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Free Guide to Remaining Calm During Stressful Times from Harvard Medical School
Date:12/9/2008

for soothing anxiety and worry. Whether you have one minute or half an hour, The Harvard Medical School Portable Guide to Stress Relief will teach you ways to manage the strains of your day. It describes 10 common stressors and how to defuse their impact and offers information on how to use meditation to lower stress levels. You will also find step-by-step instructions for "mini-relaxation" routines, organized according to how much free time you have available.

To begin, try the sample mini-relaxations that follow:

De-stressing when you've got 1 minute
Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three.

Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.

Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and quietly repeat to yourself "I am" as you breathe in and "at peace" as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.

When you've got 2 minutes
Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying "10" to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say "nine," and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.

Also in this guide:

  • Using a gratitude journal to turn your focus away from negative thoughts and feelings
  • Learning to straighten out cognitive distortions
  • Helping your children--or yourself--reduce
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Free Guide to Remaining Calm During Stressful Times from Harvard Medical School
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