4 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress and Improve Your Health

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The next time you feel stressed, here are four stress relief tips you can try.

  1. Breathe deeply. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can calm you and tame the physiologic stress response, Winner says. While building in a specific time to relax each day is a good idea, one advantage to deep breathing for stress relief is that you can do it anywhere — at your desk or in your (parked) car, for instance.Winner recommends that as you breathe out, you relax a specific muscle group. Start with the muscles in your jaw. On the next breath out, relax your shoulders. Move through the different areas of your body until you’re feeling calm.
  2. Focus on the moment. When you’re stressed, you’re probably living in the future or the past. You’re worried about what to do next or regretful about something you’ve already done. To get some stress relief, instead try focusing on what you’re doing right now.”You can calm yourself by bringing yourself back to the present moment,” says Winner. “If you’re walking, feel the sensation of your legs moving. If you’re eating, focus on the taste and the sensation of the food.”
  3. Reframe the situation. So you’re already running late and then find yourself stuck in terrible traffic. Getting worked up is a natural reaction, but it won’t help you at all. Rather than swearing and pounding the steering wheel, get a different perspective. Look at that time as an opportunity — a few minutes to yourself where you don’t have any other obligations.
  4. Keep your problems in perspective. It might seem Pollyannaish, but the next time you’re feeling stressed out, think about the things for which you’re grateful.
     “We get stressed when we focus so much on a specific problem that we lose perspective,” says Winner. “You need to remind yourself of the basic ways in which you’re lucky — that you have family and friends, that you can see, that you can walk.” It can be a surprisingly effective method for stress relief.
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