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Stress Free in an Instant

Try one of these tricks to help relieve stress.

By Bethany Gumper

Next time you're frazzled, bypass the pint of cookie dough ice cream. Instead, try one of these shortcuts to stress relief, from psychiatrist Eve A. Wood, M.D., author of 10 Steps to Take Charge of Your Emotional Life (Hay House).

Stress Buster: Grab your husband's hand.
Why It Works: Research suggests that holding hands with a loved one inhibits the brain's release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Stress Buster: Get moving.
Why It Works: Taking a brisk walk or running for 30 minutes triggers the release of feel-good endorphins, and the benefits last up to 24 hours.

Stress Buster: Listen to music.
Why It Works: Turn on your favorite CD—studies show that music has a powerful and soothing effect on brain chemistry.

Stress Buster: Step outside.
Why It Works: Nature may help you concentrate and cope. In one study, women who lived in apartment buildings surrounded by trees were better able to deal with problems than those living in a concrete jungle.

Stress Buster: Rent a funny movie.
Why It Works: A University of California, Irvine, study found that laughter reduces stress hormone levels and boosts the immune system.


Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the June 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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