Shake It Off In the New Year: Simple Stress Relief Techniques

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Stress is a normal part of life, but too much can be hard on your heart, immune system and body. The next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed, test out these tried-and-true stress relievers.

  • Pound the pavement: Take a run or a brisk walk. Both release endorphins that improve your physical responses to stress.
  • Follow your nose: Pleasing or nostalgic scents have a calming effect. Some common stress-reducing aromas include green apple, vanilla, citrus, lavender and coconut.
  • Breathe deeply: Deep abdominal breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain, promoting a state of calmness.
  • Tune in: Music has the power to improve the immune system and reduce cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
  • Feel the love: The next time you’re ready to melt down, give—or get—a hug instead. A gentle squeeze can send a calming message to the brain and slow the release of cortisol.
  • Give a little: Doing something for someone else is a great way to forget your own worries, and some research shows a correlation between volunteering and lower blood pressure.

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