Monday, November 16, 2009

Ways to Control and Conquer Stress

It's hard to say, exactly, what the worst part about stress is. Is it the tightness that starts somewhere around your solar plexus, then extends out to your toenails, earlobes, and cerebellum? Is it randomly snapping at innocent—and, occasionally, quite guilty—coworkers and loved ones? Is it sobbing quietly behind the closed door of a men's-room stall?
Uh, sorry, did we say that last one out loud?
The point is, stress attacks in all sorts of ways—which means that if you want to control it, contain it, conquer it, you need to fire back in kind. That's why we've spent the past several months devouring studies and cross-examining experts to find the 31 best stress-busting tips of all time. We won't lie—it was a bear of a job, and there were desperate moments when we thought we actually smelled smoke coming from the old cerebellum (see quiet sobbing in men's room, above). But when we sat down and read the advice we'd compiled—and then started following it—we suddenly felt much, much better.
Soon you will, too.

Drink More OJ

Researchers at the University of Alabama fed rats 200 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day and found that it nearly stopped the secretion of stress hormones. If it relaxes a rat, why not you? Two 8-ounce glasses of orange juice daily gives you the vitamin C you need.

Put a Green Dot on Your Phone

This is your secret reminder to take one deep breath before you answer a call, says Susan Siegel, of the Program on Integrative Medicine at the University of North Carolina school of medicine. Not only will you feel better, but you'll sound more confident.

Spend Quality Time with a Canine

Yours or someone else's. According to research at the State University of New York at Buffalo, being around a pet provides more stress relief than being around a two-legged companion. As if we needed a study to determine that.

Listen to Music at Work

And make it the blandest playlist you can create. According to a study at Pennsylvania's Wilkes University, Muzak lowers your stress levels at work, while also reducing the risk of the common cold. We knew Celine Dion had a purpose.

Run Fast

Bike hard. Punch the heavy bag. And we don't mean your mother-in-law. A University of Missouri at Columbia study found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace. What's more, the benefits last as long as 90 minutes afterward.

Say You're Sorry

What, now the kid is screaming on a crowded airplane? Immediately apologize to everyone around you. By acknowledging that you may have made a mistake or hurt someone else, you can help clear the air, and that will reduce your stress level, says Charles Emery, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

 

Have Sex

Either with or without a partner. An orgasm releases beta-endorphins, the body's natural, less punk-rock version of heroin, so you'll definitely be feeling no pain, says Nuccitelli.

Go for a Swim

During the day, your legs collect pools of lymphatic fluid, an excess of which can make you uncomfortable and irritable—until you take a dip, says Dr. Liponis. "It squeezes all the lymphatic fluid back into your heart and out through your kidneys," he says. Think of the postswim pee as liquid stress leaving your body.

Post a Comment