Sniffle Solutions

10 Ways to De-stress -- Instantly!

Packed schedule? You''ll still be able to fit in these effective tips to feel relaxed in no time.

You already know that going on a long walk, soaking in a bubble bath and getting a massage can help you relax. But between shuffling your kids between playdates, picking up the clutter in your house and making sure your family eats well, who has the time? Luckily, you don’t have to devote hours to finding inner peace. Each of these actions takes fewer than five minutes to complete -- and will keep you feeling zen all day long.

1. Dial your mom. Simply hearing your mom’s voice can relieve stress as much as receiving a physical hug from her, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You don’t even have to talk about anything serious; asking her what she thought of last night’s “Glee” episode is probably enough to get her going.

2. Pop in a piece of gum. Chewing on a stick of cinnamon gum or even some of your kids’ bubblegum reduces anxiety and stress, according to Australian researchers. Plus it helps you stay alert and multitask more efficiently -- useful benefits for any mom.

3. Find a funny online video. Simply anticipating a laugh boosts your endorphins and decreases stress hormones, according to a study from University of California, Irvine. So the next time you check your email, plan to stop by YouTube and type in “webcam 101 for seniors.” We guarantee a good chuckle.

4. Play your favorite song. In a study from the University at Buffalo, researchers found that people undergoing eye surgery who listened to their choice of music felt less anxious and had lower heart rates and blood pressure than those who didn’t. If a good tune can reduce stress in the hospital, it’s sure to work wonders when you’re just at home doing chores.

5. Smile like you mean it. Researchers recently proved that simply turning that frown upside down can improve your mood. A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that women who can’t frown due to Botox injections actually feel happier. So when you lock eyes with a cashier at the supermarket or a coworker at the corner deli, remind yourself to smile. You’ll both reap the rewards.

6. Glance out the window. While there may be a lot of competition for your attention inside your home, make an effort to occasionally enjoy the spring flowers, fall leaves or winter snow in your backyard. A study from the University of Washington found that simply looking at nature through a window helps reduce tension and slow down heart rate -- and the longer you look, the more relaxed you’ll feel.

7. Dissect the latest celeb scandal. Although gossiping can seem frivolous, a study conducted by the University of Michigan shows that sharing the latest scoop can actually improve well-being and ease anxiety. It also makes you feel emotionally closer to the person you’re gabbing with, upping the mood-boosting hormone progesterone. We suggest dishing on celebrities; you don’t have to worry about the news getting back to them.

8. Breathe right. “By trying to move your belly instead of your chest when you breathe, you’ll instantly relax physically and mentally,” says Rena Hatch, a life coach and yoga instructor based in Oregon. To see what she means, put a hand on your belly and expand it as much as you can with each inhale, and empty it fully with each exhale. “You can do this in the car, waiting in line -- anywhere,” she says. “Don’t stress out about whether or not you’re performing it right. Just try it and you’ll feel better.”

9. Eat a turkey sandwich. Comfort food might mean mashed potatoes and cake to most of us, but the lunch staple of a turkey sandwich can also help ease your mind --without straining your belt. “Turkey has tryptophan in it, which is a calming agent. And complex carbohydrates, like whole-wheat bread, keep your mood elevated all day long,” says Jim White, a registered dietitian and a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He also says that eating crunchy food can help relieve stress when you’re anxious, but he recommends eating carrot sticks rather than a serving of chips.
10. Create the right kind of pressure. According to Skye Alexander, author of the Acupressure Card Deck, pressing your index finger to the outside of the opposite wrist can calm stress and balance your emotions. Hold for one minute, and then switch hands.

Do you have a go-to move that helps you decompress? Join the conversation.



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