1. Drink more OJResearchers at the University of Alabama fed rats 200 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day and found that it nearly stopped the secretion of stress hormones. If it relaxes a rat, why not you? Two 8-ounce glasses of orange juice daily gives you the vitamin C you need.
2. Put a green dot on your phoneThis is your secret reminder to take one deep breath before you answer a call, says Susan Siegel, of the Program on Integrative Medicine at the University of North Carolina school of medicine. Not only will you feel better, but you'll sound more confident.
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3. Spend quality time with a canineYours or someone else's. According to research at the State University of New York at Buffalo, being around a pet provides more stress relief than being around a two-legged companion. As if we needed a study to determine that.
4. Go to Starbucks--with your coworkersResearchers at the University of Bristol in England discovered that when stressed-out men consumed caffeine by themselves, they remained nervous and jittery. But when anxious men caffeine-loaded as part of a group, their feelings of stress subsided.
5. Shake it outWhen you're facing that big-money putt, shake out your fingers, relieving the tension in your forearms, hands, and wrists and shifting your focus to the only thing you can control: your preshot routine. You won't think about making--or missing--the shot, says Alan Goldberg, Ed.D., a sports-psychology consultant in Amherst, Massachusetts.
6. Bring a radio to workAnd set it to the blandest music station you can find. According to a study at Pennsylvania's Wilkes University, Muzak lowers your stress levels at work, while also reducing the risk of the common cold. We knew Celine Dion had a purpose.
7. Shut up and smileFreaking out about a speech? Smile, look at the audience, and keep quiet for 2 seconds, says T.J. Walker, president of Media Training Worldwide. It'll slow you down and create the impression that you're relaxed and in control. The audience will then feel more comfortable, leading you to actually be relaxed and in control. Now start talking. Unless you're a mime. In that case, as you were.
8. Talk with your handsTo keep calm in a job interview, rest your arms on your lap, with your elbows bent slightly, and have your fingers almost touching, says Walker. This will keep your body relaxed, which will keep your tone conversational.
9. Run fastBike hard. Punch the heavy bag. And we don't mean your mother-in-law. A University of Missouri at Columbia study found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace. What's more, the benefits last as long as 90 minutes afterward.
10. Hit the sauna after your workoutIn an Oklahoma State University study, those who combined sauna use with group counseling had greater stress relief, feelings of relaxation, and sense of accomplishment compared with those who only had their heads shrunk.
11. Remember the lyrics to your favorite song......name at least 30 states, or assemble the All-Time Band of Guys Named James (the James Gang doesn't count). In other words, give your mind any all-consuming challenge, as long as it has a definite finish--unending problems cause more stress, says Toby Haslam-Hopwood, Psy.D., a psychologist at the Menninger Clinic in Houston.
12. Lay The Journey to Wild DivineIt's a CD-ROM game that works like this: Three biofeedback sensors worn on your fingers sense your stress level and translate it into your ability to perform tasks such as levitating virtual balls or controlling birds in flight. The more you play, the more mastery you gain over your emotions. Go to CreativeLivingInstitute.org for more information. It sells for about $150.
13. Find a breathtaking viewNow take a breath --and a good long look. You'll walk away from the brink with a sense of context and a bigger perspective, which will make the 5,000 things on your to-do list seem less daunting, says Allen Elkin, Ph.D., director of the Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City.
14. Imagine you're on Who Wants to Be a MillionaireWhen dealing with a screaming child in a car or any other acutely stressful situation, ask yourself how long you could listen to it if someone gave you $100,000, suggests Elkin. Suddenly, it's not so awful, is it?
15. Say you're sorryWhat, now the kid is screaming on a crowded airplane? Immediately apologize to everyone around you. By acknowledging that you may have made a mistake or hurt someone else, you can help clear the air, and that will reduce your stress level, says Charles Emery, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
16. ForgiveNow someone else's kid is screaming on a crowded airplane? And the mom is too wrapped up in this week's People to do a thing about it? Let it go, says Carl Thoresen, Ph.D., a psychologist at Stanford University. Realizing that you can't control someone else's behavior is difficult, but it's one of the best ways to destress.
17. Add trees to your commuteEven if it takes you out of your way, it may make your ride less stressful. An Ohio State University study found that scenic drives were more calming than those involving strip malls and endless, disheartening asphalt.
18. Water a plantIt's nurturing, it doesn't take up much space, and for 10 seconds, the world is not about you, which can be a huge psychological relief, says Elkin.
19. Ditch the dingy shower curtainAnd hang up something in a cool color like green or blue. According to Leonard Perry, Ph.D., an extension professor at the University of Vermont, cool hues are more soothing.
20. Schedule medical tests for early morningRather than spend the entire day anxious about an afternoon DRE, get fingered first thing in the a.m., when your cortisol levels are already naturally elevated, says David Spiegel, M.D., medical director of the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine.