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Five Quick Ways To Instantly De-Stress

Don't worry, there's not a stress ball in sight. 

15/08/2016 6:10 AM AEST | Updated August 15, 2016 06:11

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It's a busy world we live in, and between deadlines and family commitments and trying to have a decent social life, it can be all too easy to find yourself stretched too thin.

While most of us know a yoga class, a good meditation session or a massage can do wonders in helping us to de-stress, the truth of the matter is it's not always possible to find the time... as much as we promise ourselves we'll definitely do it tomorrow.

Sound familiar? Fear not. The Huffington Post Australia spoke to co-founder of Centred Meditation Nikki Jankelowitz to get her top five tips on easy (and time effective) ways to instantly get your stress under control. And don't worry, there's not a stress ball in sight.

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Why: "When we switch from short and shallow chest breathing to long and deep belly breathing, we activate our relaxation response which tells our body that we are safe and sound from any physical danger and we can switch off our fight or flight mode," Jankelowitz said.

How: "Simply inhale, feeling your belly rise as you do so, and then exhale feeling your belly gently recede. Your chest should remain relatively still throughout the process. Keep bringing your attention back to the rise and fall of your belly until you feel a wave of calm washing over you."

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Why: "In order to come to your senses (literally)! Our senses are only ever working in the present moment so becoming attune to the various sensations entering our sense organs is an incredible way of plugging in to 'the now'," Jankelowitz said.

How: "Simply hover your attention on all the different sounds reaching your ears, then scents entering your nose, followed by sights filling your vision, now tastes lingering in your mouth, and finally wind on your body."

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Why: "Research has shown that being in nature contributes to both our emotional wellbeing (by reducing negative feelings of anger, fear and stress, and increasing our positive affect), and our physical wellbeing (by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones)," Jankelowitz said.

How: "Find a park near you and either walk or sit, admiring your surroundings with a sense of curiosity."

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Why: "Countless scientific studies have proven that meditation is a powerful antidote to stress," Jankelowitz said. "As the benefits of meditation are cumulative, winding meditation into your ongoing wellbeing routine will prevent you from even getting stressed in the first place."

How: "Choose a focal point as an anchor to settle the mind. You can simply use your breath, a sound, a mantra, or an image. The most important rule with meditation is not to get frustrated or annoyed when your mind inevitably wanders off and gets caught up in thought. Acknowledge that you are human and research shows that 47 percent of the time our minds are thinking about something other than what we're doing, then gently guide your attention back to your focal point. Again and again."

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Why: "When we are stressed, we unknowingly often hold a lot of physical tension in our bodies," Jankelowitz said. "A body scan helps us to quickly get out of our head and drop down into our body in order to release a lot of that pent up physical tension so our minds can subconsciously mimic the process too."

How: "Observe each body part one by one and actively release any tension you find built up there with your breath before moving on to the next body part."

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