'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.