Sunday, October 30, 2011

Add Your Life 4 years by Managing stress

exerciseExercise can help a lot: Just 15 minutes of brisk walking increases your body’s production of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins. Other stress-busting tips:

Start your day with 15 minutes of belly breathing. This will help relax your mind and muscles and help you power through stress that crops up during the rest of your day, says Woodson Merrell, MD, chair of the department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center. “The morning is actually when our bodies feel the most stressed, because it’s when we’re transitioning from inactivity to activity and producing the highest levels of cortisol,” he notes. Here’s what to do: Sit tall at the edge of your bed or in a chair. Breathe in for a count of four, pause a moment, then breathe out for a count of six. Think of a peaceful image, like sitting by the sea, or repeat a simple word like calm.

Meet a friend face-to-face. “Being involved with friends or in a community is as powerful as exercise in terms of preventing heart disease and dementia,” says Henry Lodge, MD, coauthor of Younger Next Year for Women. Pencil in some friend time at least three times a week, or every day if possible.

Chew gum. A British study of more than 2,000 workers found that people who regularly chewed gum had significantly less work-related and overall stress and depression than those who didn’t get this oral fix. Chewing gum may stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps your body relax and increases levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that makes us feel calmer and happier.

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