You are here

4 Surprising Ways to Ease Stress

You've finally got everything under control. But then the dishwasher overflows. And your kid gets the flu. And is that dinner burning?! Yep, you're stressed. Fortunately, you can help shore up your anxiety-fighting reserves in just a few minutes a day. Try one of these:

Go for an O. Ward off anxiety with this titillating tip. "Orgasms have been proven to reduce stress by releasing a surge of the happy hormone, oxytocin," says Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., coauthor of The Science of Orgasm. No need to wait for your man -- flying solo gives you the same benefit.

Try an upside-down time-out. Lie on the floor in front of a wall with your knees bent, toes touching the baseboard. Slide your feet up the wall, moving closer until comfortable, and take deep breaths. "Easing the weight off your lower body improves circulation and calms your nerves," says Gail O'Reilly, cofounder of Yoga Mind Connection.

Save face. Take tension into your own hands with this Chinese massage: Briskly rub your hands together until warm, then press the palms to your forehead and slowly slide them down to your chin. Repeat. "The body's energy is like traffic, and just like an accident halts cars, stress stops the flow of energy," says Tony Chon, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. Massaging pressure points can relieve the stress congestion.

Eat your anxiety. There's a reason you crave chips when you're fried -- your head's taking over. "Eating carbs boosts the brain's level of serotonin, an all-is-well-with-the-world chemical," says Ellie Krieger, author of The Food You Crave and Parenting Mom Squad member. Trade the guilt-inducing junk food for healthier -- yet still satisfying -- fare. Light popcorn or a frozen fruit bar packs good-for-you carbs that can deliver on the feel-good promise.