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8 simple stress busters for tax season

By Tribune staff
Published: March 15, 2014

If you thought your life couldn’t get any more stressful, think again: Tax Day, April 15, is just one month away.

With that in mind, Henry S. Miller, speaker, trainer, consultant and author of “The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish,” offers these eight simple stress busters to use this month and beyond.

1. Breathe slowly and deeply: Before you react to the next stressful event, first take three deep breaths and consciously release each breath slowly.

2. Speak more slowly: If you feel overwhelmed at any time, deliberately slow down the pace of your speaking; you will appear less anxious and more in control of the situation. If you slow down, you’ll find you can think more clearly and react more reasonably.

3. Take a break outdoors: Take advantage of the healing power of fresh air and sunshine. Just five minutes outside on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating.

4. Check your posture: Hold your head and shoulders upright. Avoid slumping or stooping: bad posture leads to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress. If you are behind a desk during the day, take five minutes every hour to walk around or stretch.

5. Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious snacks: Fight dehydration and hunger — they can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress.

6. Do one thing today: Every day, do at least one simple thing you’ve been putting off: Return a phone call, make a doctor’s appointment or file the paperwork piling up on your desk. Taking care of one nagging responsibility will energize you and improve your attitude.

7. Reward yourself after a stressful day: At the end of the day, set aside any work worries, housekeeping issues or family concerns for at least a few minutes. Allow yourself a brief period of time to fully relax before bedtime — even if it’s only taking a relaxing bath or spending 30 minutes with a good book. You’ll be better prepared to face another stressful day if you reward yourself with some free time.

8. Practice letting go: When your next stressful situation comes up, make a conscious choice not to become upset. Just let it go. Managing your anger is a proven stress reducer.

Henry S. Miller’s is the author of “Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life.” He is also the creator of the online program “Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness: 20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times.” For more information, go to