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Stress relievers

Relax on the run? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? But when tension makes muscles cramp, moods swing and blood pressure soar – just five minutes of quality down-time can make all the difference in the world! Next time your day goes haywire, these simple suggestions may bring a little inner calm into your life.

Stress management techniques:
Progressive muscle relaxation
Deep breathing
Meditation
Positive thinking and self-affirmation
Exercise
Nutrition
Talk to others

Progressive muscle relaxation
Relax tense muscles with a series of squeeze/release exercises. Tense one part of your body at a time, holding the muscles as tightly contracted as possible for a few seconds. Then slowly let the muscles relax and ease into a more comfortable position.
Start with your shoulders, then move to your neck, arms, legs and feet. Don't forget your face muscles – stress can cause facial tension that leads to tooth-grinding and headaches. You can do these stress-relieving exercises anywhere – at your desk, in a line-up, even in a traffic jam!

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Deep breathing
Deep breathing is a very effective form of relaxation. Take 10 deep breaths, counting slowly to five as you inhale and to six as you exhale. You'll feel the stress flow out of your body, as your breathing calms your mind.

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Meditation
Meditation relieves inner tension by keeping your mind focused on a soothing thought or image for a sustained period of time. After a little practice, you’ll find that five minutes of meditation is as refreshing as a short nap! Learn more about meditation techniques.

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Positive thinking and self-affirmation
You may find it useful to counteract negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Affirmations build confidence and help turn negative behaviour patterns into positive ones.
Affirmations are short, positive statements that you repeat to yourself every day. Examples of affirmations include:
oI can do this.
oI can achieve my goals.
oI am completely in control of my life.
oI learn from my mistakes. They add to my life experience.
oI am a good, valued person in my own right.
oPeople like me for myself.

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Exercise
Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. It stimulates the release of endorphins, a type of chemical compound that will naturally lift your spirits and improve your mood. Long-term exercise may also condition your body and mind to handle stress more effectively.
When you're feeling stressed, try to find time for a short, fast-paced walk or a quick trip to the gym. Any type of activity that gets your blood pumping will help relax you. Find out how you can make fitness and exercise a regular part of your day. And learn more about the healthy benefits of yoga.

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Nutrition
Stress can deplete your store of nutrients and weaken your immune system. When you're under stress, there are specific foods that will help you cope and foods that you should avoid.
To boost your stress-coping quotient, add vitamins B and C to your diet, avoid caffeine and alcohol and indulge in the soothing benefits of carbohydrate-rich foods.

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Talk to others
Problems seem worse when you keep them to yourself. Share your concerns with a trusted friend, colleague or relative. They may help you see your situation in a new light, which could be the first step toward a constructive solution. Maintaining a strong support network helps you deal more effectively with life's joys and sorrows.

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More bright ideas

If stress is causing tension in your back and neck, add some Deskercises to your work routine. It’s a great way to ease tired muscles!

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