’s and why couldn’t have you done more for her?

Replace that thought with a positive image. A beautiful sunflower or a place that makes you happy. You can’t fix the past or predict the future. Let it go.

3. Stay in the present
"Mindfulness is the here-and-now approach to living that makes daily life richer and more meaningful," says Claire Michaels Wheeler, MD, PhD, author of 10 Simple Solutions to Stress. Staying in the "Now" is a great defense against anxiety and depression.

Instead of texting on your iPhone, focus on what’s happening around you such as a robin singing from a nearby tree, the drumbeat of the song playing on the radio, or the way your dog is smiling at you. Stay in the present and stress will be unable to creep into your mind.

4. Show Some Love
“Induce the relaxation response by cuddling your pet, giving an unexpected hug to a friend or family member, snuggling with your spouse, or talking to a friend about the good things in your lives,” says psychologist Deborah Rozman, PhD, co-author of Transforming Stress.

“When you do, you'll be reducing your stress levels.” Even complimenting a co-worker can help.

5. Try Self-Massage
Feeling tense?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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