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6 Stress Relieving Tips You Might Not Have Thought Of

Stress is one of the leading contributors to many illnesses, including heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.  Without knowing how to cope with stress, including overwhelming emotions, some men and women have turned to drugs and alcohol. In that way, stress can contribute to addiction too. There's no question that stress is often part of one's day. To help manage and cope with stress in a healthy way, it's important to practice daily stress relieving activities. 

Practicing stress-relieving activities every day might sound like a lot. However, these short but powerful suggestions most anyone can make time for. You don't have to spend hours at the spa or even one hour at the gym every day. On those days that you can't seem to find time for self-care, try one of the following tips:

Spend some time laughing. Laughter is healing in many ways. Laughing can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, increase blood flow, increase memory and focus, improve creativity, and reduce stress. If you've had a long day, watch some funny YouTube videos. Spend time with family and friends who you know you'll have a few good laughs with, or rent a favorite comedy. If you have laughter in your life, you're likely going to reduce stress.

Listen to soothing music. With the music on, close your eyes and let the melody and soft tempo soothe you. Soft music can facilitate relaxation and put you into a restful state.

Sip on warm tea. Research has shown that when you sit down and give yourself time to sip on tea - especially tea that's good for you - you can reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body.

Eat spicy foods. Add black pepper or chili to your food and you'll feel the fire in your mouth. This in turn triggers the release of endorphins which are the body's feel-good chemical. Endorphins promote euphoria and enhance overall well being.

Stay warm. When the body is warm, it is relaxed. However, when the body is cold, muscles tense up, just as muscles do under stress. If you keep the body warm, you may notice your body staying more relaxed, even under stress. Stay warm by dressing in layers, wearing close-toed shoes, turning the heat on in the car or at home when necessary, and spending time in a hot bath or jacuzzi.

Take deep breaths. During those stressful moments at work, see if you can remember to take a few deep breaths. Often, it's hard to remember to do so when you're stressed, but a practice of deep breathing on a regular basis will help you remember to do it when you need it. In fact, practicing deep breathing daily is ideal. You can practice the square breath, which begins with an inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4. Continue to repeat this until you feel yourself calm and relaxed.

These are suggestions for relieving stress that won't take too much time out of your day. In fact, you may want to pick one of these techniques and stick with it on a daily basis and then notice the results. If you can keep stress at bay, you'll keep physical and psychological illnesses at bay too. 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.