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How to Reduce Your Stress

Take a scientific approach to soothing your frazzled nerves with these proven methods.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Start exercising Start exercising. Pick an activity you like, such as swimming, dancing, or riding a bike.
  • Step 2: Meditate Learn to meditate. Consult a book or CD for techniques on meditation and relaxation, or check your local yellow pages for a class near you.
  • TIP: In one study, more than half the people who meditated two and a half hours a week for eight weeks reported a whopping 54% reduction in stress.
  • Step 3: Get sleep Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. The National Sleep Foundation says that anything less could negatively affect both decision-making and interactions with others, leading to anxiety.
  • Step 4: Go to bed early Go to bed 30 minutes to an hour before your normal bedtime and do something relaxing like read a book or listen to soft music
  • TIP: Get a professional massage a few times a month. It’s pricey, but people who get regular massages have lower levels of anxiety and fewer headaches.
  • Step 5: Reduce caffeine Reduce your caffeine intake, which can make you jittery all day. Instead of coffee, try herbal tea.
  • TIP: Reduce your caffeine intake gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
  • Step 6: Book vacation Book a vacation. Research shows that frequent vacationers are eight times less likely to die of a heart attack than those who rarely go on holiday.
  • Step 7: Consider root of stress Consider whether your stress has a root problem that should be dealt with. Maybe you need to cut back on your activities for a while, or stick up for yourself more, or try therapy to see if there’s something in particular that’s stressing you out.
  • FACT: The American Institute of Stress estimates that stress costs U.S. businesses $300 billion a year in absenteeism, burnout, and mental health problems.

You Will Need

  • Athletic sneakers
  • Meditation tape or book
  • Comfortable bed
  • Good instructional book
  • Soft music
  • Professional masseuse (optional)

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