Communing with redwoods, smelling the zinnias, inhaling negative ions after a rainstorm—all undeniably restorative. Except if your stressed-out self has a history of allergies. When researchers at Ohio State University gave the “skin prick” test to a group of seasonal-allergy sufferers
, stress made all the difference in the severity of the reaction. When people were strung out after, say, delivering a speech, the wheals on their arms were twice as big as they were when they were not stressed. (Even slight stress worsened an allergic reaction.) The more nervous a sufferer, the worse the wheals the following
day—a delayed reaction that is often unresponsive to antihistamines. When strung out, it helps to stop and smell the roses—but not always literally.