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10 Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress

Posted: September 20, 2010

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Practice it by focusing on your immediate surroundings. If you're outdoors, enjoy the shape and colors of flowers, hear a bird's call or consider a tree. In the mall, look at the details of a dress in the window, examine a piece of jewelry and focus on how it's made, or window-shop for furniture, checking out every detail of pattern and style. As long as you can keep your mind focused on something in the present, stress will take a back seat.

5. Drink hot tea

If you're a coffee-guzzler, consider going green. Coffee raises levels of the notorious stress hormone, cortisol, while green tea offers health and beauty, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, author of 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity.

Chamomile tea is a traditional favorite for calming the mind and reducing stress. And black tea may be a stress-fighter, too, researchers from University College London report. Participants who drank regular black tea displayed lower levels of cortisol, and reported feeling calmer during six weeks of stressful situations than those who drank a placebo with the same amount of caffeine.

6. Show some love

Induce the relaxation response by cuddling your pet, giving an unexpected hug to a friend or family member, snuggling with your spouse, or talking to a friend about the good things in your lives, says psychologist Deborah Rozman, PhD, co-author of Transforming Stress. When you do, you'll be reducing your stress levels.

Why? Experts say social interaction helps your brain think better, encouraging you to see new solutions to situations that once seemed impossible, she says. Studies have also shown that physical contact -- like petting your dog or cat -- may actually help lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones.

7. Try self-massage