University Life Café

The Bookshelf → One-Minute Stress Relievers

Preview Points

  • People face stress many times every day, with some estimated 50, 75 or 100 times a day and resulting “fight-or-flight” physical responses.
  • Tension will build all day long unless something is done to break the build-up. These relaxation techniques cannot get in the way of what needs to be done for daily life.
  • Brief interventions scattered throughout the day may most effectively reduce stresses.


Brief one-minute stress relievers may help dispel some of the stresses that build up. These may include short breaks. These may be stress relievers. Natural breaks in the day may be very helpful to provide relaxation.


  • While waiting for the instructor to begin lecturing,
  • Begin every study session with a 1-2 minute relaxation,
  • Do one before every meal,
  • When using the restroom,
  • Waiting for class to start,
  • When at stop lights,
  • Standing in a check-out line, etc.,
  • Let the phone ring one more time and do a quick exercise,
  • Do one as you change paper in your word processor,
  • When you get books out to study.

AVOIDING FALLING BACK INTO OLD STRESS HABITS: When you first do them, you'll find that your old, too-tense habits take over just as soon as you turn your attention back to the instructor, to the books, or whatever you were doing. But practice maintaining the more relaxed state for longer periods of time. Just keep at it. You'll begin to catch your tenseness sooner, to let the tension go, and to become more comfortably productive.

REMINDERS OF HOW TO FACE STRESS AND RELAX: You'll need reminders to help you remember to do many brief strategies. Otherwise you'll act out of habit with the old, too-tense reaction. Put reminders where you'll see them many times each day:

  • on your backpack zipper,
  • around your desk ,
  • on your watch ,
  • on the rearview mirror of your car, AND
  • on your refrigerator.

The reminders can be:

  • colored ribbon
  • stick-on smiling faces
  • a watch set to beep every hour
  • ads from magazines (a tranquil lake from a travel ad; “Keep Cool” from an air conditioner ad)

Reminders are important. Use them. And make them fun.

Concluding Points

  • Many stress relievers interspersed throughout the day may be helpful to reduce the overall level of stress.
  • Using reminders of the need for stress reduction in brief moments throughout the day may be very positive for overall stress reduction.

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