The 10 Best and Easiest Ways to Combat Stress

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Whether you’re single, a college student or married-working professional, life today is chockfull of stress. While some stress is good, too much of it can wreak havoc on your mood, health, focus and all-around happy lifestyle. Some people have too much stress due to demanding bosses, looming bills to pay, an exhausting work and parenting schedule and just plain busy lifestyle. Whatever it is that is rattling those nerves, there are many ways to combat stress and calm those nerves. Click next for a list of 10.

10. Maintain Proper Nutrition

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A poor diet can leave you more vulnerable to stress. If you’re feeling stressed, skip the comfort foods like mac ‘n’ cheese and French fries. Munch on some avocados and bananas for stress relief. These foods are high in potassium, the mineral that controls blood pressure. Cook up some fresh Swiss chard. Scientists have found that this veggie has magnesium to control the body’s stress hormone cortisol. Heart-healthy omega-3 fishes like salmon and tuna manage adrenaline levels to keep you feeling cool, calm and collected.

9. Get Enough Sleep

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Sleep is critical for your physical and emotional wellbeing. If you’re not getting enough of it, the ability to function properly and handle stress can be adversely impacted. For the most part, sleep experts recommend getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night. If you have such a busy schedule that doesn’t allow for this, be sure to take in a power nap during the day. Research has shown that a mid-day power nap improves cognitive functioning, alertness and reduces stress.

8. Wear a Smile

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Wear a smile even if you’re not feeling it. Smiling actually soothes a stressed out brain according to research. Here’s a crazy study by the University of Wisconsin that’ll put a smile on your face. Studies found that those with Botox treatments couldn’t make a frown expression. These people had less anger and stress than their non-Botoxed counterparts. Obviously, there’s a connection between one’s facial expression and emotions. A smile can actually make you feel happy. Who would’ve known?

7. Tidy It Up

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Ever get frazzled when there’s too much clutter or the house is in disarray? There’s a reason for this. Princeton researchers have found that a cluttered visual field overwhelms the brain’s neural networks. As a result, stress is created. Organizing one’s space and removing clutter gives the brain a sense of order and tranquility. If the house is cluttered with clothes spread around the floors and furniture, tables are covered with stacks of books, dishes are piled up the sink and things are just not where they should be, roll up your sleeves and tidy it up. Your nerves will thank you.

6. Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

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The vagus nerve is an important component of the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s the one that calms you down by controlling the relaxation response. Simply put, it’s the mind-body connection. When you activate the calming nervous pathways, anxiety levels go down. There are several ways to do this. The first is by putting your face in cold water. If that’s not appealing, keep your mouth closed and pinch the nose while breathing out. Singing and diaphragmatic breathing techniques also work to stimulate the vagus nerve.