6 Microsteps to Help You De-Stress in Seconds

These science-backed tips can help you address your stress and connect to your inner calm in less than a minute.

Tom Merton // Getty Images
Tom Merton // Getty Images

Did you know that we can course-correct from stress in as little as 60 to 90 seconds? That’s one of Arianna Huffington’s favorite bits of science. The idea that you can lower your stress levels quickly is also behind some of our favorite stress-relieving Microsteps. Try these throughout your day to keep cumulative stress at bay:

During a stressful moment, close your eyes and think of a person, place, or activity that brings you calm. 

In a stressful moment, visualizing a joy trigger can help reactivate the reward centers in your brain.

When you’re struggling with your work, think of a person or population who might benefit from it.

You’ll be better able to move through momentary stress and see the meaning of what you’re doing.

If you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern or feeling particularly stressed, turn your focus to the rising and falling of your breath. 

Even a few seconds of conscious breathing will help you reduce stress and increase calm and focus.

Take a “tech time out” to improve your focus and reduce stress. 

Set aside time to step away from social media and email so you can truly connect with yourself and your loved ones.

Keep a nightly gratitude journal. 

Writing down things you’re grateful for builds a gratitude practice, which helps reduce stress.

At the end of each day, recall one moment that caused you stress and reframe it. 

Practicing reframing at the end of each day will strengthen your ability to put your stress in perspective and reframe in the moment.

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