6 Instant Ways to Stress Less and Smile More
You can't completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can learn to deal with it in a healthy way. And since stress is associated with all sorts of negative health effects like high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, taking a few minutes a day to fight stress keeps you not only happy and smiling, but healthy too.
"Daily hassles and annoyances can get to anyone, but small changes make a big difference," explains Judy Saltzberg, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania's Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program. Here's how to keep smiling:
1. Take it outside.
Health bonus: Aside from melting away stress, you'll melt calories too!
2. Find time for tea.
Health bonus: Tea's antioxidants may ward off some cancers, improve heart health and decrease risk of stroke.
3. Pop a piece of gum.
Health bonus: Chewing sugarless gum after meals will not only reduce stress, but it can also help fight bacteria that cause cavities.
4. Indulge in dark chocolate.
Health bonus: Dark chocolate may also contribute to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack by 39 percent, suggests a study in the European Heart Journal.
5. Stop and smell the flowers.
Health bonus: Smelling lavender before bed can help you sleep better, according to a study in Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery.
6. Flip your perspective.
Health bonus: A glass-half-full approach has been linked to faster recovery from injury and illness, according to research in the Journal of Personality.
After a few weeks of practicing these techniques, you'll not only feel happier, but you can rest easy knowing you're healthier too -- which is one less thing for you to stress about!