Newsletter Signup Confirmation

From the office of Mark L. Hurrell, LMFT

Deep breathing is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which ‘wakes up’ the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash. The Karate Breathing Meditation is a great exercise to start with, and this basic breathing exercise can be done anywhere!

Meditation builds on deep breathing, and takes it a step further. When you meditate , your brain enters an area of functioning that’s similar to sleep, but carries some added benefits you can’t achieve as well in any other state, including the release of certain hormones that promote health. Also, the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime and increasing your stress level. Here's an article on different types of meditation to help you get started.

It takes slightly more time to practice guided imagery , but this is a great way to leave your stress behind for a while and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on ‘something’ than on ‘nothing’. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.

Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever—even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing. Aerobic exercise—activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat—is a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. For maximum stress relief, try to get at least 30 minutes of heart-pounding activity on most days. If it’s easier to fit into your schedule, break up the activity into two or three shorter segments.

5. Prioritizing and Organizing
When job and workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control over yourself and the situation. Your newfound ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations will often be well-received by coworkers, managers, and subordinates alike, which can lead to better relationships at work. Here are some suggestions for reducing job stress by prioritizing and organizing your responsibilities.

Even if you’re in a job where the environment has grown increasingly stressful, you can retain a large measure of self-control and self-confidence by understanding and practicing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions in positive and constructive ways. When it comes to satisfaction and success at work, emotional intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability. Emotional intelligence is about communicating with others in ways that draw people to you, overcome differences, repair wounded feelings, and defuse tension and stress.

7. Hobbies
Have interests and pastimes that bring you joy, allow you to meet people, encourage you to laugh and play, and bring you a diversion from the stress of life. Go to the recreation center, local adult school, explore meetup groups (, college, or look through the internet.

8. Spirituality
Having a spiritual practice such as meditating, reading spiritual literature, communicating with a higher power, connecting with like-minded individuals, or prayer can help you feel a sense of purpose, get a sense of divine order, get a sense of your connectedness to others and provides you a community of support as well as getting to know aspects of yourself you haven’t been aware of before. Those with spiritual practices live longer and live in a more healthy manner.

9. Pets
Dogs give unconditional love and other pets are also comforting, soothing, supply us a purpose and give us attention we are seeking. Pet therapy is used in many settings to cure depression, anxiety, and other emotional difficulties.

10. Volunteering
Reaching out to others give us a reason to be and helps us feel wanted and needed. Seeing the smile on someone else’s face because we’ve done something to brighten their day gets us out of our problems and help us realize other people are going through the same things we are experiencing.

For more stress tips go to

Mark Hurrell, LMFT is a licensed marriage, family, child therapist and educational psychologist that specializes in relationships, child/adolescents, and medical family therapy (psychological aspects of health issues).

Mr. Hurrell uses an eclectic approach primarily emphasizing humanistic-existential philosophy but uses a great deal of techniques to help people to develop solutions to their life concerns, help them develop ways to cope with stress and obstacles, and to plan for the future.

Mr. Hurrell is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Psychological Association. You can contact him for a free consultation at 310-920-1452.