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By Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith, Aaron T. Beck, MD

Part of Anxiety & Depression Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Use these techniques when you’re feeling stressed or a little down as a way to lighten your mood and rid yourself of that “not quite right feeling.”

  1. Exercise. Take a brisk walk, jog, or dance for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Increasing your heart rate for a while burns off anxious feelings and increases endorphins, which lift your mood.

  2. Chill out. Fill a sink or bowl with ice water. Now take a deep breath and put your face in the water for 30 seconds or so. Believe it or not, you’re likely to feel more relaxed (and maybe a bit chilly) when you’re done.

  3. Get grateful. Stop what you’re doing right now and ponder what makes you feel grateful. Appreciate the small things — a good parking spot, the ability to read this cheat sheet, flowers, good music, a cute dog, whatever. Make a list of these things, and review it when you’re feeling down and out.

  4. Breathe better. Take a slow, deep breath. Hold the air for a few moments, and then let it out very slowly while you silently count to eight. Repeat this breathing exercise four or five times when you feel the need to decompress.