5 Common stressors you can kick to the curb

Sep 22, 2010 at 11:51 a.m. ET

What stresses you out? Getting stuck in traffic, waiting in long lines, and dealing with annoying coworkers and bosses can quickly raise your stress level. When everyday demands and unforeseen events become too much, it triggers your body's natural stress response. This "fight or flight" response sets off a chain of chemical reactions: adrenaline boosts your heart rate and raises your blood pressure.

Stressed woman at work

Normally, these functions return to normal after the threat of "danger" passes. If you're under constant stress, however, these processes don't stop; you become irritable and nervous, and eventually your physical well being is affected. Heart disease, digestive problems, insomnia, and depression can result from unrelenting stress.

Try the following easy to do, quick stress relievers the next time you're faced with one of these common stress inducing scenarios to ward off potential health risks.

General work stress

When work gets on your nerves, take a breathing break. Sneak away to your car or simply try a modified version of this method at your desk:

  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on your breathing by simply observing it. When outside thoughts occur, acknowledge them and let them go, returning your attention to your breathing.
  3. Continue for 5 to 10 minutes. Practice this at home when you can better ward off stress during the day.

Traffic jams

Instead of stressing yourself out further by listening to the traffic report over and over, keep a stash of relaxation CDs in your car. Nature sounds, or soothing classical music helps keep you calm until you can get moving again.

Waiting in line

Take advantage of down time while waiting in line at the DMV, supermarket, or Macy's at holiday time. Organize your wallet, update your address book, balance your checkbook (unless that adds stress!), or bring along crossword puzzles for times you anticipate waiting in line. Or keep toned by practicing isometric exercises (tighten stomach muscles and hold) or balance on one leg to improve coordination.

Demanding kids and/or husband

If you feel overwhelmed with demands from your kids and your husband, try to break away for a short walk or breathing session (see above) as a personal "time out." Exercise puts you in a better frame of mind and relaxes you. Or, if that's not possible, have them join you for a walk or invent a game you can all play together. Pop a funny movie into the DVD player to lighten the atmosphere.

Job interview jitters

Interviewing for a job can be stressful. Aside from being well-prepared, be sure to drink water a couple hours before the interview. The reason: even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, mental fogginess, and headaches, all of which create additional stress in an already stressful situation. And, if time allows, practice breathing exercises in your car before the interview.

Relieve stress through meditation

Stress relief mindfulness meditation exercise

Christopher Lee May takes you through the mindfulness meditation exercise. It is a simple but powerful exercise that any one can do. If your looking for a relaxing meditation this is perfect. Hope you enjoy.

More ways to reduce stress