If you’re overly-stressed, join the club! Surveys show that more than half of all adults are stressed. And a lot of us cope by overeating and smoking, habits that can make things worse by triggering weight gain, depression and more. So, here’s how to beat stress in a healthy way, courtesy of Woman’s World magazine:
- Play cards. Researchers at Harvard found that playing card games helps people calm down, and delivers almost as much stress relief as exercise. Why? Because you have to use the logical side of your brain, which helps separate you from your emotions.
- Another easy de-stressor: Feed the birds! Dr. Stephen Sinatra, author of Lower Your Blood Pressure in 8 Weeks, says that just being outside in the fresh air and sunlight reduces the production of stress hormones in as little as 5 minutes.
- Then, hold hands. A recent study found that a brief hug or 10 minutes of handholding reduces the harmful effects of stress almost instantly. Why? Because “touch” revs up the production of the calming brain hormone, oxytocin.
- If you’re not in the mood for hand-holding, start a conversation. A study a UCLA found that just having someone to talk to cuts stress by almost 63%.
- And the final easy way to de-stress: Get into a rhythm. For example, chop vegetables, prune a tree, or do some ironing. Dr. Norman Rosenthal, author of The Emotional Revolution, says that any activity that’s rhythmic, repetitive, and productive will help shut off your brain’s worry system. And even chores like raking leaves, sweeping the porch, or washing windows can do the trick.