Laughing helps! Laughter releases pressure. Empowers you to dare to be a bit bolder. Encourages a bit of the relaxation response that opens your way to stress release. Get more laughter by alerting yourself to your breath.

Take a slow, deep breath in. Hold it a moment, then breathe out slowly.

Now do it again! Take a slow, deep breath in while paying attention to what feels stressful right now. What’s your top physical stress signal? Is it perhaps a tightness in your jaw, your shoulders, your back? Observe.

Once you’ve got that breath filling your lungs, hold onto it for a moment, then breathe out slowly.

Simply noticing your body for this short moment gives you the initial feedback you need to begin to take action for stress release. Because observing what’s stressful now in the present moment allows you to figure out how to calm yourself.

Doing this breathing exercise will also open you to look for ways to laugh today. Laughter can release you from stress and induce the relaxation response that’s so critical for good health. Pay attention to when you laugh today, and when you do, allow yourself to let the laughter go deeper, longer, a wee bit stronger. Much like you did right here and now with this breathing exercise.

Stress changes over time. For example, learning new things can be stressful. That’s part of why students of all ages feel stress. Yet your feelings about what’s going on in your life also change from day to day. What stresses you one day may simply energize you another day. That’s one reason why it’s useful to pay attention to what feels stressful now. It’s basically a fact gathering opportunity in the new situation of your response to what’s happening today.

Observing what feels stressful today lets you find a way to relax and let go of stress. You know it when you see it if you’re looking for what’s stressing you today, right? In allowing yourself a moment to see what’s your top stress, you recognize what you need to do to let it go a bit in that moment.

Finding a way to release yourself from stress can be as simple as taking a few moments break for a breathing exercise. Taking a few moments to breathe slowly and deeply gives you a moment of separation from the stress you’ve identified.

With practice over time, that moment away, paying attention to your breath, can be all you need to figure out what you need to add in — or stop doing! — today to reduce and release stress just a little bit more. For example, you may realize you need to add in a brief walk, or that you’ve simply got to drop out one activity you planned to do today.

Once you’ve identified what it’s going to take to reduce stress now, taking action on that gives you a bigger measure of hope. Hope changes your outlook. And seeing yourself taking care of you tends to release the deeper stress and put you in a relaxed state.

Allow yourself to enjoy the present moment. Notice what is good.

Play a little bit! Soothe yourself, even if it’s as simple as eating a healthy snack, stretching a moment, or going for a brief walk.

You’ll learn to do what you need to do to release stresses in your life by paying attention. Because you’ll develop a habit of taking action. Because over time, you’ll build up your own story of what works for you. Because you’ll have the opportunity to remember what worked for you before.

You’ll have hope for a better future. Your hope will energize you. Instead of worry sticking around and getting to you, you’ll learn to notice your fears and release them. You’ll let go. You’ll do it with simple things such as breathing deeply and slowly, making time for exercise, smiles and laughter.

Figure out what actions work for you. What is your hunch, right now, of small ways you can use to let go of your worry? Is there a small action that you can take today that will make tomorrow less stressful? Might there be a way to prepare yourself for tomorrow that will reduce the stress of getting through the day?

Choose one small thing — and do it today.

Begin paying attention to what feels stressful now, in the present moment. By building a habit of paying attention to one breath as a way of releasing stress, you’ll be giving yourself the feedback you need to figure out what to do next. As you do, look for laughter! Allow yourself to wallow in laughter a bit whenever you start laughing naturally. You’ll find laughing becomes a habit that releases stress.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Ann Leighton inspires you to encourage yourself to keep moving forward with what matters to you.

While you're here, do you want to learn more about this topic? If so, here's another angle on stress management.

By the way, here's a YouTube to bust stress with a mindset for enthusiastic growth.