78 Instant Stress-Busters

Find immediate relaxation with these easy instant de-stressing techniques.

By Cynthia Dermody from readersdigest.com | January 2008


  • 68.


     Drink a glass of milk. It contains tryptophane, which as it is metabolized is converted to mood-boosting serotonin. Plus, its calcium, magnesium and potassium content may help keep blood pressure down.

  • 69.


     Eat broccoli and low-fat ranch dip. Broccoli has folic acid, which aids stress reduction.

  • 70.

    Sweet Tooth

    . Enjoy sorbet with a vanilla sugar wafer. Sugary foods decrease levels of anxiety-producing hormones, specifically through the production of glucocorticoid, a stress hormone linked to storing more fat in the belly. Just a little sugar on the tongue is enough to produce a feel-good effect, so don’t overdo it!

  • 71.

    English Muffin

    . Have a whole grain English muffin with jam or honey. Complex carbohydrate-rich foods raise serotonin levels, boosting your mood and helping you relax.

  • Quick Stat: You’re not alone: 30% of workers claim they are working longer hours compared with this time last year, with 32% saying that they are experiencing more on-the-job stress (Source: Adeco North America).

  • 72.

    Visual Stimulation

     Snack on a handful of nuts. They’re packed with magnesium, which seems to help keep cortisol levels low. Nuts are high in calories, so if you’re watching your weight, make sure not to eat more than a dozen a day.

  • 73.


     Savor some salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids help brain cells to function more collaboratively, helping you to deal with stress more effectively.

  • 74.

    Dark Chocolate

     Indulge in some dark chocolate. By far the most potent endorphin-producing food on earth, chocolate contains more than 300 different compounds, including anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana’s effects on the brain, and theobromine, a mild stimulant. Look for imported dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more.

  • 75.

    Hot Cocoa

     Drink hot cocoa. Warm drinks raise your body temperature—a feeling we associate with comfort, so it triggers a similar response in our brains.

  • 76.

    IN-Fused Chocolate

     76. Handcrafted from imported dark organic Dutch chocolate, this bar has 150 mg of L-theanine, as well as aromatic oils such as lavender and chamomile (Intelligent Nutrients).

  • 77.

    Common Scents

     Top stress-relieving aromatherapy scents to keep around the house: orange, grapefruit, lemon rosemary, peppermint, rose, sweet marjoram, lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang.

  • 78.

    Friendly Reminder

     Stress-reduction tip from ER doctor John Rogers, MD, Bolingbroke, Georgia: “For a while I wore a little gold halo-shaped pin on my sleeve. It would remind me to ‘be an angel,’ to stay focused on keeping peace inside me and be compassionate toward others regardless of all the stresses that surrounded me.”

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