3 Quick Relaxing Meditations to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

3 Quick Relaxing Meditations to Relieve Anxiety and Stress


Here are 3 simpleand even fun— “meditations” that can help you quickly reduce your anxiety in stressful situations and lift your mood. They involve breathing, smiling, and laughter. 


What's in This Post

1. 4-7-8 Breathing Meditation
2. Smile meditation
3. Laughter meditation
Books and Recordings for Anxiety and Stress Relief

Note: You may also like the Loving Kindness meditation.


1. 4-7-8 Breathing Meditation

Breathing exercises like 4-7-8 breathing exercise your diaphragm (which tightens up with stress), slow your heart rate, and stimulate your vagus nerve.

Your vagus nerve runs from your gut to your brain. Research shows that vagus nerve stimulation reduces fear and anxiety. It is thought to cause the release of hormones and neurotransmitters (ie serotonin) that assist in relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.

How 4-7-8 breathing works: 

To begin, stand or sit up straight. Exhale to expel all the air in your lungs to start a fresh cycle of breathing.

Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your top teeth and leave it there for the whole exercise.


The 4: close your mouth and quietly breathe in through your nose to a count of 4

The 7: hold your breath for a count of 7

The 8: exhale through your mouth for a count of 8 (allow your breath to make sound as it comes out)

Repeat the 4-7-8 steps for a total of 4 cycles.


Reduce stress and anxiety with 4 7 8 Breathing Meditation for stress and anxiety relief



 2. Smile meditation

Add bonus smiles, anxiety and stress relief tip


We know that smiles release feel-good endorphins, but you don't have to wait around for something that makes you smile to get the benefits of smiling.

Research shows that even self-initiated non-spontaneous smiles improve your mood, reduce physical pain, and increase stress-resilience. Think of them as bonus smiles. 

Give it a try: Start a smile and keep it going for at least 15 seconds. Notice how it lifts your mood. 

Think about where in your day you can fit in some bonus smiles (ie when you wake up, in the shower, doing dishes, each time you wash your hands . . .).

Watch out for resting frown face. Pay attention to when you've gone into resting frown face and make yourself smile instead. Notice how it gives you a little (or big) lift. 


3. Laughter meditation

laughter is the best medicine for stress graphic image

Laughter has many benefits to your body and mind: it increases your immune response, exercises your innards, and boosts your mood. You don’t have to wait for something funny to cross your path to get a laugh. You can make laughter happen with laughter meditations.

One laughter meditation:

  1. Stand with your feet planted on the floor and your arms at your sides.

  2. Raise up your arms as you say a stretched vowel (like eeeee or aaaaaa) until you turn it into a giggle.

  3. Wave your hands around as you let it become a fuller laugh.

  4. Repeat the arm movements as often as you want.

Make the laugh as big and long as you can.


 For more anti-anxiety stress-relieving activities, check out this post: 15 Ways to Manage Stress and Reduce Anxiety

Books and Recordings for Anxiety and Stress Relief 

Through a lifetime of dealing with my own anxiety and decades of helping counseling clients achieve anxiety relief, I've learned a lot about what helps and doesn't help. I've used that learning to create books and recordings that can help you feel better too. 


Becoming Calm: Silver Lining Reduce Anxiety and Increase Stress Resilience Workbook and Journal


Feed Your Calm: Anti-Anxiety Anti-Stress Diet and Supplement Tips for Stress Resilience


A quick look at Anxiety: Simple Powerful Anti-Anxiety Tips for Stress, Anxiety, and Panic Attack Relief


Discover Calm Anti-Anxiety Hypnosis mp3 downloadable recording




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  • Ann Silvers
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