Stress is like dark chocolate. A little of it won’t kill you. In fact, small blocks here and there can be good for you, or at least give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. But chronic and severe stress can damage your body and mind, blocking the fluid communication to and from most organs–especially in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and in the limbic system, the brain’s emotional center. Believe me, you want these two systems running as smoothly as possible, with low levels of the delinquent stress hormones in your bloodstream. Which is why I always keep some stress busters handy.
When you don't have time to get a professional massage and feel too overwhelmed to figure out the difference between Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga, try one of these surprising quick fixes.
The De-Frazzler You Already Have in Your Purse
That pack of gum you carry around in case of a yellowtail-and-scallion emergency can freshen your mood as well as your breath. Researchers from Australia and England found that when agitated people chewed gum, they felt less anxious, more alert and had 18 percent less cortisol (the stress hormone) in their saliva. The study authors hypothesize that chewing increases blood flow to the brain, which helps with alertness and may also distract us from irritants.
Aromatherapy That Could Work Even When Your Nose Is Stuffed Up
Many people swear that dabbing on essential oils help relax them. For times when this isn't practical, CalmAid supplements contain 80 milligrams of lavender oil in a gel-pill form. We wondered …