5 Easy Stress-Busters You Had No Idea Existed
When you don't have time to get a professional massage and feel too overwhelmed to figure out the difference between Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga, try one of these surprising quick fixes.
The De-Frazzler You Already Have in Your Purse
That pack of gum you carry around in case of a yellowtail-and-scallion emergency can freshen your mood as well as your breath. Researchers from Australia and England found that when agitated people chewed gum, they felt less anxious
, more alert and had 18 percent less cortisol (the stress hormone) in their saliva. The study authors hypothesize that chewing increases blood flow to the brain, which helps with alertness and may also distract us from irritants.
Aromatherapy That Could Work Even When Your Nose Is Stuffed Up
Many people swear that dabbing on essential oils help relax them. For times when this isn't practical, CalmAid supplements contain 80 milligrams of lavender oil in a gel-pill form
. We wondered how the odorless softgels would work, but clinical studies (sponsored by the manufacturer) showed that taking them daily for 10 weeks helped decrease anxiety better than a placebo and about as well as the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam. Potential side effect: lavender-scented burps.
A Tension-Relieving Move You Can Do in Your Seat
This "occipital rub" was designed to be DIY, says Denise Galon, a certified massage therapist in New York
. Place your first three fingers behind your head at the spots just behind the ears where the neck connects to the head. With your elbows bent, push your fingers toward and away from one another, creating a rubbing movement on the base of the skull. Do this for 30 seconds, or until you feel yourself loosening up.
The Calming Treatment You Can Find in Every Vending Machine
Those little bags of mixed nuts can do more than tame your craving for something salty. Cashews, almonds and walnuts are excellent sources of magnesium
, which experts say can help our wired bodies take things down a notch. Studies show that most Americans don't get enough magnesium
, and it's particularly deficient in people with anxiety.
A Truly All-Natural Way to Bring Down Your Blood Pressure
In a study from Washington State University, people who were asked to take an anxiety-provoking test in a computer lab were more productive, more attentive and had lower systolic blood pressure when there were plants nearby
than when there weren't. In another study by German researchers, people with plants in their offices reported feeling fewer job-related jitters
. Pick up a Chinese evergreen or devil's ivy for your desk. (Just don't forget to water it!)
Next: The absolute worst thing to do when you're stressed out
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.