• Cover: September 17, 2014
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De-Stress Test: Which Methods Really Work

10 stay-calm strategies for harried people

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  • 4. Turn Toward the Sun

    Why It's Supposed to Work: "There's something incredibly restorative about sunshine and the warmth of it on our skin," says Ehrman. That's because sun exposure decreases melatonin—the sleep hormone—and increases serotonin, which promotes feelings of happiness, explains Dr. Arvon. The color yellow also has been shown to be uplifting.

    Real Result: There's a reason Superman needs his daily sun fix. Nothing's quite as mood-boosting as some rays. "This method worked best of all the techniques for me," says Romero. "The heat on my skin relaxed me."

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    5. Watch a Funny Video

    Why It's Supposed to Work: Laughter releases endorphins into your blood and increases oxygen throughout your body, instantly improving your mood, Ehrman explains. According to Dr. Goldberg, having a good chuckle also has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

    Real Result: Enjoying a funny clip in the middle of the workday not only gave Wadley a much-needed break but also a healthier perspective on her workload. "Instead of noticing how much I had to do, laughing helped me focus on how much I had already done," says Wadley. YouTube time also eased Romero—until the video ended, that is. To keep the momentum going, learn to laugh at yourself instead of taking things too seriously, suggests Dr. Arvon.

De-Stress Test: Which Methods Really Work
10 stay-calm strategies for harried people
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