3 Steps to Immediately Reduce Stress

Paralyzing stress. It happens to all of us.

I’ve been there. Sitting at my desk with emails flooding my inbox, “to-do” tasks piling up, and the time to complete all I’ve set out to accomplish rapidly dwindling away.

Have you been here too? Feeling overwhelmed? Needing to crank it into high gear only to you find that you’re dawdling?

Gosh, have I been there. Completing even the simplest task somehow becomes a monumental feat.

We know we’re doing things but we’re not really getting anything done (or done well). We’ve fallen into productivity paralysis. This, of course, only stresses us out more.

Fortunately for you (and me!), there are simple, immediate actions you can take to reduce your stress-induced mind-coma and even boost productivity, clarity, and mood. It has worked for me countless times!

But just for a moment you’ll have to stop working. (Gasp!)

Here are 3 FAST and SIMPLE tools you can implement RIGHT NOW to reduce stress, restore clarity, and get back in action:

  1. STOP what you’re doing.
    – Pay attention to how you feel physically, mentally & emotionally.
    – Check in body sensations, thought patterns, and emotions.
    – You may discover that you’re hungry, thirsty, or sick of sitting. Perhaps you’ve been dwelling on an earlier conversation or event that has you mentally distracted. Maybe you’ve experienced a loss and your heart is broken.
    – Cultivating awareness creates an opportunity to understand yourself better and potentially shift that stagnant or negative energy contributing to your current stress.
  2. BREATHE deeper than you are currently.
    – Most likely you’ve been breathing quick, shallow breaths in the upper chest perpetuating the stress response we know as “fight or flight.”
    – By expanding the breath slowly into the belly the “rest & digest” response is stimulated, signaling the mind and body to calm down.
    – Deep, intentional breathing also creates clarity in the mind, oxygenates the brain and gives you a moment to regain focus.
  3. SMILE. That’s it.
    – Allow the corners of your mouth to turn upward.
    – Feel your lips widen and your cheeks fill.
    – Smile so big that your eyes crinkle and you almost feel like laughing. I usually do end up giggling!
    – Think of someone you love and feel the peace that you have cultivated by taking a few minutes out of your hectic day to reclaim a positive state of mind.

See, that wasn’t so hard. And I bet you feel lighter, clearer, even energized to continue with your day. I know I do!

Now, let’s discern what needs to be done, focus, and follow through.

– Missi