Learning to Downshift: How I Stopped Stressing and Found Happy
4 Ways to Hit the Brakes
- Stop for a five-minute time-out every two hours. No matter how nuts your day is, get up from your desk, go out into the sun and fresh air, and reengage your senses. In the amount of time it takes to go to the vending machine, you can reconnect with nature.
- Is your heart racing with anxiety before a big meeting? Draw in five slow, deep breaths. Pay attention to your inhale and exhale on each one -- it will help refocus your mind on the present and ease nervousness.
- Take a few minutes when you wake up to write down whatever spills out of your brain. Dump mental clutter onto a (recycled) page and then rip it up in a symbolic gesture of mental housekeeping.
- Change the scenery. Why do so many of us remain in an environment we know is toxic? Exit the room where an angry coworker is holding court. Leave your kids for a minute and stand outside on the porch if the blaring cartoons are driving you nuts. Remove yourself, even temporarily, from direct contact with stress, and enjoy the instant calm.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2008.
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