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More of the Tricks You Use to Alleviate Stress

Real Simple readers reveal their methods.

BubblesJoseph de Leo

Just Breathe

I go outside, day or night, and look at the sky. It is instantly calming to watch the clouds or the starry sky, even for five minutes. It’s even better to take my son and share a Popsicle. It is impossible to be stressed with a Popsicle.
Jody Kaulukukui
Kailua, Hawaii
Some time ago, I was getting worked up about taking an exam. Whenever I knew I was about to lose it, I’d put on my iPod and walk. Well, I found it so relaxing that I’ve now been going for walks four days a week for almost two years. Not only am I de-stressed but I’ve also dropped a few pounds! Unfortunately, though, I didn’t pass that exam.
Lulu Mariquit
Staten Island, New York
As simple as it sounds, I just breathe. Sometimes a simple inhale for four counts and exhale for eight can turn my day around and prevent a terse response, an argument, or a snippy comment.
Emma Balter
Monroe, Connecticut
To get through a stressful day or situation, I take a moment to visualize myself at home relaxing with my husband. I tell myself, “It’s just another day, and before I know it, it will be over and I will be home with people I love.” It always relaxes me and gets me through the rough road ahead.
Makenzie Godfrey
Waterbury, Vermont
I read a good book. I escape to someone else’s world for a while, and when it is time for me to come back, I feel like new.
Kimberly Gibbs
Ocean, New Jersey
Throwing the ball with our three Border collies. Their eagerness and playfulness is the fastest and best way to take the edge off of a bad day.
Kelsee Link
Williamstown, Kentucky
Laugh. I have found that if something can make me laugh when I am at my most agitated, it completely calms my chaotic nerves.
Nikki Iimbimbo
San Antonio, Texas
I write about it. Getting the stress out of my head and onto paper doesn’t eliminate the problem, but it does help me regroup and see things differently.
Melanie Heimburg
Folsom, California
As a general rule, I put on my favorite pair of running shoes and pound the pavement for a few miles (more if necessary); come home and take a long, hot bubble bath; and remind myself that if I’m freaking out, it’s because my focus is on the wrong things and I need to reevaluate my priorities.
Patty Gilliland
Ponca City, Oklahoma
There’s no trick to it. Just find the happiness in everyday moments: a laugh shared with a friend, the comfort of holding your child in your arms, and the nudges or purrs from your favorite furry friends. It’s not hard to find ways to alleviate stress. It’s only hard to remember to take the time to appreciate all the magical moments that surround us.
Sandi Pearlman
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Any anxiety-relieving technique I have includes cooking. I will bake something new for my family, search for healthy recipes, or plan a dinner event for my girlfriends. When I say I’m cooking, they all come over knowing I need to talk.
Tommy Dixon
Stone Mountain, Georgia
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