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Fifteen Simple Strategies for Kicking Stress

Creating a stress survival plan will help you calm down when anxiety strikes. We spoke to three experts to help you design yours.

13. Take a Power Nap: If you can’t log a full eight hours at night, squeeze in a super short midday snooze. “If you can take a power nap for 5–20 minutes, it will not only restore energy but also lower your stress levels in a very short period of time,” Posen says.

14. Make up a Mantra: So often, causes of stress are trivial and short-lived, and all you need to feel better are a few reassuring words. Posen suggests common ones like, “These things happen,” or “This won’t matter tomorrow.”

15. Take a Deep Breath: Next time you’re stressed, note your breathing. Most likely, your breaths are short and shallow. But according to Chapman, “deep, controlled, and slowed breathing from the diaphragm combats many of the physiological symptoms that we experience when stressed.” While you might not be able to control what is stressing you out, you can control your breathing, and feeling in control of just one thing will make you feel immensely better. Either sit or lay comfortably, close your eyes, deeply inhale through your nose, and count “1.” Then exhale and think the word “relax.” Continue this up to 10. “I would suggest doing this two to three times a day, especially during stressful periods,” says Chapman.  

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