Out of control stress causes poor health. I see this time and again in my clinical practice.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to address stress is through controlled breathing exercises.
Controlled breathing has been shown to help with sleep, energy, depression, and digestion. Plus, it boosts the immune system, slows the heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. For many people it's much less intimidating than meditation.
You be the judge. Take two minutes to find a quiet place and try this basic breathing exercise:
Step 1: Sit up or lie down in a relaxed setting.
Step 2: Place your hands on your belly, and close your mouth.
Step 3: Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of five, feeling your belly expand (not your chest).
Step 4: Slowly exhale for a count of six, feeling your belly fall automatically
Step 5: Repeat for two minutes.
For more information and exercises, check out this NY Times article, "Breath. Exhale. Repeat: The Benefits of Controlled Breathing."