Stress-proof your life

Traf­fic jams, cell­phone hic­cups, over­flow­ing garbage cans…life’s lit­tle ir­ri­tants can re­ally rat­tle your nerves! Take a deep breath—th­ese study-backed soothers will help you keep your cool no mat­ter what the day brings!

Woman's World - - Start your week with a smile! - — Gabrielle Lichter­man

Soothe ner­vous­ness by speed-chew­ing gum

Rapidly chew­ing a stick of gum for three min­utes slashes your body’s out­put of stress hor­mones, re­search in the Jour­nal of Prosthodon­tic

Re­search shows. The study au­thors the­o­rize that fast chew­ing sends a rush of blood to the brain, which helps the brain re­gions that man­age stress work more ef­fec­tively. Or wash your hands! Have trou­ble mak­ing de­ci­sions, then fret about whether you’ve made the right choice? Wash away worry by wash­ing your hands! Univer­sity of Michi­gan re­searchers say suds­ing up tells the brain to “wipe the slate clean” of any of the lin­ger­ing doubt that spurs re­gret!

En­joy calm en­ergy all day with this mas­sage

Tar­geted touch can stress-proof your day, ac­cord­ing to prac­ti­tion­ers of Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine. They rec­om­mend mas­sag­ing three acu­pres­sure points in a clock­wise di­rec­tion for three min­utes each: the spot be­tween your eye­brows (called “Yin Tang”), the crease of each in­ner wrist be­low your pinkie (called “Shen­men”) and each in­ner an­kle in the dip be­tween the an­kle bone and Achilles ten­don (called “Taixi”). ✤ It works! Mas­sag­ing th­ese points de­creases the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol and in­creases mood-lift­ing en­dor­phins and sero­tonin. And play sudoku! Games that chal­lenge your brain re­ally do tame ten­sion Duke Univer­sity re­searchers found that in­creas­ing ac­tiv­ity in the prob­lem-solv­ing re­gion of the brain bal­ances out the re­gions caus­ing anx­i­ety, calm­ing stress.

3 Stop a stress spi­ral by sniff­ing tea

When you no­tice ten­sion ris­ing, brew a cup of tea, then breathe in its aroma for 60 sec­onds. If you’re not near a ket­tle, just in­hale the scent of a tea bag—you can stash one in your purse for in­stant ahh on the go! ✤ It works! A study in the Jour­nal of Phys­i­o­log­i­cal

An­thro­pol­ogy re­vealed that in­hal­ing aroma com­pounds (such as hex­anal, hex­anol and linalool) in black tea ush­ers in calm by re­duc­ing ac­tiv­ity in the sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem, which is re­spon­si­ble for your fight-or-flight re­sponse. Tip: Dar­jeel­ing tea (avail­able at su­per­mar­kets) has even more of th­ese stress-bust­ing aro­matic com­pounds! Then sip! Drink black or Dar­jeel­ing tea every day and in six weeks, you’ll re­turn to a re­laxed state faster af­ter a tense event, Bri­tish re­searchers re­port. Nat­u­ral an­tianx­i­ety plant com­pounds in tea leaves ac­cu­mu­late in your body, where they help lower lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol.

Sail through chal­lenges by mak­ing an early Christmas list

Fac­ing an or­deal that puts you on edge? Think about the gifts you want to give fam­ily and friends when the hol­i­days roll around. Re­searchers in Aus­tralia say the happy thoughts this gen­er­ates make you far more re­laxed dur­ing stress­ful events. Plus, you’ll be ready for the hol­i­days! ✤ It works! Thoughts of loved ones curb the body’s stress re­sponse and cut out­put of the stress hor­mone no­ra­drenaline (the one that gives you that un­com­fort­able amped-up feel­ing).

Or re­visit your last va­ca­tion! Re­call­ing a happy time in your past, such as a fam­ily trip to the beach, ac­ti­vates plea­sure-trig­ger­ing re­gions of the brain, re­port re­searchers in the jour­nal Neu­rore­port. This switches you from a stressed to a sunny state.

Boost your re­silience by us­ing the “wrong” hand

If you wish daily ir­ri­ta­tions rolled off your back, this trick can help: Use your non­dom­i­nant hand for tasks such as brush­ing your teeth and hold­ing a fork. Within two weeks, you’ll be bet­ter able to stay calm, no mat­ter what! And pro­cras­ti­nate a lit­tle! When you’ve got a dif­fi­cult-to-do task, tackle it in the af­ter­noon and it’ll feel less both­er­some than if you did it ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to a Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa study. The rea­son: Your body’s level of cor­ti­sol nat­u­rally drops later in the day, mak­ing you less sen­si­tive to stres­sors.

✤ It works! Ac­cord­ing to a study in the Jour­nal of Re­search

in Per­son­al­ity, us­ing your non­dom­i­nant hand strength­ens the brain re­gion re­spon­si­ble for help­ing you stay pa­tient in the face of an­noy­ances.

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