According to Life Works latest Mental Health Index,
48% of employed adults say work is their primary source of stress, and it
impacts them in a variety of ways: 30% are unable to relax, 29% have difficulty
sleeping, and 24% have experienced emotional changes.

While it’s important to recognise chronic stress
and take steps to address those triggers, sometimes what you really need are
speedy ways to calm your racing heart and mind at the moment, so you can then
get on with the rest of your day.

We asked well-being experts for their top tips on
how to alleviate stress in just 10 minutes…

1. Mindful breathing

Taking a few minutes for a mindful breathing
exercise can be really helpful, says qualified coach Moyra Mackie, aka
TheJournal Coach.

“Find somewhere by yourself,” she suggests. “It can
be indoors or outdoors and it doesn’t have to even be quiet. Sit down, close
your eyes, put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and just
breathe, feeling your belly expand on your in-breath and contract on your out-breath.”

This might be enough to ‘reset’. But if not, try a
quick blast of journaling: “If your head still seems full, grab a notebook and
pen, set your phone’s timer for three minutes, and get those feelings out on
paper,” says Mackie. “Lean in and let go!”

2. Soothing words

“When we’re stressed, we can easily get carried
away in negative self-talk,” says Dr. Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist
and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.

To counteract your inner critic, try giving
yourself a mental pep talk with words of encouragement, she suggests: “Examples
might be, ‘I’ve got this’, ‘I’m here and I’m OK’, or ‘I’m strong – I can cope’.

“You can also try offering yourself compassion
through soothing touch,” adds Tournoi. “Try giving yourself a hug, gently
stroking your arm, or putting your hand on your heart while giving yourself
words of comfort.”

3. Deep breathing

A step further than mindful breathing, try closing
your eyes and slowing down your breath, says Jamie Clements, host of the Unwind
for Total Relaxation series on the MindLabs app.

“Reducing your breaths per minute with a strong
focus on using the diaphragm is one of the simplest ways to stimulate the vagus
nerve – this nerve holds all the keys when it comes to feeling relaxed,” he

Nick Mitchell, CEO and founder of Ultimate Performance, suggests the box breathing technique: “It’s as simple as breathing
in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, and then exhaling
for four seconds. Repeat those three steps for four minutes or so and you will
start to feel everything go – the tension and the stress you’re carrying.”

4. Focus on the present

If you find your mind wanders during breathing
exercises, another way to practice mindfulness is by focusing on your five
senses. “Sit down quietly and take some slow deep breaths,” says Dr. Deborah Lee
from Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy. “Now pay attention to each of your senses – sight,
hearing, smell, touch, and taste.”

Create a mental list of all the things you can
sense around you: “This will sharpen your awareness and bring you into the
present moment. Keep breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your
mouth,” Lee adds. “You will feel calmer and more tranquil.”

5. Have a hug

We often want to vent to our partner or a friend
about a stressful situation, but a reassuring hug could be more beneficial.

“Social support can help us to feel safer and therefore
calm us down when we’re stressed,” says Dr. Lynne Green, a chief clinical officer
at Kooth. “Even just a reassuring touch on the shoulder from someone we care
about causes our brains to release oxytocin, also known as ‘the love hormone’,
which helps to soothe the stress response, particularly helping to relax the

6. Go for a walk

Even a quick loop around the block or to your local
park is a good idea when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

“A regular 10-minute walk is hugely beneficial for
your mental well-being, as being outside can increase your mood, and sleep quality,
and reduce anxiety,” says Yves Benchimol, co-founder of WeWard. “It is
something that can also be a social activity if you go with friends, or it can
be a way to have quality alone time and switch off.”

7. Energy visualisation

Popular with younger
generations, crystal healing is an alternative technique
believed by fans to have healing qualities. When you’re feeling
overwhelmed, try this visualisation technique to ‘charge’
a crystal or token with energy.

“Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place where you
won’t be interrupted, and visualise a brightly coloured ball of light in your
hands,” says Flavia Kate Peters, leading elemental and ancient magic expert and
author of Reclaim Your Dark Goddess: The Alchemy Of Transformation.

“Place or push the light into a talisman such as a
token, piece of jewellery, or clear crystal while focusing on your
intentions. Imagine the light absorbing into the charm until you see in your
mind’s eye the charm radiating and pulsating with its newly charged magickal

8. Have an adult tantrum

“Ever notice how much better you feel after a
really good cry?” asks Zoe Clews, hypnotherapist, mental health specialist, and
founder of Zoe Clews & Associates. “It’s because it releases a stress

She suggests taking inspiration from toddlers – who
aren’t shy about expressing their anger: “One of my favourite techniques is
having an ‘adult tantrum’, lying on the floor and pounding your fists or just
shaking your body – save it for the privacy of your own home and not the

“It really does help discharge all the built-up
toxic stress,” says Clews. “We feel stressed when we feel ‘full’, so by
releasing it from the body in a safe and private way, you will experience
pretty instant relief.”

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