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Beat Stress in 30 Seconds

Octavius Black, co-author of The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up (Time Warner Books), gives four easy and effective tips to help you stress less.

1. INHALE through your nostrils and feel the air flow down your chest, pushing your belly out. As you exhale, imagine a dragon-smoke-like mist coming out. ‘That symbolises your stress evaporating,’ says Black. Repeat for five breaths.

2. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND IMAGINE
lying outdoors in a hammock, with a cold glass of your favourite drink. Envisage every single detail: the smell of the ocean or the feel of freshly cut grass under your bare feet. Tune out with soothing music from the likes of Jack Johnson or Sade.

3. MAKE A MENTAL LIST
of all the good things in your life, such as compliments from friends or resisting the urge to smoke. ‘Celebrating small achievements will balance out even the biggest baddies,’ says Black.

4. RESOLVE TO TAKE UP AN AGGRESSION-RELEASING SPORT such as boxing. If you’re not that fit (or coordinated), buy an inflatable toy hammer and thwack it against your sofa every time you feel angry.

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