You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat, each of these stress relieving tips can get you all chilled out in less than 15 minutes.


A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress, says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.

Breathe deeply

Take a 5 minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says.

Be present

Slow down. Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behaviour with awareness. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food. When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.

Reach out

Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others – preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.

Tune in to your body

Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels. Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything. Imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.


Place a warm hear wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck and upper chest and back muscles. Remove the wrap and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away the tension

Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot and apply pressure.

Laugh out loud

A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally, it lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boost brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favourite sitcom or video, reading the comics or chatting with someone who makes you smile.

Crank up the tunes

Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds, and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments or singers in the piece. You can also blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes, or singing at the top of your lungs.

Get moving

You don’t have to fun in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.

Be grateful

Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life. Being grateful for your blessings cancels our negative thoughts and worries, says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.

Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new tasks at work or a new hobby. When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.

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