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How to Quickly Unwind From Stress

Don't spend another sleepless night rehashing your day.

Unwinding from a stressful day shouldn't be stressful. Which is why psychologist Lynn Bufka, who specializes in stress and anxiety, recently did a Reddit AMA as part of NPR's series on stress in America. Among the questions she answered was: "What are the best, general, quick, and easy ways to relieve the different types of stress?" 

"Sometimes changing how we think can be most effective," she replied. "Not everything is a catastrophe or is likely to lead to terrible outcomes, but sometimes we convince ourselves of that." The best thing to do, she added, is to ask yourself whether something is really a big deal. "Can I handle this? If you are thinking a bad event will occur, how likely is it? Are you overestimating bad things?"

Of course, changing your thinking isn't the only way to de-stress. Slow, diaphragmatic breathing can help calm you down, as can going tech-free once in awhile. In fact, the latter might prove more helpful.

The challenge with technology, she said, is the urge to constantly absorb and respond to a barrage of news, emails, and digitial demands. "Our job is to decide how we will use technology, not to let the technology control us. Turn it off, look away from screens, don't respond to every phone call and email immediately," Bufka wrote. "Decide what your limits on technology are and try hard to stick to those!" 

Exercise is also a great stress reliever, though you didn't need Bufka to tell you that. 

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Jul 15, 2014

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.

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