Move your butt
Don’t worry, you don’t need to run a marathon to ease your nerves. If you're in for a particularly rough day at work, a walk around the block, or a 15-minute bodyweight circuit, can be a huge stress reliever. “Exercise is one of the best things you can do for stress reduction, as long as it doesn’t become obsessive,” LaRoche says. “Taking a walk, or another form of distraction can help your brain reorganize and feel better.”
Try a short meditation, even if you think it’s not your thing
We’re not asking you to sync up with Gandhi or anything, but a two-to-four-minute meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress. Don’t know the first thing about meditation? Hall recommends the following.
- Find a silent, comfortable place.
- Choose a simple short phrase or word that creates calm for you ("peace," "surrender," "let go," "Cheetos" -- whatever).
- Close your eyes and take deep, cleansing breaths, counting up to four.
- Inhale, repeating your favorite word or phrase.
Two minutes! That's like, no time at all on a cosmological scale!
Do something crazy
Don't take this one too literally, but it can help you regain a sense of perspective to do something a bit out of character. If you're so stressed that it feels like the world is ending -- maybe your computer crashed or your boss hates your most recent presentation -- say what’s bothering you out loud and jump, LaRoche recommends. Sure, you'll look like the guy who talks to himself in the park, but it's a small price to pay for ditching some of that stress.
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Erin Kelly is a writer, runner, and triathlete living in NYC who believes pizza is the best stress reliever out there. Follow her on Twitter at @erinkellysays.