TAKE MORE RESTROOM BREAKS
There's a reason it's called the restroom: It's the one place—at work or at home—where no one will bother you. If you're overwhelmed, steal away for a five-minute meditation break. Inhale deeply into your belly and try to focus on your breathing. You'll emerge calmer, and maybe even more productive. Research shows that meditation can improve your ability to concentrate.
SHOW UP FIVE MINUTES EARLY
Everyone knows the feeling: You're running late, stuck in traffic, glancing at your watch every 30 seconds in frustration. Give yourself extra time to get wherever you need to go. Being an early bird will kill stress by giving you more control over your day and your commitments.
CHANGE YOUR STRESS EATING
The best stress-quashing foods are made by Mother Nature, not Baskin-Robbins. Berries are naturally rich in vitamin C, which helps fight increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. A handful of pistachios can lower your blood pressure, which means less of a spike when you get that next rush of adrenaline.
AND QUIT STRESS DRINKING
Yes, a few cocktails can relax you, but alcohol also prevents your brain from entering stages of deep sleep. And sleep and stress are bound together: Chronic stress can keep you up at night, and a lack of sleep can also lead to further stress. Limit yourself to no more than one drink a night.
GET YOUR HEART PUMPING
Stress makes your body spew out two hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals put your body into fight-or-flight mode, ratcheting up your energy level and causing your heart to pound and your muscles to tense. Exercise gives you an outlet to release some of that tension. A good workout also increases your levels of "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins.
MAKE IT A COMEDY NIGHT
Researchers say that merely anticipating a laugh can jump-start healthy changes in the body by reducing levels of stress hormones, which have been linked to conditions like obesity, heart disease, and memory impairment, to name just a few.
ENJOY THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS
Socializing releases oxytocin, a chemical that can help combat stress hormones and lower your blood pressure. Whether it's spending time with dog lovers, book club buddies, or siblings—whatever group you like—just knowing you're not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.