Everyone knows the usual ways to reduce stress, but how about trying some
unusual ways to reduce stress? After all, the more stress management
techniques you have at your disposal, the less stressed you’ll be.
(1) Make it a comedy night
Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy club, whatever it takes to make you
laugh out loud. Research has shown that merely anticipating a laugh can
jump-start healthy changes in your body by reducing your levels of stress
hormones – which have been linked to obesity, heart disease and memory
impairment, to name just a few. Laughing also lowers blood pressure and
boosts immune function. It does all of this by increasing the levels of
infection-fighting cells that produce antibodies to disease.
When you only care about yourself, you lose that connection with your
sense of care and concern for others – which sets the stage for stress.
Focus on others and help them solve their problems, and you’ll reduce your
stress. In addition, research has shown that socializing releases
oxytocin, a chemical that can help combat stress hormones and lower your
blood pressure. Whatever you decide to get out there and do, just knowing
you’re not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.
(3) Drink orange juice
Studies show that vitamin C can reduce levels of stress hormones, such as
cortisol, while strengthening the immune system. In a German study,
researchers subjected 120 people to a stressing event: a public speaking
task combined with math problems. Half of those studied were given
vitamin C, and the other half were not. Signs of stress – such as
elevated levels of cortisol and high blood pressure – were significantly
greater in those who did not get the vitamin supplement. Of course,
drinking orange juice isn’t the only way to get vitamin C. It is commonly
found in many fruits and vegetables, and can also be taken as a
(4) Switch brain hemispheres
Depending on what you’re doing at any given moment you rely more heavily
on either the left or right side of your brain. If what you’re doing is
stressing you out, you can reduce stress by switching to an activity that
primarily uses the other hemisphere of your brain.
For example, if the source of your stress is centered in the creative and
emotional right hemisphere, then change to a task that requires more of
your left hemisphere to kick in, such as math, a Sudoku puzzle, organizing
something or performing some other task that requires linear, sequential
thinking. If the stress is a result of being time pressured or
overworked, chances are your left brain hemisphere is stressed. In this
case, do a right-brain activity – like engaging in play, drawing, playing
a musical instrument or another creative outlet.
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