2-Minute Stress Busters

Got stress? Most of us do. In the most recent “Stress in America” survey, conducted by the American Psychological Association, seven in 10 Americans reported experiencing symptoms of stress, such as anger, irritability, and fatigue. [1] Worse: Prolonged or chronic stress can lead to metabolic changes that increase your risk for heart disease. [2] While eliminating stress is the ideal, it’s not always possible, but you can short-circuit it in the moment. Here, five simple ways to unwind in 2 minutes or less.

1. Drink black tea.

In a study from University College, London, participants who drank a cup of black tea before doing stressful tasks had lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone associated with heart disease risk factors) after completing the assignments than the non-tea-imbibers. [3]

2. Swear off stress.

Curse? You? Yes! Research has shown that letting out a strategically uttered expletive (behind your office door, say, or in your car -- not in a meeting or at a dinner party!) helps you blow off steam. [4]

3. Press on.

Researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that acupressure (when pressure is placed on certain points in the body called meridians) can lower stress more or less instantly. [5] Try it yourself: Press the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger for 20 to 30 seconds. [6]

4. Have a laugh.

A hearty belly laugh makes you feel happier instantly, and recent research found that even anticipating laughter may lower levels of stress hormones.[7] Go to YouTube and search for funny animal videos, or clips from your favorite sitcoms or comedians -- whatever reliably gets you giggling.

5. Switch lanes.

Other drivers got you boiling? Resist the urge to speed past or worse. Instead, switch to the slow lane and breathe. [8]


1. APA Stress in America Report


Accessed 7/31/2013

2. American Heart Association: Stress and Heart Health


Accessed 7/31/2013

3. Steptoe AGibson ELVuononvirta RWilliams EDHamer MRycroft JAErusalimsky JDWardle J.

The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial.

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 Jan;190(1):81-9. Epub 2006 Sep 30.

4. Yehuda Baruch, Stuart Jenkins

Swearing at work and permissive leadership culture: When anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable

 Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 28 Iss: 6, pp.492 – 507

5. Yip YBTse SH.

An experimental study on the effectiveness of acupressure with aromatic lavender essential oil for sub-acute, non-specific neck pain in Hong Kong.

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 Feb;12(1):18-26. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

PMID: 16401526

6.Accupressure Point LI-4


Accessed 8/01/2013

7. Lee S Berk,  Stanley A Tan,  and Dottie Berk

Cortisol and Catecholamine stress hormone decrease is associated with the behavior of perceptual anticipation of mirthful laughter

FASEB J April 5, 2008 22:946.11

8. American Heart 4 Ways to Deal with Stress


Accessed 7/31/2013 
by the Publishers of Prevention