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Take a Break from Holiday Stress

'Tis the season to be jolly...and stressed. But you can relax in seconds, says Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D., chief of integrative medicine at New York City's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which offers mind-body services to patients and families. Her tips if you have:

10 seconds Take a deep breath, hold it in for a second, then let it out slowly. Repeat.

1 minute Using your right thumb, press firmly against the spot on your left wrist that's about an inch south of where your palm starts (where a watchband would go)—this is a major acupressure point for defusing stress. Hold for a minute. If you have another minute, repeat using your left thumb and right wrist.

5 minutes Head anywhere you can get some privacy, whether it's a bathroom or the backyard. Close your eyes, inhale and exhale slowly, and visualize yourself alone in a quiet, peaceful environment. Get creative—the more vivid your imagination, the calmer you'll feel!

15 minutes or longer Try to stimulate several senses: Put on some soothing music, get into a warm bath filled with fragrant salts or suds, breathe in the aromas, close your eyes and envision yourself on a balmy beach. Soak for as long as the outside world allows.

 

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