27 ways to relax in less than five minutes

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It’s no secret that many of us are overworked, overstressed and could use a little more relaxation in our daily lives. (Did you know that 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did five years ago? Or that 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related illnesses?) While the best ways to relax probably include hour-long massages or vacations, finding that kind of time or money can be difficult. Luckily, you can turn around a stressed-out day in as little as five minutes with these simple ways to relax.

Whether herbal or green, the simple act of preparing a cup of tea can remind you to pause for a moment and relax. The properties in chamomile tea act as a natural nerve tonic and green tea has been clinically proven to reduce stress. A stick of gum can be a surprising stress reliever. In just a few minutes, cortisol levels drop, lowering your anxiety. It’s also a great way to nix stress-related food cravings.

Cuddle up to your furry friend, One of the most adorable ways to relax might just be cozying up to Fido. Petting your cat or dog can lower your blood pressure and raise levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin in your body. Grab some coconut oil or lightly scented lotion and take time to release the tension in your hands. To release stress from the shoulders, neck and scalp, focus on kneading the area under the base of the thumb.

Take a five-minute stretch break to loosen muscles and rid your body of tension. Try these easy office yoga poses to instantly decompress. Taking time to write down your worries, fears or dreams can help declutter your subconscious mind, allowing you to be fully in the present.

When you feel stress creeping up, try counting backwards from 10, focusing on your breath at each number. Simply distracting your brain with a simple task like this is a great way to interrupt the cycle of stressing about future events. In particular, dark chocolate regulates cortisol (the stress hormone) and can stabilize your metabolism so you don’t experience hunger-related mood swings or stress. READ MORE…

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