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Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally

Your car is in the shop, you're swamped with work at the office, your little one is home sick, and there's nothing in the refrigerator to cook for dinner. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a stress reliever out there as simple to use as a pain reliever? Sure, there is a long list of products on the market today that claim to reduce stress as easily as aspirin relieves headaches, but there isn't much evidence that they actually work.

Because the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission have no jurisdiction over companies that sell natural supplements, they are not required to provide evidence of their effectiveness or safety, and very few of them have undergone non-bias clinical trials to back up their claims. In addition, "all natural" doesn't mean they cannot cause harm. Some herbs can interfere with prescription medications and others have been known to cause damage to certain organs. If you're looking for an alternative natural stress buster without the risks, you may want to try one of the following:

  1. Have a little faith. Some studies have shown that people who regularly seek help from a higher power and find comfort in spirituality, also known as "religious coping," have lower blood pressure than those who use alternative methods of stress relief. In fact, the simple act of prayer may be enough to help you cut back on the stress in your life.

  2. Get more sleep. Medical experts agree that most Americans are sleep-deprived. According to one survey, more than 60 percent of people who are considered stressed say they don't get enough sleep. Twenty-minute naps during the day can do wonders. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try starting a calming bedtime routine. Start with a warm shower and some lavender body wash. Then get in bed with a cup of chai or chamomile tea and a good book and you'll be asleep in no time.

  3. Have sex! Whether it's the cuddling and snuggling or the act itself, sex is a time-tested stress reliever, and it's well worth taking the time to do it.

  4. Take a load off. Commute hours aside, Americans, particularly those with college degrees who earn high incomes, are known for working longer hours than those in other countries. If this is true for you, consider talking to your boss, delegating tasks, or looking for a new job. According to one survey, work is the top source of stress in adults ages 18 to 54, so if work is making you crazy, you're not alone. It might be helpful to find some ways to unwind after work. When you get home, sit quietly on the couch for ten minutes. Play some calming music while making dinner. Work together with your family to take care of household chores instead of taking all the responsibility upon yourself.

  5. Get outta town. If you neither have the time or the money to plan a week-long getaway to the Bahamas, you can still take a vacation. It can be as simple as a weekend trip to a winery or a spa with friends. All that a vacation requires is that you spend an extended period of time not thinking about the things that stress you out, like work, money and relationships.

  6. Get mind-body therapy. Also known as biofeedback, using your mind to control your body can help treat a wide range of physical and mental health problems, including stress. Talk to your doctor about techniques in which sensors are used to measure your temperature, muscle tension or heart rate and translate them into lights or sounds. For a different sensation, ask your partner to give you a neck and shoulder massage, or call your local day spa for an appointment.

  7. Forgive someone. Recent studies suggest that people with a propensity to forgive others tend to have lower blood pressure than less-forgiving people. The health benefits and stress relief that seem to come with forgiveness are worth giving up that grudge once and for all.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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