FES­TIVE STRESS-BUSTERS

Health (USA) - - Live Healthy -

“So many of us live in this chronic stress state, and stress stiff­ens our ar­ter­ies

and causes in­flam­ma­tion through­out the body,” says Dr. Stein­baum. But ev­ery lit­tle

move we make to boost “happy” brain chem­i­cals like oxy­tocin and sero­tonin helps, she says. Th­ese feel-good sea­sonal

cus­toms could do the trick:

Win­ter Flow­ers

When you start see­ing pot­ted poin­set­tias

and amaryl­lis at the gro­cery store, pick some up. Re­cent re­search from the Univer­sity

of North Florida found that women felt less stressed af­ter liv­ing with flow­ers in

their homes for a week.

Nos­tal­gic Tunes

Sen­ti­men­tal hol­i­day mu­sic is ev­ery­where right now—and that may be good for your im­mune

func­tion, stress level, and mood. “The idea is that plea­sur­able mu­sic al­ters neu­ro­chem­i­cals,” says neu­ro­sci­en­tist Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, au­thor of This Is Your Brain on Mu­sic. “The key is mu­sic that peo­ple find sooth­ing, and that’s dif­fer­ent for each per­son,” he ex­plains. Not a fan of Christ­mas car­ols—or just sick of them? You might want to add a “yoga mu­sic” sta­tion to your Spo­tify. A study pre­sented at the 2018 Euro­pean So­ci­ety

of Car­di­ol­ogy meet­ing sug­gests that just 10 min­utes of med­i­ta­tive tunes be­fore bed­time

can im­prove your heart rate vari­abil­ity, or how quickly your heart rate can adapt to

sup­port your body’s needs.

Hol­i­day Cards

As sea­son’s greet­ings ar­rive in your mail­box,

dis­play them on a ta­ble or up on the walls, to re­mind you of your fam­ily and friends far and

wide. One re­view of re­search found that the ef­fect of so­cial ties on life span is stronger

than that of ex­er­cise. What’s more, other re­search has shown that long-dis­tance

con­nec­tions with friends can be just as im­pact­ful as lo­cal, face-to-face friend­ships.

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