You don't have to be constantly stressed.. !
1. Create a new routine
"I used to wake up and immediately plug into email — a vortex of never-ending, energy-sucking messages," says Darlene Fiske, owner of a public-relations firm in Austin, Texas. "Now I ease into my day by sipping coffee while watching Robin Meade on HLN."
2. Switch up your screen saver
Try a wilderness shot: a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that just looking at photos of green spaces helped stress cases to relax.
3. Clean up
"When you're surrounded by clutter, you're reminded of unfinished projects," says Dana Claudat, an interior designer in L.A. "Tidying up can lessen anxiety and improve mental clarity."
4. Wander aimlessly
Stroll somewhere that sparks ideas. "Sometimes, I go to Whole Foods and wander the aisles," says Chloe Coscarelli, executive chef and cofounder of By Chloe restaurants. "I see new things and get inspired without an agenda."
5. Stretch it out
For better sleep, do this before bed, says Nadya Swedan, MD, a physiatrist in New York. Stand with back and arms against a wall, upper arms parallel with floor, and elbows bent 90 degrees (like a goalpost). Hold 10 to 30 seconds, breathing deeply.
6. Rally your girl squad
Seeking support from other women releases happiness hormones and keeps the stressy ones like cortisol in check, psychology researchers say. Maybe invite a pal to pottery night.
7. Put on some weight
Lying under a weighted vest or blanket (from $50, magicweightedblanket.com) can calm the nervous system, studies show, in as little as five minutes.
8. Honor teatime
"In the afternoon, I make matcha tea, which keeps me calm, focused, and centered," says chef and cookbook author Candice Kumai. The amino acid L-theanine, found in all varieties of tea, quiets the brain without having a sedating effect.
9. Reframe the situation
Mental trick: When you have a million things going on, remind yourself of the upside. Next to your to-do list, tack up an encouraging Post-it, like, "I'm tasked with so much because people think I'm talented."
10. Focus on your values
Thinking about the pros on your personal pro/con list has been proven to lower stress and increase positivity. But don't focus on "conditional values," like status or looks, advises Geoffrey L. Cohen, PhD, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. List what your core values are (compassion, independence, faith), why they matter, and a time you exhibited each. When you feel freaked, reflect on one.
11. Use mood lighting
Warmer tones like those of a sunset help you calm down and prepare for sleep, but most lightbulbs give off bright, white light. The Philips Hue white ambience-connected bulb ($130 for two bulbs and the app-synced bridge, amazon.com) mimics natural sunlight. Select the Relax setting to help you power down.
12. Live in the moment
"Anxiety is all about the future," says psychiatrist Julie Holland, MD, author of Moody Bitches. "To bring down stress levels, bring your thoughts back to what is happening right now as opposed to what may or may not happen in the future."
13. Have sex!
It triggers the release of calming hormones and reduces blood pressure, say numerous studies. Solo sex helps, but intercourse has the biggest benefits. There's always time for a quickie, right?!
14. Take five to meditate
"I'm totally type-A, but I've been trying to meditate. I downloaded Simply Being ($1.99, App Store and Google Play), and I do it for five minutes a day," says Melina Jampolis, MD, author of The Doctor on Demand Diet. "I like that it's not too touchy-feely."
15. Get a rubdown
"Massages are my favorite thing when I'm stressed!" proclaims YouTube star Cassey Ho, creator of Blogilates. You can DIY with the Thera Cane ($30, relaxtheback.com), a handheld hooklike tool with nubs that hit hard-to-reach knots.
16. Protect your personal time
Leaving work at a regular time and unplugging at home will help ease job stress. Ask if you can try new hours or a digital detox for a few weeks to show it won't affect productivity, suggests psychologist Patricia Thompson, PhD, a corporate consultant.
17. Get on your own nerves
Certain ways of breathing calm the nervous system, partly by stimulating the vagus nerve. Annelies Richmond, director of teacher training at Art of Living USA, suggests alternate nostril breathing. Sit comfortably with your right thumb on your right nostril and your right ring finger on your left nostril. Press in the right nostril, and inhale through the left. Close both nostrils, hold for one count, and then release the right nostril and exhale. Pause for a count, then inhale through the right, press both, and exhale through the left. Repeat for five minutes.
Merely anticipating a laugh decreases stress hormones and increases happy ones, studies show. Cue up a YouTube clip of The Ellen DeGeneres Show when you're feeling frazzled.
19. Make a new playlist
Any music you enjoy is more relaxing than silence, research shows. Tunes can ease muscle tension and slow down brain waves, adds Frank Lipman, MD, founder of Be Well. Go acoustic: Slow songs with a low pitch are most relaxing of all (search 60 bpm on Spotify for playlists).
20. Give people a break
"If people stress you out, it's often because you have a running litany in your head of all the annoying things about them," says Gail Saltz, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine. "Is there room to accept them? Start by telling yourself: They are so annoying, but how can I treat them the same way I'd like to treat myself?"
21. Mind your money
"People who have more control over their money, no matter how much they have, feel happier," says Jean Chatzky, host of the podcast HerMoney. One fix: Pay bills right when they come in.
22. Swap out your afternoon espresso
Caffeine gooses the nervous system and cortisol levels, so a serious habit could amplify stress and make it harder to rest. Have steamed milk instead.
23. Do a body scan
"For a few minutes each morning, close your eyes and direct your attention to each different part of your body from head to toes," suggests Caroline Ghosn, founder and CEO of Levo, a networking site for young professionals. "Ask yourself, 'How am I breathing? Where am I tight or achy?' I discovered I had chronic low-back pain and began stretching for 10 minutes before work."
24. Find a playful distraction
"When your thoughts are stuck in a stressful loop, shift your focus elsewhere," says Anne Parker, a wellness counselor at Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona. Try creative activities, like crocheting, flower arranging, or coloring. You'll feel the same relief even if you suck at it.
25. Sniff it out
Aromatherapy can help reduce mental burnout and anxiety, per multiple studies. Keep your chill-out oils nearby with Cor Pendant ($125, corpendant.com). Choose a mix — calm, focus, or energy — and tuck inside a sleek silver, gold, or rose-gold pendant necklace.
26. Snack on the good stuff
When you're tense and hangry, protein is the answer. Try almonds, hummus, cottage cheese, or Wilde bars, a new jerky-meets-protein-bar hybrid ($2.50, Whole Foods).
27. Create a zen home
"I added a few de-stressing aids to my house, including a hot tub, so I can soak after a long day," says Kim Ng, senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball. Spa-ify your pad with the Conair Dual Jet Bath Spa ($40, amazon.com) or by painting a wall lilac or upgrading your sheets.
28. Wave the white flag
Feel like you could use an extra hand picking up the slack at home? Tech to the rescue: Post to TaskRabbit.com, the Uber of errands and chores, or find babysitters, housekeepers, and pet sitters at Care.com.
29. Focus on the big picture
Yogis pick a focal point to keep balanced during intense poses, says Tiffany Cruikshank, author of Meditate Your Weight. Do it in life: If planning a party has you freaking, stop and picture guests having fun. They won't sweat tiny details.
30. Shake it off!
"I've been known to put on my headphones and dance around my living room," says Tonya Lewis Lee, a film and TV producer and founder of HealthyYouNow.com. "I may look crazy and I may sing off-key, but it always makes me happy."
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