We have talked a lot about stress. We talked about the benefits of reducing stress, how to reduce stress, and what causes stress, and suggested you pay attention to your triggers for stress.

But what happens when you are stressed out and you need to de-stress immediately? Surely you can’t go for a jog while at work or practice a visualization exercise in rush hour traffic when you are running late.

Here are some tips to help you quickly de-stress. These are meant as in-the-moment responses to stress versus the previous examples which are meant to help with prevention and long-term stress management.

  • Take 10 deep abdominal breaths, inhaling and exhaling. Feel your breath through your entire body.

  • Count to 10, and then count backward from 10. This will shift your thinking away from the stressful event.

  • Get your body moving and change your physical environment if you can. If you’re at work, take a walk, even if it’s just to the restroom.

  • Redirect your thoughts to positive self-talk. Stop and practice finding 3 new things you’ve never noticed before around you or think of 3 things you’re grateful for.

  • Perform a brief body scan, feeling your stress and where you feel it most in your body. Acknowledge that it is there and attempt to let it go by pretending your breath is breathing into these areas and each exhale is pulling the stress out of these areas.

  • Focus on a part of your body that feels particularly relaxed or neutral. Can’t find anything? Try your pinky toe.

If you can effectively reduce your stress, then your relationship with yourself and with others will improve. Practicing these techniques is important to your success. The more you practice, the easier they become to master.

Also, you must be honest and accepting of yourself and situations. Being objective may decrease the impact of a stressful situation. Being honest with yourself may unearth the fact that you are avoiding trying to relax by making excuses when you are feeling too rushed. It is that much more important to take time to de-stress when you are feeling rushed.

When something stressful arises suddenly, practice exercises from the list above. Count, walk, or try another exercise to slow down your body.

Continue to work on the exercises, while eating well, and communicating assertively.