40 ways to relax in 5 minutes or less

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There are 364 new emails in the inbox, those new pants are covered in scalding coffee, and the next conference call starts in exactly five minutes. In other words, it’s the perfect time to relax. When we’re feeling frazzled, a weekend at a beach resort might be just the thing to calm our nerves. But there isn’t always time for tanning, let alone sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom. Luckily we’ve rounded up 40 ways to relax and relieve stress in just five minutes or less. From sipping tea to trying some pranayama breathing, all these tactics can create calm during tough times.

Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger . Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip. Just a square (about 1.4 ounces) of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism

Replace stress with sweetness and try a spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety. Take a tropical vacation without leaving the desk chair. Use a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango, which packs a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels . Don’t fret about the juice dripping down your chin—the stress relief is worth the mess.

Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavor, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a candy bar when we’re stressed—one study found stressed adults craved crunchy and salty snacks more than usual. But that salty crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary—a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.

No need to go on a retreat to the mountains—five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear. READ MORE…

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