Because deep, calming breaths get boring...

Posted by Autumn

I’m terrible at relaxation techniques. I’m more of a type A, get-things-done, move-at-the-speed-of-stress, I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead kinda person. So when someone tells me—a physician, for example—that I’m too stressed and need to calm down, I usually roll my eyes and keep on rolling my stress ball in front of me.

Then I read an article that said eating sushi could help reduce stress in your life. Now that’s a relaxation technique I can do, I thought. I researched a couple of other ways to tone down my daily stress, all of which are simple enough that just about anyone can do them.

Doodle. Working art into your life can help you process emotions, express yourself, relieve stress, and leave you with something to frame, or at least hang on the fridge. You don’t have to be Picasso, but you should hang your favorites on your fridge or desk anyway.

Daydream. Step outside the cube farm and stare up at the clouds for a few minutes. Not the sun--that hurts, the clouds. Daydreaming reduces stress, promotes inner peace, and can even help you visualize solutions to problems without even really thinking about them. Daydreaming can easily be part of anyone’s bag of stress management tricks.

Reduce caffeine intake. I know, I know. Caffeine is awesome. It’s like the dilithium crystals of Starship You. But reducing your caffeine intake really helps drain your Anger Tank. If your throwing back three or four grandes a day, or a soda with every meal, you may feel your mood soar and plummet. This is caffeine addiction, and it’s incredibly stressful. The alternative: Drink green tea instead. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, so it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle choice. If you have time, sit somewhere quiet and sip your tea—the little time-out will calm you as much as the drink.

Eat one of these healthy stress-fighting foods: sushi, cantaloupe, blueberries, almonds or broccoli. All have anti-anxiety or stress-reducing properties. And they’re yummy!

Take a nap. Curling up in a comfortable chair or even lying your head down on your desk for a quick snooze brings relaxation as well as increased productivity and health benefits. It might not fit every lifestyle, but if you can find a way, working a nap into your schedule really pays off. Your inner child will thank you.

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