How to relax in five minutes or less

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•Sip green tea: Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.

•Eat chocolate: Just a square of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilises metabolism.

•Slurp some honey: Replace stress with sweetness and try a spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturiser and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.

•Take a mango: Use a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango, which packs a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels.

•Chew gum: Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavour, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.

•Munch a crunchy snack: Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a candy bar when we’re stressed — one study found stressed adults craved crunchy and salty snacks more than usual. But that salty crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary — a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.

•Meditate: No need to go on a retreat to the mountains — five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear.

•Lay your head on a cushion or pillow: There are days when all we really need is a nice, long nap. But it’s not always possible to start snoring in the office. If you’ve got a pillow, you’re already on the road to relaxation. Try this visualisation technique: Lay your head down for a few minutes and imagine the pillow is a sponge sucking up all your worries.

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