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How to Stress Less

Tension Trigger #4

The clock's ticking—you have only 20 minutes to drop off the dry cleaning before you have to pick up the kids from practice. Meanwhile, the guy at the cleaners is taking his sweet time with the customer in front of you.

How to Stress Less: Count your way to calm.
Deep breathing puts more oxygen into your bloodstream and lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. The next time you're fuming, notice your exhalations, counting through them from one to four, then repeat the process until you're feeling better. "Consciously choosing where to focus your attention instead of letting it be pulled around by events short-circuits your body's fight-or-flight stress response," says Nina Smiley, Ph.D., coauthor of The Three Minute Meditator (Mind's I Press).

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