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4 Tension Tamers

The kids are fighting, dinner's burning, and the cat just booted on the new rug -- again. Instead of sticking your head in the oven, take three deep breaths, concentrating only on the air moving in and out of your nose. Now try these step-by-step tension tamers from Fred L. Miller author of How to Calm Down Even If You're Absolutely, Totally Nuts.

Pop a Life Saver into your mouth. Focus on the fruity taste of the cherry, lime, orange, or pineapple flavor, and resist the temptation to chew. The longer you suck and concentrate on the flavor, the more calm and tranquil you'll start to feel.

Carry around something meaningful. Anything that reminds you of a peaceful time -- a pebble from your last vacation or a ticket from a favorite date night -- will do. Dig it out of your purse when you're upset to hark back to that moment of tranquillity.

Count backward from 15 to zero. (It takes more effort than counting forward.) On an exhale, silently say "fifteen." Inhale, then say "fourteen" on the exhale, continuing on down to zero. Now observe how irritating thoughts have left your head.

Recall the smell of your grandma's kitchen. Savor the scents of her fresh-baked pies, or bring to mind the perfume your mother wore when you were little. Remembering a fragrance you once loved can transport you back to those soothing times.

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