In An Instant
Stress reliever #1: waking up during the night
Do money woes keep you from getting a full night's sleep? Or do you fret about your family once the lights are out? Whatever is keeping you up at night -- or waking you from a deep slumber -- the first thing you need to do is take stock of your surroundings and get your bearings, explains life coach Scott Harris from Authentic Results.
"Remind yourself of where you are, and tell yourself that everything is okay," he suggests. "Take some deep slow breaths and a sip of water, and focus on a memory, picture or a feeling that makes you feel happy, safe, relaxed and free. This might be a beach, a mountain stream, a happy memory of walking in fresh snow!"
Then, get perspective by pinpointing what is bothering you so you can put your anxiety on hold -- until the morning at least. It might pay to sleep with a notepad and pen next to the bed so you can scribble down any thoughts that are keeping you awake.
stress reliever #2: important meeting or date
The main concern that people have before an important meeting, job interview or date is that they're going to be "performing", and therefore they'll be open to scrutiny and judgement.
To shake off any nerves, rehearse some conversations with a friend beforehand and ask for feedback or suggestions, says psychiatrist Jim Taylor from Work Fit Analysis.
"If you're psychologically prepared, the chances of becoming overwhelmed with anxiety are much lower," he explains. You'll also be less likely to become flustered if you get stumped by an unexpected question, because you'll already have rehearsed similar scenarios. Jim's other tip? "Avoid caffeine in the hour or two beforehand, as it can ramp up your anxiety levels -- especially if you're already tired."
stress reliever #3: Public speaking
Speaking in front of a crowd is a common source of stress, says Dr Morton C. Orman, founder and director of The Health Resource Network. His advice is to take the pressure off of yourself to deliver a "perfect" presentation, and focus instead on delivering a valuable message.
"If people in your audience walk away with something -- anything -- of value, they will consider you a success. If they walk away feeling better about themselves or feeling better about some job they have to do, or if they walk away feeling happy or entertained, they will consider their time with you worthwhile," he says.
"Even if you pass out, get tongue-tied, or say something stupid during your talk -- they won't care! As long as they get something of value, they will be thankful.