Hazelden Publishing presents a new series of pocket books, 5-Minute First Aid for the Mind, that provides easy and calming techniques to relieve stress and reduce cravings, including acupressure, guided imagery and breathing exercises.

Relieve Stress Reduce Craving

Designed to be easily incorporated into a busy day, the activities in Relieve Stress: 20 Quick Techniques and Reduce Craving: 20 Quick Techniques allow you to apply specific science-based techniques to deal with stress and cravings as and when you need them. Illustrations show you how to use the techniques effectively in common situations, so you can find a little space of calm wherever you are. Here is an example of one of the techniques:

Square Breathing
Find a square or rectangular object in your surroundings. It can be a picture frame or door if you are indoors or a car window or section of a road or fence if you are outside.

Now move your eyes from the top left corner of your box horizontally to the right side while inhaling. Be mindful to slow down your eye movements and breath. Once you reach the upper right corner move your eyes downwards in a very deliberate fashion while slowly exhaling. Breathe in along the bottom corner from right to left and then breathe out from the bottom left upwards to your starting point. Keep moving your eyes along the square while slowing down your breath, inhaling along the top and bottom edge and exhaling along the sides. Breathe around the square for several rounds and repeat it if you feel your thoughts drifting back to uneasiness.

You may notice that your mind is now occupied with moving your eyes from one corner to the next while synchronising your breathing leaving no "mind space" to worry. You may feel a sense of calm.