Here’s how to relax on the go when you’re running late to pick up the kids, or stressing over a work deadline. We found these tips on MSN .com.
- Stress buster #1: Listen to your favorite tunes. Dr. Raymond Bahr, cardiologist at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, says that listening to music reduces the physical results of stress, like high blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat. Why? Because when you listen to music, it conjures up happy memories. And that affects the part of the brain that helps regulate breathing, heartbeat and other automatic body responses. In fact, listening to classical music for 30 minutes produces calming effects equivalent to a 10 milligram does of Valium.
- Stress buster #2: Breathe through your belly. When people are stressed out, their breathing gets shallow and fast. That increases your heart rate, creating feelings of anxiety. So try this exercise when you’re tense: Blow out all the breath in your lungs – kind of like a big sigh. Then take a deep breath. Imagine taking air all the way down and feeling your chest expand. Then breathe out slowly. Do that 10 times. Deep breathing floods your body with oxygen and slows down your nervous system. It’ll calm a racing heart, shaky hands, or sweaty palms.
- If you’re laughing, it’s hard to hold on to stress. Your facial muscles get a natural workout that relaxes them. Which is where a lot of people hold their tension. And studies have found that laughter can boost immunity, reduce pain, and even lower the incidence of repeat heart attacks.
- Smile, even if you have to fake it. A study at the University of California San Francisco, found that most people have special 'smile muscles.' Those muscles send a message to your brain that you're happy – and guess what – your brain will believe it! Even holding a pencil between your teeth works to activate the chemicals in your brain that register happiness.