5 Fast Stress Busters for Instant Relaxation

Self on 11.04.11
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Photo: Scarleth White/Creative Commons

It seems strange to think of relaxing quickly, but the reality is that many of us don't have hours to unwind. Many times we need relaxation the most when we have but a moment or two to steal for ourselves. These stress busters provide a quick fix to get you through until you can make time for more in depth pampering.

1. Breathe out.

exhale

Photo:voxefx/Creative Commons

Many people tend to hold their breath when they get stressed out. Others take short, shallow breaths. All of this can lead to muscle tension and fatigue. Take your hands off the keyboard, press your back into your chair, and take five breaths all the way in and all the way out. Close your eyes for deeper relaxation.

2. Wiggle your toes.

wiggle your toes

Photo: orangeacid/Creative Commons 

Moving your toes (and your fingers) helps you stretch your body and gets your blood pumping again. The secret is that the wiggle doesn't usually stop at your toes, but will probably lead to a full-on stretch, which rejuvenates your body and mind. Take off your shoes to really give yourself room to stretch and wiggle.

3. Smile at a stranger.

smile

Photo:Britt Reints

Smiling feels good. Smiling at a stranger feels even better. Go for a short walk to find a stranger whose day you can make and spend the rest of yours imagining what impact you might have had on that person. Bonus points if you can make a stranger smile back.

4. Give a friend a hug.

hug

Photo:maewe/Creative Commons

If you're lucky enough to find yourself with a friend nearby during a busy day, give them a squeeze to show your gratitude. Physical touch can be very relaxing, as can doing something nice for someone else. Taking the focus off of yourself for a moment is a good way to quickly improve your own mood.

5. Scream at the top of your lungs, "what's going on?"

sing

Photo:Per Ola Wiberg/Creative Commons

OK, fine, you don't have to be a fan of 4 Non Blondes - but you can give yourself permission to sing your favorite song out loud. You might feel ridiculous at first, but you'll also feel happier before the last verse is done. Don't feel like singing in your cubicle is appropriate? Head down to your car at lunch for a quick duet with your radio.

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