Reduce your stress simply

Practice deep breathing. When we’re stressed, our breathing is often shallow and short. Practice this deep breathing exercise for two weeks three times a day for 15 minutes: Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Slowly breathe in through your nose, hold it for a couple of seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth. If your chest rises more than your stomach, that means you’re not breathing deeply.

Manage your time effectively. When you’re not getting everything done, you’re going to feel stressed. Prioritize what you need to do. Give more time to the activities that are important and less time to those that aren’t.

Think realistically. Sometimes our negative thinking makes things seem worse than they really are. For example, let’s say your boss appears to have an angry look on his face and you conclude that he’s angry with you. The truth is he might be stressed out for reasons of his own. Look at the facts before you jump to conclusions.

Laugh. Laughing releases endorphins, which are natural substances in your body that can help reduce stress. Call a funny friend, watch a funny movie, read a book of jokes.

Let go of the things you can’t control. Many aspects of our environment are beyond our control and stressing about them wastes our time and energy. For example, you can’t change how other people drive. Remind yourself to be realistic about what you can and can’t control.

Avoid people who are demeaning or irritating. Mean people are toxic. They drain your energy, stress you out and make you feel bad about yourself. Spend time with people who are friendly, positive and supportive.

Excerpt from Life’s Little How To Book by Jaleh Donaldson, a self-help book with easy-to-understand tips, now available at, Barnes& Noble and Borders.

Two-minute drill A clean house

Two minutes is all it takes to:

• Gather stray clutter into a laundry basket. Just be sure to put everything in its proper place at a later time.

• Sweep high-traffic areas, like the entryway or bathroom floor.

• Vacuum tops of ceiling fan blades and reduce the amount of dust swirling through the room.

• Eliminate ring-around-the-toilet—add a cleaning solution to the toilet bowl, then scrub with a brush.

• Spritz the bathroom mirror with glass cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

• And at the expense of sounding like your mother, make your bed.

Source: THE MAIDS Home Services. For extra cleaning help, check out

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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