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Meditate Stress Away

Fight stress and pick up your spirits with these surefire mood boosters

Our world's a pretty crazy place lately. Instead of letting all the negativity and frustration of daily life get you down, experts say, you should set aside time to reflect. But daydreaming while you fast-forward through commercials doesn't count. We're talking quality reflection — the kind you get from meditation. You don't have to sit cross-legged in a mass of pillows, either. "Even if you're just looking for a little boost in your mood, meditation can help you do it," says Bruce Frantzis, author of The Chi Revolution: Harness the Healing Power of Your Life Force. His suggestions on how to get started:

FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING
Try to physically center yourself, taking long, slow, deep breaths and inhaling as much air as you can. "Breathe deep from your belly," says Frantzis, "and relax your nerves while you do it."

RELEASE TIGHT MUSCLES
Concentrate on how your body is feeling, and wherever you sense tightness, try to alleviate it. "Relaxing your belly will automatically relax your brain," he says. This is when those pesky daily stresses start to disappear, and your perspective will naturally start to change.

THINK POSITIVELY
According to Frantzis, there are things that make people feel alive and things that make people feel dead. A "dead" example is any form of anxiety, while emotions like "love" and "hope" make you feel alive.

Once you've mastered all three steps, you should start to feel calmer. "When people meditate, they become less anxious and they just start letting go of things that aren't important," says Frantzis. "Releasing tension and becoming relaxed can do wonders. Remember, stress is just another word for tension."

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