Feeling Overwhelmed? This Simple Ritual Will Bring Instant Calm

You're sitting at your desk when an uneasy feeling starts to unfurl. Your stomach clenches, you feel hot, and amid the holiday deadlines, events, and pressures, you just can't see a clear path forward.

Stress is an issue we grapple with year-round—a massive 30% of Americans say it has a constant presence in their daily life—but as we hurtle toward the holidays, it seems to reach a whole new level. If you've ever felt overwhelmed or anxious at work, there is a simple way to find calm without leaving your desk. Here, yoga and meditation experts share five simple rituals you can do anywhere, anytime to find calm and stability, even amid the chaos of an office.

When You're Overwhelmed

Sitting at your desk, close your eyes and fully relax into the surface that supports you, says Anne Douglas, who has devised a holiday meditation exercise for mindfulness app Simple Habit. Take a long, deep breath, and "with each exhalation, try adding a gentle sigh. Each sigh helps set your body to its natural state of ease," she tells us.

"Now consider some of the top stressors of your holidays. Notice how you feel just by thinking about this. It's usually our stressful thoughts about the holidays that generate stress," she recommends. "Imagine it doesn't exist, and go back to the feeling of relaxation that comes with a deep breath. Feel intention dissolving with each exhalation. Feel your body letting go."

Next, "to think of some strategies to help you overcome the issue, think about your top holiday stressors again, but consider it as if it's someone else’s issue rather than your own," she says. "This helps diffuse the stress response by allowing you to experience them as impersonal. What advice might you give to a friend to deal with this stressor?"

When You Feel Rushed