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De-Stress Test: Which Methods Really Work

10 stay-calm strategies for harried people

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  • 2. Stretch Your Arms to the Sky

    Why It's Supposed to Work: If your job requires you to sit all day, standing up, stretching your arms and spreading your fingers toward the ceiling can fill your body with mood-boosting endorphins, making you feel happy and free, says Dr. Arvon. To get the most out of this de-stressor, Jane Ehrman, a behavioral health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, suggests taking a full breath as you reach up and slowly exhaling as you bring your arms down.

    Real Result: Success! Wadley rarely takes breaks from her desk job, so her hands get knotted up from typing. "I never think about them carrying stress, but spreading my fingers felt good." Both Wadley and Romero found repeating the technique and concentrating while they did it boost the effect.

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    3. Hug Your Body

    Why It's Supposed to Work: As soon as you wake up, this movement can release tension in your lower back, says Ehrman. While you're sitting at work, lift your knees up until your feet are on the seat and tuck your chin in while breathing slowly; the exercise will increase oxygen and blood flow throughout your body.

    Real Result: Romero and Wadley loved this stress buster as a morning refresher. "After hours of sleep, back muscles can get stiff. This stretch loosened them up quickly," says Romero. As an office workout, though, this de-stressor fell short. Rachel Rockwell, 31, of Tulsa, OK, found it difficult to elevate her feet up to her seat, while Wadley's hardwood floors and rolling chair created a tricky situation.

De-Stress Test: Which Methods Really Work
10 stay-calm strategies for harried people
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