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Stress management health centre

Top 10 quick and easy ways to relax

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

You can sometimes feel it coming on; your to-do-list looks like war and peace, the kids are late for school, the petrol gauge is on empty and to cap it all you've got a meeting with your boss... melt down is fast approaching and you're going to implode!

Hang on there. There's no need for that. What you need is a quick relaxation fix. Instead of going off on one, pick an on-the-spot tip from our experts to turn tension to calm.

1. Meditation

It's not as new-age as it sounds. No moonstones and patchouli oil required. In fact it's really easy and effective.

It's basically awareness; listening to your own breathing, looking at a view, or it can be whatever you like as long as you clear your mind of other thoughts and cares. You may find it helpful to repeat a mantra at the same time to make focus easier.

If you want something less free-form there are various types of meditation that you can learn from, Transcendental Meditation to Heart Rhythm Meditation. All have a different slant on awareness and relaxation.

Try it when you feel yourself getting stressed or as a preventative measure for 5 to 10 minutes a day.

2. Deep breathing

By slowing down your breathing and breathing from your diaphragm you can immediately relax yourself. When we are stressed we tend to take shallow breaths which don't give us enough oxygen.

Wellbeing coach Naomi Martell-Bundock says: "Stand up and breathe deeply into your tummy ten times. Imagine you are filling up a balloon as you breathe in through your nose, and deflating it as you breathe out through your mouth. It helps to put your hand gently over your tummy button and feel as your tummy pushes it out and then brings it back in as you breathe the air out."

3. Mindfulness

This is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. It's quite closely linked with meditation. The idea is to be mindful of something and appreciate it in that present moment and block everything else out.

It may be appreciating the colour of a flower or examining a piece of jewellery to see how it was made. Focusing on the present can reduce stress.

Linda Blair clinical psychologist and author of 'The Key To Calm' says you can practise mindfulness and relax in just 3 minutes.

"Turn off your screen, choose a common object like a pencil or a penny (not your phone) and begin breathing very slowly focusing on the object and describing it to yourself in as much detail as you can. To focus completely and fully on something in the present is the essence of mindfulness."

She says it only takes 30 long breaths or about 3 minutes and it'll make you feel very refreshed and ready to focus.

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