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5 quick tricks to reduce stress when you just can't rn

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You have a client meeting in 10 minutes and you’re stuck in traffic. Your car breaks down the week rent is due. You realize you have more items on your to-do list than any human could possibly accomplish. Sound familiar?

Stress is an unavoidable part of our modern, hectic lives. But what if there were simple techniques you could use to restore your calm stat whenever life starts to feel overwhelming? Mindset coach and yoga instructor Kate Hanley outlines 100 ways to do just that in her new book, Stress Less ($14; amazon.com). Whether it’s a simple stretch or a visualization exercise, each brief activity is designed to bring you back to your center in minutes. Here are five of our favorite tips from the book.

Take a “Noticing” Walk

At some point today, take yourself on a walk where your sole purpose is to see how many interesting, or weird, or beautiful things you can notice.

This isn’t about getting your 10,000 steps (although it will help you do that). It’s about learning how to observe what’s happening in any given moment, instead of getting distracted by, or hung up on, your thoughts.

Whenever you find yourself lost in a train of thought—and you will, because you’re human—come back to this question: What can I see when I allow myself to look?

Go to the Place That Brings You Peace

What’s the most relaxing place on Earth for you? Is it in front of a fire in a mountain lodge, or on a hammock near the ocean?

Getty Images/Matilda Delves

Related article: 9 easy ways to practice self-care this week

Close your eyes and imagine yourself there, wherever it may be. Really experience it—what can you see, smell, taste, and hear? How does your body feel when you’re there?

Because your brain can’t perceive a difference between real and imagined relaxation, you can enjoy a truly restorative mini-vacation even if you can’t hop a flight or take time off.

Five Little Things

Appreciation is a form of loving attention, and creates an uplifting state of mind that we don’t tend to spend much time in. Build your appreciation muscles by taking note of five small things—things you might not otherwise notice—that you appreciate.

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