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Serenity NOW!

by Amy Geile

Laugh Out Loud
  
Feeling stressed? Then queue up the comedy section, invite over some friends, and share a few good laughs. Releasing the tension can be as easy as laughing it off. Every time you crack up, more oxygen reaches your entire body. As the blood flow increases, the stress evaporates. In fact, your stress hormone levels can drop by just thinking about having a good laugh.

Pet Your Dog
  
Fido does more than provide unconditional love, but studies have shown he can also improve for your health. Petting your dog for even just a few minutes, releases feel-good hormones in the brain that actually make you feel happier. Your body will also decrease the amount of damaging stress hormones it releases. This can mean not only a happier pooch, but lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and a boost in immunity levels for you. Talk about a win-win!

Clean the Clutter

If you want to de-stress, de-clutter. Being surrounded by too much stuff can be overwhelming and contribute to stress. When you can’t find something, it brings on anxiety. An uncluttered space not only feels restorative, but can lead to a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Don’t add to the stress by trying to tackle the project all at once, but rather start with a drawer, a shelf, or a tabletop and clear one area at a time. If a cleaner, more productive space is not enough motivation, spring cleaning is a great way to sneak in some added exercise, burning more than 250 calories an hour.

Mow the Lawn
  
Here I go again, trying to get you to do more work, and no your neighbors haven't gotten to me.  The smell of freshly mown grass has been shown to actually make you feel more relaxed. Scientists report that the chemicals released from newly cut grass help block the release of stress hormones in the brain. Make sure to wear some earplugs to drown out the sound of the mower, as too much loud noise can send your stress rate soaring again.

Drink Some Orange Juice
  
Like the ad men say, “Orange juice isn’t just for breakfast anymore.” Researchers have shown that vitamin C may help people manage their stress more effectively, in part by lowering levels of certain stress hormones. Additionally, vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, or sweet red peppers can help boost your immune system.

Focus on the Present
  
Dwelling on the past that you cannot change, or the future which hasn’t happened yet can create a cycle of stress that is difficult to break. Instead focus on the good things that are happening right now. If you’re having trouble focusing on the good things, look to your support system for help.

Sing a Song
  
You don’t need to sound like Sinatra to put yourself in a better mood and feel less stressed. Just turn up the radio in the car or start crooning in the shower. Singing is good for your breathing, which has also been shown to reduce stress, your posture, your heart, and your immune system. No matter how out of tune you are, singing can make you feel happier.

Take a Walk
  
Exercise in any form is a great way to ease stress. Exercising, especially activities that require focus, can redirect your brain, helping you let go of what is making you anxious. It also helps your body produce endorphins that make you feel good. If you can exercise in warm, sunny weather, you can get an extra boost to your mood. Walking briskly for at least 30 minutes will get you to meet your daily exercise recommendations, and ramp up the health-improving and stress-busting benefits even more.

Chew Some Gum
  
Chewing gum can do more than freshen your breath. According to research, chewing a stick of gum also seems to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mental performance during tasks. Just be sure to keep your dentist happy by making sure it’s sugarless.

Take a Deep Breath
  
No matter where you are, taking a deep can put you in a more relaxed state. Deep breathing increases the oxygen availabel throughout the body, helping to calm you. If you include muscle relaxation exercises, massage, yoga, tai chi or aroma therapy you can increase the stress-busting benefits even more. Aromatherapy, for instance, isn't just for spas, and inhaling the scent of lavender or rosemary can put you into a more relaxed state.

Write It Down
  
Journaling can help you address the things that are bothering you.  It can also help you to refocus on what is going right in your life.  Rereading what you have written later can also aid in defining patterns or behaviors that are feeding in to the stress.

Do Something You Enjoy
  
Hobbies and projects can help you relax by refocusing your thoughts and energies on to something more productive. Volunteering can also play a strong roll in relieving stress. When you help others, you not only have positive interactions with other people, but a sense of satisfaction that boost your mood.

What are some of the stress busters you have found successful in your life?



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