Sometimes we don’t just need stress relief, but fast and easy relief. Here are ten simple solutions. Try them out, and keep in mind which ones work best for you, so you can use them regularly.

1. Deep breathing. Try six or seven deep breaths through your nose, with your eyes closed. Pay attention only to your breathing while doing this. This is “mini-meditation,” and possibly one of the most effective of these stress relief techniques.

2. Interrupt you normal routines. Talk to the crazy lady in the park, or eat your lunch outside. Doing anything that breaks you out of your habitual patterns can often relieve stress.

3. Give someone a hug. Of course, giving a hug means getting one, and as long as it’s from somebody you don’t mind hugging, this can immediately reduce your level of stress.

4. Watch your mind. Notice mental irritants lurking just below the surface and resolve them. Make the call that’s on your mind, put things on a list so you can drop them, and generally let go of non-essential thoughts. Practice this mindfulness exercise, and it may become one of your favorite stress relief techniques.

5. Take a hot shower. This relaxes your muscles, and any break from more stressful activities can help too. Some find that an alternating hot and cold shower is even more relaxing, but be careful with this one if you have a weak heart..

6. Put on some relaxing music. Have your favorite relaxation CDs in the car, in your office, or wherever you’ll need them most.

7. Laugh at something. Experience shows that this helps you relax, right? Find the person who knows all the best jokes, or look for something funny in front of you.

8. Take a walk. Walking is one of the best stress relief techniques if you have at least ten minutes. It is even better if you can find a pretty place to walk.

9. Get out of the room for a while. Sometimes the things in the room or related to the room are triggering your stressful thoughts. Try getting out for a little while.

10. Have a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile seems to have a calming effect on the nerves, although any hot tea without caffeine may help relieve stress.

Of course, it might be nice if you can change yourself, so you’re naturally more relaxed all of the time. That may be possible, but what if the thought of the work involved just creates more anxiety? Then you might have to take it slow. Why not start with one or two of the fast and easy stress relief techniques above?

Steve Gillman