• Cover: November 26, 2014
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De-Stress Test: Which Methods Really Work

10 stay-calm strategies for harried people

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  • 8. Take a Mental Vacation

    Why It's Supposed to Work: If you can't fly off to paradise, concentrating on the sounds, sights and smells of a dream getaway is the next best thing. Your body can't tell if your beach visit is real or not, so it responds as though you're on vacation, lowering blood pressure, clearing the mind and reducing fatigue, says Ehrman.

    Real Result: It was mixed. Rockwell felt calmer, but Romero found it difficult to "transport my mind to a beach vacation after a hectic day." Rockwell points out that it's best to try this in a quiet area.

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    9. Try a Shoulder Stretch

    Why It's Supposed to Work: Placing your hands on your shoulders and bringing your elbows as far up as possible loosens tension in your neck, shoulders and back and stimulates the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to your heart, lungs, stomach and other organs, says Dr. Goldberg. And that lowers heart rate and ups relaxation.

    Real Result: This move was a hit with Rockwell, who now does this daily. Romero grades this move as 80 percent successful and recommends pairing it with careful breathing and concentration. If you find this exercise uncomfortable, Ehrman advises trying a cat curl to ease stress from your head to hips.

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