Health and Wellness

The 1-minute destresser Barack Obama used during his presidency to 'clear his mind'

President Barack Obama walks on the colonnade after leaving the Oval Office for the last time as President, in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017.
Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Being president of the United States can no doubt be one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. But former President Barack Obama did find a simple way to clear his mind at the start and end of each day.

"For eight years in the White House, I walked along the West Colonnade to get to and from the Oval Office—a one-minute, open-air commute," Obama said on Instagram on Tuesday, referring to the outdoor, covered pavilion between the White House residence and the West Wing (pictured above).

"It was along this walkway that I'd gather my thoughts for the day, preparing for conversations with members of Congress and constituents, reviewing plans and proposals to move the country forward," he said.

Obama said at the end of the day, he also used the one-minute walk to de-stress and shift his mindset to dad and husband mode.

"On the way back to the residence in the evenings, my briefcase stuffed with papers, I'd use the time to clear my mind, anticipating my dinner with Michelle and the girls, and an exuberant greeting from the dogs," he wrote.

The short walks weren't the only thing Obama did to relieve stress while president.

As president, Obama took "the long view" on issues instead of panicking about everything day to day, he told HuffPost in 2015. "As long as I stay focused on those north stars, then I tend not to get too rattled," he said.

Obama also had a consistent morning exercise routine, and he told HuffPost he was "lucky to, by inclination and temperament, be fairly steady," which he said could come from his Hawaiian roots — all the "[g]ood weather and beaches."

But Obama told HuffPost the most important thing he did was spend time with his family.

"[I]'m very consistent about spending time with family. And when you have dinner with your daughters — particularly teenage daughters — they'll keep you in your place and they'll teach you something about perspective," he said.

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