31. Dial a Friend
Sharing your troubles can give you perspective, help you feel cared for and relieve your burden.
Muscles tighten during the course of the day, and when we feel stressed out, the process accelerates. Stretching loosens muscles and encourages deep breathing. Molly Fox, creative fitness director at the Equinox Fitness Center in New York City, says one of the greatest stress-relieving stretches is a yoga position called the child pose, which stretches the back muscles. On a rug or mat, kneel, sit back on your heels, then lean forward and put your forehead on the floor and your arms alongside your legs, palms up. Hold for one to three minutes.
33. Say a Little Prayer
Studies show that compared with those who profess no faith, religious and spiritual people are calmer and healthier.
34. Make Plans
“Looking forward to something provides calming perspective,” Dr. Elkin says. Buy concert tickets, schedule a weekend getaway, or make an appointment for a massage.
35. Goof Off
It temporarily removes you from a potentially stressful situations. Esther Orioli, president of Essi Systems, a San Francisco consultant company that organizes stress-management programs, keeps a harmonica in the drawer for when she’s feeling stressed out. Bonus: Playing it promotes deep breathing.
36. Straighten Up
When people are under stress, they slump over as if they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. “Slumping restricts breathing and reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, adding to muscle tension and magnifying feelings of panic and helplessness,” Dr. Cooper explains. Straightening your spine has just the opposite effect. It promotes circulation, increases oxygen levels in your blood and helps lessen muscle tension, all of which promote relaxation.
37. Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Tending your garden helps get you out of your head and lets you commune with nature, a known stress reliever. If you’re not a gardener, tend to a houseplant. Plants = growth = cycle of life, a nice reminder that stress, too, will pass.