Stress Relief in 2.7 Minutes

Yes, It’s possible to relax in three minutes or less.

A study from the State University of new York at Buffalo shows these simple methods can ease tension (almost) instantly:
Breathe Deeply. In the study, conducted by Bong Hee Sung, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, people took a test that increased their stress levels. Afterward, they followed a tape of breathing exercises. The result: Blood pressure was lowered in 2.7 minutes!
Go Classical. After doing a second stress-elevating task, the group listened to classical music. In 2.9 minutes, blood pressure was back to normal.
Tune in to Nature. The third part of the experiment involved a stress-inducing test, followed by a tape of nature sounds, such as waves rolling and rain falling. After three minutes, people were calm. Sung notes that when the stressful task was not followed by any treatment, blood pressure remained elevated about 25 percent longer than it did after relaxation therapy.

Nature sounds and classical tunes are as close as your nearest CD player. But what’s the key to deep breathing? Nothing that you can’t try right now. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your stomach and chest with air. Hold the air inside for three counts. Slowly exhale – firmly, but not abruptly – through your mouth. Repeat until you feel calm and focused.

Sung says, “I’ve had people calling who want a copy of the ‘magical breathing tape’. I tell them, ‘It’s not magic. You don’t need tapes. You just need to stay focused on your breathing.’ “

— Julia Savacool