ON-THE-SPOT Stress Reduction

Here are some of our experts’ favorite methods of de-stressing on the fly:

Walk It Off
“Walking is wonderful,” says Roberta Lee. “It improves your circulation, keeps your joints lubricated and builds stamina. Oh, and it’s a lightning-fast way to reduce stress.”

Exhale Longer
“Exhaling activates the parasympathetic wing of the nervous system, which is the natural antidote to the sympathetic fight-or-flight reaction wing,” says Rick Hanson. “The heart slows down a little when we exhale. Try three or more breaths in which the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation.”

Holly Lucille says, “One of the things that I recommend to people in my practice is something called a ‘power pause.’ Before you turn on that stress-generating mobile device, or make that call, or pull whatever your stress trigger is, take a deep breath and make a really intentional pause.”

Tune Into Your Body
Engage your senses. “Particularly touch and smell,” Henry Emmons says. “A little gentle massage or some aromatherapy work very quickly for many people.”

Barbara Fredrickson purposely tries to “notice signs of good fortune [in the people I see around me]. Is this person smiling? I picture myself cheering her on or giving him an imaginary high-five. I’m often struck with how readily this shift in perspective will put a smile on my face and awaken my feelings of connection with others.”