Here are three very powerful and very easy things I try to do on a regular basis to reduce stress and control my anxiety. These have worked for me and I know that these methods have even been scientifically proven – they reduce blood pressure, reduce stress hormones and increase the release of other chemicals in the body that create a feeling of wellness. I’ll write more about these scientific measures at a later date, though.

For now I just want to introduce you to three of my favorite methods for dealing with stress, anxiety and life, in general. They are all completely free and incredibly easy to learn (because you know them already). The key to make these methods work for you is practice. Like with everything else, practice makes perfect.

  1. Belly Breathing – A few deep breaths can instantly relieve stress. Take a slow, deep breath and try to imagine that you are inflating a balloon in your stomach. When “the balloon is full” hold your breath for approximately 4 seconds and then release your breath slowly. Repeat 10 times. Some people (even scholars) think this is the quickest, most efficient way to relax. It can even help with high blood pressure. Daily practice can reduce overall stress and anxiety. Try to begin and end each day by doing this.
  2. Smile – A smile is a very powerful thing – even when it is forced. The brain somehow tries to authenticate a forced smile so within a few seconds it has conjured up happy memories that turn that fake and forced smile into a genuine reflection of feeling good. Just try it out. And smiling is an instant relief for pain, anxiety and stress. Thinking about a loved one, a happy moment, a wonderful time. It brings a smile and makes it impossible to be bothered by stress.
  3. Slowing down – It is really important to learn how to slow down. Take the time to enjoy each moment. To focus on what you are doing right now. Look at something – a flower or running water, for instance – and focus on it completely. Direct all your attention towards it. Listen to it. Smell it. Feel it. Let your mind wander. Accept the world – at that moment – for what it is, with all its pain and all its pleasure. Embrace the moment and just feel calm. Don’t think about what you’ll have to do next or what is waiting for you. Just think about your point of focus. Try to notice the taste of your food, the next time you eat. Really focus on the taste and think about the texture, the flavor, the toughness, etc. Slow down. Relax. Enjoy this moment, for it too will pass.