6 Ways to Reduce Stress

TAKE MORE RESTROOM BREAKS

There’s a reason it’s called the restroom: It’s the one place—at work or at home—where no one will bother you. If you’re overwhelmed, steal away for a five-minute meditation break. Inhale deeply into your belly and try to focus on your breathing. You’ll emerge calmer, and maybe even more productive. Research shows that meditation can improve your ability to concentrate.

SHOW UP FIVE MINUTES EARLY

Everyone knows the feeling: You’re running late, stuck in traffic, glancing at your watch every 30 seconds in frustration. Give yourself extra time to get wherever you need to go. Being an early bird will kill stress by giving you more control over your day and your commitments.

CHANGE YOUR STRESS EATING

The best stress-quashing foods are made by Mother Nature, not Baskin-Robbins. Berries are naturally rich in vitamin C, which helps fight increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

A handful of pistachios can lower your blood pressure, which means less of a spike when you get that next rush of adrenaline.

QUIT STRESS DRINKING

Yes, a few cocktails can relax you, but alcohol also prevents your brain from entering stages of deep sleep. And sleep and stress are bound together: Chronic stress can keep you up at night, and a lack of sleep can also lead to further stress. Limit yourself to no more than one drink a night.

MAKE IT A COMEDY NIGHT

Researchers say that merely anticipating a laugh can jump-start healthy changes in the body by reducing levels of stress hormones, which have been linked to conditions like obesity, heart disease, and memory impairment, to name just a few.

Stop Studying

A marathon study session may seem like a great idea, but you can wear out your willpower and concentration. “Keeping on task is a very energy-expensive process.

“When you use all your energy to keep yourself studying, you can’t use that same energy to control your worry or your stress about it.” This can lead to freak-outs of major proportions. So when you start feeling fatigued, take a break and do something that replenishes you, such as noshing on a light snack or taking a 10- or 20-minute walk outside, before hitting the books again.

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