There are numerous “immediate need” techniques that you can do any time and any place you are stressed. These techniques require no more than a minute or two of time to complete.

Learning to be aware of when you are stressed is a major key to relaxation since the first step to change is recognizing your “stress signature” or noticing where your body stores your stress. Do your shoulders “brace” or rise up when you are stressed? Does your stomach tighten? Do you clench your teeth? Does your back or neck ache? Your body is always showing you where you store stress, and paying attention to its cues is important for learning to change the body’s habitual reactions to stress.

I would recommend the following techniques when there is no time to relax:

When you are feeling stressed, s – l – o – w down your breath. In fact right now notice what happens when you start to consciously slow down your breathing rate. We know that the breath serves as the conductor of the body’s internal processes. In fact, a relationship between heart rate and breath has been found, which is called “entrainment” or the matching of rhythms. When you slow down your breathing rate, you also slow down your heart rate and signal to the body that you are ready to relax. I would recommend taking slow, deep, easy breathes for a few minutes and you will start to feel yourself relaxing more and more with each deep breath you take. Now what’s interesting about this simple technique of slow breathing is that you can do it when you are in a task. Your eyes can remain open, even when doing this breathing technique so you can still get your work done but internally, relaxing yourself. This is a good way for individuals who do not have a moment to close their eyes and do a stress management technique to relax even while doing their work chores.

Another exercise I like for individuals need a quick stress reliever and who worry a lot is “stop, breath, reflect and choose.” This technique would be considered a cognitive technique. When you become aware that you are thinking in a worrisome way, or fearing something, your body literally experiences it as if it were in the present. The body cannot differentiate between imagination and reality, in fact recent research points to the fact that the same regions in the brain “light up” or are triggered when something is visualized or seen in reality. When you feel yourself getting stressed, internally say: STOP, then simultaneously take a deep breath in. This triggers the body’s natural relaxation response. Then Reflect – bring in your mind – focus on what you could be thinking about that would cause you to have the least amount of stress and then Choose your new focus. This is a highly effective “instant” technique for moments when you are stressed and have no idea what to do. We know that individuals who practice some stress management technique develop a resistance to stress. So whether you practice “Stop, Breathe, Reflect and Choose” or breathing slowly and deeply during your day and when you are feeling tense, by practicing these techniques, you will be teaching your body how to relax, even during stressful situations.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Lawrence Friedman, author, professional speaker/trainer and psychotherapist, has provided his keynote presentations, training programs and workshops for the past twenty years to Fortune 100 and 500 corporations, universities, and health care organizations, throughout the United States and Europe.

He has appeared on national and international television shows, including the year long Discovery Health Channel program, “Class of ‘75”, “The Morning Show on Today” (NBC), NY One News, “Fox News” and “E Television”, “The Alive and Wellness Show” (CNBC), along with television shows on Fuji and Sankei Television programs in Japan. He has also appeared on WCBS-AM radio on numerous occasions.

Robert has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Parenting Magazine, The Washington Times, Alternative Medicine Magazine, Newsday and many others. Mr. Friedman is the “Stresswise” columnist in Healthwise Magazine for the past five years. He is also the Director of Corporate Stress Management Training at Queens College of CUNY in New York.

He is the author of the book, The Healing Power of the Drum -- A Psychotherapist Explores the Healing Power of Rhythm, released September of 2000. This groundbreaking book was the first book to explore the relationship of rhythm to health. In addition, Healthy Learning, Inc. has just released a series of five DVDs on Managing Stress, including “Being the Best You Can Be – Staying Motivated”, “Journey Into Relaxation” and “Humor and Optimism as Tools for Good Health.”.

Robert has been commissioned by the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, and Queens College to create and facilitate numerous comprehensive workshops and seminars on Stress Management, Interpersonal Communications, Assertiveness Training Skills, Customer Service Skills and Public Speaking skills to various corporations connected to those organizations, including Schering Plough Corporation and Carnegie Foundation. Mr. Friedman is the developer and Director of the Stress Management Corporate Training certification program for Queens College of CUNY.

He has offered keynote presentations to such corporations as Accenture Corporation, American Express, BBDO International, Chase Manhattan Bank, CMP Media, Cornell Medical Center, Comedy Central, Creamer, Dickson, Basford, First Boston Corporation, Forbes, HBO, Hyatt Hotels, Inc., Hoffman-LaRoche, Pitney Bowes, Schering Plough Corporation, Saatchi & Saatchi, Saint Vincent’s Medical Center, Standard & Poors, Viacom and Xerox Corporation, among many others.

He has also provided his keynote addresses and workshops to such health care institutions as Ambulatory Care Center of New Jersey, Clara Maass Medical Center, Holliswood Hospital, Irvington General Hospital, Kimball Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, New York Hospital, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Saint Vincents Hospital, Union Hospital, West Hudson Hospital for the past five years.

He is an active member of the National Speaker’s Association.